Companies that could be affected by the meeting include Lasik device makers such as Advanced Medical Optics Inc (EYE-$20.33) and Lasik providers such as TLC Vision Corp (TLCV-$1.20), and LCA-Vision Inc (LCAV-$12.47).
LASIK procedures are considered relatively safe, with the number of complaints to the FDA about the outcome of LASIK surgery reported to the FDA since 1998 through 2006 at about 140—out of an estimated 7 - 8 million laser corrective procedures.
Regulators have no direct control over physicians who handle the patients.
Nonetheless, regulators will debate whether educational materials—listing the most common side effects of LASIK surgery—provided to patients considering the procedure require changing. At present, most brochures do not warn that about 25% of patients considering the procedure are not good candidates (such as those with large pupils and severe astigmatism).
Few Growth Catalysts for LASIK Providers
In our view, operators of these laser vision centers—given the lack of multiple growth drivers—need be concerned about adverse publicity affecting traffic and (incremental costs of defending against) class action lawsuits clouding forward earnings visibility, for both outcomes will pressure company margins, which are already hurting from competitive pricing issues and a slowing economy (given that these procedures are elective).
Editor David J. Phillips does not hold a financial interest in any stocks mentioned in this article. The 10Q Detective has a Full Disclosure Policy.