We see them with some regularity. The LASIK patient who had their surgery performed a few years ago is looking for their provider to take advantage of their “lifetime guarantee”. The story goes like this: the patient gets an incredible deal on their LASIK eye surgery and the kicker? Free enhancements for life. But the center has used a lower quality technology known to require a higher enhancent rate and now the patient needs a “touch up”. The patient assumed that “LASIK is LASIK”. They called around and went for the lowest price. The LASIK center had an impressive “franchise” type name. They used slick advertising, touted that they used the best LASIK technology, had the best doctors and had the most experience. Theydrew the patient in with their claim of having the lowest price and the patient was reassured with the unsubstantiated claims and the promise of a ”lifetime guarantee”.
Now the patient is unable to excercis their LASIK guarantee. In some cases the center and the surgeon have left town. In other cases, the doctor remains in town but now practices under a different practice (corporate) name. When confronted with the “guarantee”, the surgeon will usually disavow any responsibility. “That was the guarantee of the corporation, not me,” the’ll protest. The deal that seemed too good to be true, really was.
In our 14 years of practice, we’ve seen a number of discount LASIK providers come and go. We’ve long tried to educate the patients who come in for consults but many just can’t resist the draw of a discounted price. Unfortunately many are left “holding the bag” like the used car buyer who, after buying a lemon, returns to the auto dealer only to find an empty lot.