Dr. Bowling: Snake oil scam claims to restore vision

August 26, 2014

If talk of online eye exams has gotten the optometric profession’s dander up, then what I’m about to share with you will send an OD’s blood pressure into the stratosphere.

Dr. Ernie BowlingIf talk of online eye exams has gotten the optometric profession’s dander up, then what I’m about to share with you will send an OD’s blood pressure into the stratosphere.

More from Dr. Bowling: The future of eye care?           

 My optician partner shared with me an e-mail he received from Laissez Faire Today touting “Restore My Vision Today,” a “scientifically proven program to achieve perfect 20/20 vision without glasses (that) can help cure myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia, and many other visual problems you might have.”            

The e-mail sends you to a slick website asking for the “low price” of $37 for a booklet about eye exercises “guaranteed” to improve your eyesight. There, you are treated to a videomercial that touts the “proven way to perfect your vision.” The spokesperson, Samantha Pearson, very professionally avows in the video’s opening that, thanks to the lifelong work of a Dr. Sen, any vision condition can be corrected in 14 days-myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia, and even glaucoma and macular degeneration-from the comfort of your home, and without any visits to the eye doctor. Of course, the eye care industry is “furious” and are “desperately trying to take down this video.” So, of course you should act quickly before that happens. And once you decide to leave this webpage, another banner appears telling you they will cut the price even further to $27!             

Of course, being the geek that I am, I immediately did a search for “Dr. Sen” and “Samantha Pearson.” I located a good number of physicians with the surname of Sen, but without the first name or credentials, I could not locate this particular fellow, except for a number of websites that directed you back to Restore My Vision Today’s sales pitches. However, the videomercial said this Dr. Sen was 84 years old, so I doubt he is very Internet savvy and probably doesn’t care much, anyway. The same can be said for searches for the Pearson lady. Nothing save a return to the website. Then I decided to look for independent reviews of the product but experienced the same result: all directed me back to the product’s website. In fact, the only independent review of the product was found at the San Diego Consumers’ Action Network which confirmed my initial thoughts: this is one slick scam. And many who bought the program were having difficulty getting their money refunded even though the video assures a 60-day unconditional refund.             

I understand the Internet is the modern version of the wild, wild West where anyone can sell his snake oil and make unsubstantiated claims without fear of reprisal. I also know most of these shams rely on the old P.T. Barnum quote: “There’s a sucker born every minute.” (P.T. Barnum didn’t actually say this, but that’s another story.) I also recognize that we live in a McDonald’s society where we want everything quick, cheap, and painless, but this really got me thinking: is the American consumer actually this gullible?             

I’d like to think that my patients would ask me about this sort of pablum before plunking down their hard-earned money for a quick fix. Some probably will, like my optician partner. Others will probably give it a try, then throw the program onto the scrap pile of other impulse buys like their Chia Pet, mood rings, and lava lamp. So, be prepared to answer questions from your patients about this product, for the marketing campaign does work.             

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to check out a website that says it will cure my male pattern baldness…

 

Source URL:http://optometrytimes.modernmedicine.com/optometrytimes/news/dr-bowling-snake-oil-scam-claims-restore-vision

Links:
[1] http://optometrytimes.modernmedicine.com/optometrytimes/news/are-you-ready-online-refraction
[2] http://optometrytimes.modernmedicine.com/optometrytimes/news/future-eye-care
[3] http://restore-my-vision-now.com/?hop=baligeek
[4] http://www.sandiegocan.org/2014/05/12/alert-restore-my-vision-today-and-keep-your-money-in-your-wallet/