WASHINGTON, March 27 -- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) yesterday barred two major laser eye surger companies from making claims that LASIK surgery eliminates the need to wear corrective lenses.
The decision settled charges that advertisements by the companies, The Laser Vision Institute and LCA Vision Inc., were not substantiated by scientific evidence. According to the FTC, the ads claimed that LASIK surgery -- which is designed to improve the focusing power of the eye by changing the shape of the cornea, thereby reducing patients' dependance on glasses and contact lenses -- would eliminate the need for glasses or contacts for life, eliminate the need for reading glasses and eliminate the need for bifocals.
Both companies will be barred from making such claims in the future unless the claims can be substantiated. The cases mark the first actions the FTC has taken against the sellers of LASIK surgery services for making allegedly false and unsubstantiated claims.
According to the FTC complaints, both LCA Vision, based in Cincinnati, Ohio, and The Laser Vision Institute, based in Lake Worth, Fla., violated Section 5 of the FTC Act by making unsubstantiated claims regarding the benefits, performance and efficacy of the LASIK procedure. In addition, The Laser Vision Institute allegedly made a false claim regarding "free" LASIK consultations, and LCA made an unsubstantiated safety claim about LASIK services.
Copies of the complaints, consent agreements and analyses are available from the FTC's Web site: www.ftc.gov