LASIK Eye Surgery Cost (the Elephant in the Eye Exam Room)Author: Dr. William Tullo
March 7, 2014
How much does LASIK eye surgery cost?
The LASIK eye surgery cost in North America varies drastically, from less than $1,000 to more than $4,000 per eye. That can be a dizzying figure to interpret, but knowing what you should expect to pay shouldn’t be a mystery. Dozens of factors, some related to you and some related to your vision center, influence the LASIK eye surgery cost.
Finding a LASIK provider you trust at a price you can afford might take some window shopping, but most people pay about $2,000 per eye. Expect to pay roughly that, but be willing to pay a little more or less either way, based on personal factors and on the provider you choose.
What factors influence LASIK eye surgery cost?
Personal factors that can influence the cost of lasik eye sugery include your prescription, insurance plan and location. Some eye surgeons charge more for people with worse visual acuity, for instance. Similarly, you might need PRK instead of LASIK, and the cost of each procedure can vary slightly.
Most insurance plans don’t cover the cost of LASIK, though a few major insurance carriers and other membership-based organizations have worked out discounts of about five to 10 percent for their members. You can your insurance carrier what discounts, if any, it has negotiated.
If you live in a place with high cost of living, such as a large metropolis, then the LASIK eye surgery cost can be higher than what you might pay in a smaller city, too.
The eye surgeon performing your procedure will also influence the cost of LASIK eye surgery. Surgeons with the most experience tend to charge a bit more because they bring lots of expertise to the table. When you evaluate a provider, ask about the technology it uses. State-of-the-art lasers cost more than old ones, so vision centers that invest in the latest, safest technology often charge slightly more to cover the costs of new lasers.
For example, those who offer Custom Bladeless LASIK with wavefront technology—a procedure with fewer complications and greater reliability of creating 20/20 vision—tend to charge $1,500 to $3,000 per eye, whereas Bladed LASIK, an older technology, costs about $1,000 to $2,500 per eye.
What is included in the cost of LASIK eye surgery?
When you pay this much, and when so much is at stake, you want to know exactly what you’re getting. Seek out pricing that includes most if not all of the pre- and post-surgical care you will need, including all the tests performed during your initial LASIK consultation. Ask if your cost includes enhancements, also called touch ups, if your vision regresses. Some providers offer lifetime commitments to enhancements at no charge, and others charge a fee. Ask your laser vision correction provider, “Is there anything else I might need to pay for?”
Finally, be cautious of advertised LASIK prices that are far below the averages presented here. Often, those prices are for patients meeting unusual clinical parameters, or for a bladed and non-custom procedure. These costs also might not include a comprehensive eye evaluation, follow-up care or other tests necessary for a successful surgery. Some eye doctors who charge very low prices might not be as experienced or may not have access to the latest laser vision correction technology either.
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