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Wednesday, 6 February, 2002, 02:13 GMT
Watchdog says Boots advert 'misled'
Boots
Boots has been ordered to reword its adverts
High street chemist Boots misled customers by making exaggerated claims about the effectiveness of the laser eye surgery it offers, an advertising watchdog has ruled.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said Boots was wrong to give the impression that anyone having LASIK treatment would no longer require glasses or contact lenses.

It also criticised the company for implying that complications following surgery had only arisen in the US, when some people in the UK were also receiving treatment.

The complaints were made against Boots by Thornton & Wright Opticians after a direct mailing promotion for the eye surgery said: "Throw away your glasses or contact lenses for good."

It also stated: "Is it safe? Yes. There have been no reported cases of anyone being blinded by LASIK.

"However in the USA there have been a few reported rare cases where an individual's sight has been severely impaired."

'Exaggerated'

The ASA upheld complaints against both of the statements.

It said the claim about throwing away glasses or contact lenses meant readers would believe LASIK surgery removed the need for either.

The ASA said: "Because it (the authority) considered that some LASIK patients would still have to wear glasses or contact lenses ... the authority considered that the claim was exaggerated."

On safety the ASA said a small number of LASIK patients in the UK were being treated for post-operative complications, including corneal grafts.

The ASA said: "It considered that, although the advertiser's rationale for using the claim was acceptable and complications were extremely rare, the wording of the claim implied complications had occurred only in the USA."

It said the wording of the advertisement was misleading and asked Boots to change it.

Boots later made clear in a statement that none of its patients in the UK had required a corneal graft.

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