Learn more about laser eye surgery

Consumers are being inundated with advertisements touting the benefits of Lasik

eye surgery – the newest procedure to correct refractive vision problems. At

the same time, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been receiving an

increasing number of complaints about complications associated with this

elective surgery and, to a lesser degree, about the lack of advertising

disclosures about the attendant risks.

Since the laser used in Lasik eye

surgery was approved in 1995 by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), laser

eye centers and surgeons have sprouted up nationwide to cash in on the trend.

There are more than 900 laser centers today, compared with 300 in 1996. All are

working to attract their share of the more than 1.5 million eyes expected to

have refractive laser eye surgery this year, up from 105,000 eyes in 1996. Five

years from now, surgeons are expected to perform laser surgery on more than 3

million eyes.

The FTC and the American Academy of Ophthalmology are issuing

a consumer alert, “Getting the Clear Picture on Lasik Eye Surgery,” to educate

consumers about what they can expect before they sign up for the

procedure.

For more in-depth information about Lasik, call the FTC

toll-free at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), and ask for the brochure, “Basik

Lasik: Tips on Lasik Eye Surgery,” or visit the FTC online at www.ftc.gov. The

brochure discusses the risks and possible complications, how to decide if

you’re a candidate for the procedure, how to shop for a surgeon, and what to

expect before, during and after surgery. Alternatives to Lasik also are

discussed, and resources are listed for additional information.

COLLEEN P.

TRESSLER

Office of Consumer and Business Education

Federal Trade

Commission

Washington, D.C.

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