The LASIK “Lifetime” Guarantee
Submitted by Dr. Dean Dornic on Fri 11/27/2009 - 10:50
Is LASIK with a lifetime warranty worth it? If you are contemplating a vision correction procedure, you might be tempted by LASIK centers offering a “lifetime guarantee.” But before you bite, consider that such “guarantees” are not always what they seem. The lifetime guarantee often comes with strings, severe restrictions and undisclosed costs.
What’s the catch?
Lifetime Guarantees – Read the Fine Print
- The advertised lifetime guarantee only applies to small groups of patients with specific vision needs. They typically are not available for farsightedness, or for patients with more significant amounts of nearsightedness or astigmatism.
- The lifetime guarantee only applies if you get an excellent outcome on your initial LASIK procedure. The guarantee is void if you need an enhancement or “touch-up” procedure.
- The guarantee only applies if your vision changes to significantly more nearsightedness (worse than 20/40). What if you drift to 20/30 or become farsighted as you age? Sorry, you’re on your own.
- The guarantee allows only for additional LASIK procedures. Of course, there is a limit to the number of times a LASIK procedure can be performed and the guarantee does not apply to procedures such as conductive keratoplasty which may be a better option for you as you age.
- The center determines the advisability of further LASIK. This does not allow for the participation of the patient in the decision making.
- The “lifetime” referred to may be the lifetime of the center. With the current economic downturn, most LASIK-only centers are operating in the red. One large center in Charlotte, NC recently closed its doors. We have seen several patients who were patients of now defunct laser centers who found that their lifetime guarantees were worthless.
- You may be required to undergo yearly exams at an affiliated doctor’s office. Miss one of these mandated exams and your guarantee becomes void. But what difference does it make how often you go in for an exam or where you go? The truth is, unless you have diabetes, glaucoma or some other eye condition, eye exams every two to three years may be sufficient according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Such restrictions are an unnecessary burden and expense making it difficult and in some cases, impossible for a patient to meet their obligation under this arrangement.
At the Laser Eye Center of Carolina, we take a much more pragmatic approach toward our commitment to you. We offer more than just LASIK and we’ll be here to offer whatever procedure is right for you. We have a results-oriented approach from the start. If we can’t get you an unrestricted driver’s license, you don’t pay. The decision for an enhancement is made between you and the doctor with no artificial barriers; we’ll even enhance 20/20 eyes if a patient is too farsighted. The need for an initial enhancement does not void our ability to do subsequent procedures.
With today’s technology, the overwhelming majority of patients will continue to enjoy excellent vision for the rest of their lives and will not require additional procedures. But, if your vision or your visual needs change we’ll be there to offer whatever procedure is necessary to allow you to function at your peak. And once you’re a patient, you’ll never pay more than 50% of our regular rate for an elective vision procedure. Once you read the fine print on those “lifetime guarantees” from LASIK-only centers we think you’ll agree that our simple, no-quibble commitment and our ability to offer a variety of vision correction procedures is your “guarantee” that you will be satisfied with your vision for many years to come.