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Lasik Doctors


Lasik Warranty, Lifetime Commitment, 20/20 or Free, and Money Back Programs

Patients need to be aware of Lasik warranty plan details.

Nonprofit Lasik patient advocacy.
A Lasik "warranty" may not be what you expect.


At first blush, Lasik "lifetime commitment", "20/20 or free", "acuity warranty", or a "money back guarantee" type offer may sound really good. It is reassuring to think that the doctor is so certain of the outcome that such "warranty" is available. These offers do have limitations and perhaps some surprises.

Outcome Never Guaranteed

All Lasik warranty plans offer a financial response or additional care if certain goals and needs are not met, but Lasik is surgery and no surgery has a guaranteed outcome. A financial commitment from a doctor is not a promise of a perfect outcome.

Lasik Success Defined

Snellen 20/20 is a valuable measurement system, but it is not the only consideration for quality of vision. As an example, a patient may have 20/20 vision in daylight, but debilitating halos emitting from light sources at night. A patient with temporary Lasik induced dry eye may be 20/20, but only with the regular use of expensive preservative-free eye drops. And of course, what if the patient was 20/15 before surgery? Are you "guaranteed" a reduction in vision quality?

As to the money back guarantee, we suggest you ask yourself this simple question: "If the doctor screws up my eyes, is giving me my check back the appropriate response?"

Who's lifetime?

While it may be admirable for a clinic to want to provide this level of care to its patients, the reality is that what constitutes a lifetime may be a matter of contention. What happens if the doctor dies? What happens if the company for which the doctor worked goes bankrupt? What happens if the publicly held corporation by whom the doctor was employed is merged into another company that does not have a "lifetime commitment" program? What if the doctor didn't have a "lifetime commitment" program, but then started working for a company that does? What if the patient moves out of the area?

New Technology & Techniques

And then there is the issue of what is included in the "commitment"? Does this mean that no matter what new technology or technique comes along the patient will receive this for free for as long as the patient (and the doctor/clinic/corporation) lives? It is reasonable to assume that advancements will make whatever the patient had seem obsolete. One can hardly expect a medical procedure to be exactly the same after 10-20-30 years. Does the patient get the new procedure for free?

Natural Vision Changes

What about the natural changes that occur with everyone? Refractive error can change. At around age 40, presbyopia makes focusing on things near very difficult to impossible. Will the patient receive surgery for presbyopia, if such surgery exists at that time? Some "lifetime commitment" agreements require that the patient be seen by a participating eye doctor every year or so. Who pays for this exam? What if you skip a year?

Buyer Be Aware

Any long-term commitment a patient is able to receive has value and is a sign of good faith by the Lasik provider. Obviously these kinds of warranties may be of less value than originally assumed and open up a lot of questions. This is an area where one needs to read the fine print very carefully.

If you are ready to choose a doctor to be evaluated for conventional or custom wavefront Lasik, Bladeless Lasik, PRK, LASEK, Epi-Lasik, NearVision CK, RLE, or any refractive surgery procedure, we highly recommend you consider a doctor who has been evaluated and certified by the USAEyes nonprofit organization. Locate a USAEyes Evaluated & Certified Lasik Laser Eye Surgery Doctor.

If this article did not fully answer your questions, use our free Ask Lasik Expert patient forum.

Last updated Monday, April 12, 2010

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