RSA Initiatives

The mission of the Refractive Surgery Alliance Society (RSA) is to bring the benefits of refractive surgery to more people. We accomplish this by executing on five (5) key initiatives:

  • Physician Education

  • Technology

  • Patient Outreach

  • Public Awareness

  • Affordability



The RSA Master of Refractive Surgery Program recognizes the multiple dimensions of a refractive surgeon’s expertise and addresses each of them separately.

Successful refractive surgeons are excellent clinicians and surgeons. They have deep understanding of patient insights, with business, leadership and marketing skills and they constantly participate in the innovation and adoption of new technologies. The scope Refractive surgery is also expanding. Refractive surgery goes beyond corneal laser procedures and includes inlays, lens procedures, and other technologies on the horizon.

The RSA Master of Refractive Surgery Program makes advance training available to all refractive surgeons, even to those currently in practice, and provides skills in four “Dimensions“:

  • Business and Leadership Dimension: The PHYSICIAN CEO™ program at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University near Chicago, Illinois is a certificate program that provides MBA-level business skills with a CEO focus. The program consists of four 5-day sessions over 9 months, starting in January of each year.
  • Core Competence Dimension: Online modules provide training in the art and science of refractive surgery, including a broad range of clinical concepts, surgical step-by-step modules and “Words Matter” – a focused skills transfer program about how to counsel patients at every step of the process.
  • Technology & Innovation Dimension: An in-depth program modular program taught by the key innovators in refractive surgery to help clinicians integrate new technologies and participate in innovation.
  • Practical Dimension: Modular programs in the practice setting to cover all aspects of refractive surgery, including surgical skills, team development, marketing, tracking, outcomes and more.

The RSA Master of Refractive Surgery Program is open to all RSA members and is tuition based.



Refractive surgery relies heavily on capital equipment such as lasers and diagnostic devices. This equipment is extremely sophisticated and makes it possible to perform accurate, safe surgery time after time. The Refractive Surgery Alliance (RSA) position is that all refractive surgeons should have access to the most current technology and that all patients deserve the very best treatments available.

Group Purchasing
The RSA works with manufacturers and distributors to arrange Group Purchasing opportunities, levering our numbers to create value for both vendors and members. Savings can be significant and the arrangements are attractive to vendors who want their latest innovations in the field.

The RSA Group Purchase model is unique. Members participate in RSA Group Purchases at no cost and all savings are passed along to the members.

Capital Expense vs. Operator’s Lease
The purchase model for capital equipment acquisition can make stay current with technologies cost-prohibitive. Technology access is critical to the RSA mission to grow refractive surgery. The RSA is committed to changing the financial model for capital equipment so that having the best technology is affordable.

Where practical, the RSA believes that the purchase model for equipment acquisition should change to a leasing model. New equipment is generally better. Switching to an operator’s lease model will create better alignment between the practice and their patient’s interests.

An operator’s lease for capital equipment is similar to a lease on a car. Lease it, use it, and trade it in for the new model after the lease term expires. Leasing refractive lasers and other expensive equipment provide a cost-effective path for surgeons to always have the latest and best equipment.

The objection to a capital lease is that it can be more expensive over time. The RSA believes that the cost consideration can be offset by increased volume and by producing the very best possible results. The RSA proposal is to structure the lease payments to include a reasonable lifetime revenue stream that includes both the capital equipment ongoing revenues. The impact of this approach will be very positive:

  • Practices will update their equipment more often to always have the latest technologies;
  • Manufacturers will be able to plan and control the new-technology cycles. The current Capex model makes it difficult to place new technologies because practices may keep their lasers for 6 to 8 years. Leasing will overcome this barrier and will encourage more investment in innovation.
  • Surgeons will be more likely to use their lasers, extending the reach of refractive surgery to new patients;
  • Patients will have the assurance that their surgery will be done with the latest equipment.



Refractive surgery includes some of the most commonly performed surgical procedures in the world. Many studies 1 2 3 4 5 6 have documented the success of refractive surgery and high patient satisfaction rates that result. More than 2/3 of refractive surgeons have had refractive surgery themselves and more than 90% have recommended refractive surgery to their immediate family members.

While the vast majority of outcomes are excellent there can be complications. The RSA is committed to the success of refractive surgery for everyone. Several RSA centers offer free examinations and evaluations to postoperative refractive surgery patients who have problems after surgery. Most conditions are treatable with current technologies.



There are three stages of vision development throughout life. Refractive surgery offers seven different procedures and can treat all of them:

  • Ocular Maturity;
  • Presbyopia;
  • Dysfunctional Lens Syndrome

The first stage of vision development is “ocular maturity”, which occurs in early adulthood, usually by age 18. At this age, glasses and contact lenses are replaced by a quick, safe, comfortable surgical procedure such as LASIK, PRK, SMILE or the Implantable Contact Lens (ICL). These procedures do not wear off, they are permanent and in the absence of underlying conditions they last for a lifetime.

The second stage is presbyopia, or the loss of reading vision is lost in middle age. This is due to hardening of the internal lens in the eye due to a condition referred to as Dysfunctional Lens Syndrome or DLS. There are several excellent procedures available to restore reading vision, ranging from LASIK to inlays to lens exchanges. Again, results are permanent in the absence of other conditions.

The third stage is advanced DLS with cataract formation, where the natural lens in the eye becomes cloudy. Those who had a lens exchange for presbyopia never develop cataracts because their lens was already removed. For everyone else, there are refractive lens exchange procedures. In these procedures the natural lens is replaced with a high-technology implant lens that provides vision at all distances, alleviating the need for glasses.

People often think they are not candidates for refractive surgery when they are actually excellent candidates. There are excellent procedures for all three stages of vision development and the RSA is committed to providing the benefits of refractive surgery to everyone, and at each stage of adult life.



Refractive surgery saves money over time. The RSA Vision Correction Affordability Calculator can be used to estimate how much money you will save by having your eyes fixed. Additional benefits of refractive surgery include improved occupational fitness, lifestyle, productivity, convenience and personal safety. The economic and life changing benefits of refractive surgery are compelling.

Yet most people stay with glasses and contact lenses because the costs per year are low. Coming up with the one-time payment for refractive surgery is just not affordable for many people, particularly younger patients. Even though the life-long savings of refractive surgery are apparent, refractive surgery can be difficult to afford.

The RSA is committed to making refractive surgery affordable for everyone by providing low-monthly payment financing options. RSA members have preferred access to top quality credit companies and can arrange for financing for most people for as low as $99 per month. Financing plans can make refractive surgery as affordable as wearing glasses or contact lenses.