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Thinking about LASIK eye surgery? Here's some advice.

LASIK is corrective surgery to a very delicate part of the eye. Millions of people have had LASIK surgery to correct their vision, many with great success.

Advertising is one way LASIK providers attract customers. But like any other purchase, it’s important to do some research. Prices vary, and what may seem like a deal may only be available to select “qualified” patients.

Take the FTC’s case against LASIKPlus, a nationwide LASIK surgery chain. The FTC says that, in its ads, LASIKPlus promoted LASIK as available for “as low as” or “starting at” $250. The $250 price was per eye, although that was not always clearly disclosed. In truth, very few people qualified for the $250 price. Anyone with vision worse than 20/40 — already good enough to drive without glasses — was ineligible, but only told that after undergoing a 90-minute to 2-hour full-dilation eye exam and sales pitch. At that point, customers were told the true regular LASIKPlus price of $1800-$2295 per eye. The FTC complaint says that the company’s ads often did not reveal the prescriptions people needed to qualify, that few people were eligible, and the price most people would actually pay. Bottom line: The $250 price was, says the FTC, misleading and used to lure people in the door and then sell them LASIK at the much higher price.

If you’re thinking about LASIK, here’s some advice to help you save time and money:

  • Get a recommendation. Ask your eye doctor for a recommendation.
  • Ask questions about promotions and eligibility before you visit a LASIK center. Is the advertised offer limited to certain customers? Are there certain requirements? Are there other fees or payments? If so, what are they? If they won’t tell you before your visit, be wary.
  • See what others are saying. Search online for the LASIK provider’s name plus words like “complaint” or “review.”
  • Compare online reviews from a wide variety of sources. You can get a good idea about a company, product, or service from reading user reviews on various comparison sites. But also think about the source of the review. Where is this review coming from? Is it from an expert organization or individual customers?

If you think a company has used misleading practices to sell you a service or product, report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

Want to learn more about LASIK, read The Basics of LASIK Eye Surgery.

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Bcbloom
January 19, 2023

Almost fell for it.
Knew it was too good to be true.

Perry
January 26, 2023

Are you doing anything to hold them accountable for their misleading practices or is this just an awareness article?

FTC Staff
January 26, 2023

In reply to by Perry

On January 19, 2023, the FTC issued an order requiring Ohio-based LCA-Vision, doing business as LasikPlus and Joffe MediCenter, to pay $1.25 million for using deceptive bait-and-switch advertising to trick consumers into believing they could have their vision corrected for less than $300. The money will be used to compensate people the company lured with deceptive offers.
Also, the company will be barred from the deceptive conduct the FTC alleged in the complaint and required to make certain clear and conspicuous disclosures when it advertises LASIK at a price or discount for which most people would not qualify.