One of the most common questions people considering laser vision correction surgery ask is: How much does LASIK eye surgery cost? The short answer is, on average, it costs around $4,400. But there’s more to understanding how much LASIK eye surgery costs than the national average. Here, we explore the many factors that go into the cost of LASIK, ways to pay for laser vision correction procedures, and, importantly, what you need to know to make the right choice about an investment in your vision.
You’ve likely seen and heard ads on the radio, TV, and online promoting LASIK and other vision correction surgeries. With the range of LASIK eye surgery prices being promoted in these ads, it can be confusing. It’s important to understand there are different types of laser vision correction and technologies and these options go into the price of LASIK or other laser vision correction procedures. Each patient, each eye, has different vision issues and correction needs. Each patient or eye may need more or less in terms of treatment, diagnostics, technology, and follow up – all of which can be a factor in the cost of a laser vision correction procedure.
Here, we offer an overview of the various options in laser vision correction to help you better understand the technologies and techniques available. And, we will touch on several topics related to LASIK eye surgery cost, including finding ways to pay for LASIK.
Two Facts To Know About LASIK Eye Surgery Cost
First: Your LASIK surgeon – the doctor specializing in laser vision correction surgeries – evaluates and discusses with you the vision correction procedure recommended for each eye. Each eye may need more or less in terms of diagnostics, treatment, technology, and follow up – all of which can be a factor in the cost of a laser vision correction procedure. Therefore, the cost of LASIK eye surgery is “per eye.”
Second: There are many options in laser vision correction today. Determining what is right for you and your vision is part of the work you will do with your LASIK surgeon before deciding to have a procedure performed. Your surgeon has invested both time and money into the different technologies and techniques to provide you with his or her specific offering – a blend of skill and science. You will want to understand it all before deciding to move forward.
Options in Laser Vision Correction
Conventional LASIK – This is the oldest form of LASIK which uses a microkeratome blade to create a flap in the cornea. The flap is folded back and an excimer laser is used to reshape the cornea under the flap to address your vision prescription. The flap is gently placed back over the treatment area. Conventional LASIK is typically the least expensive laser vision correction option.
Custom LASIK (including wavefront-guided, wavefront-optimized, topographic-guided) – These modern LASIK techniques capture highly detailed measurements to create a unique map of your eye. This data guides the excimer laser to provide a more accurate and precise vision correction treatment based upon your specific anatomy.
All laser or blade-free LASIK is an option that replaces the microkeratome blade with a femtosecond laser. Studies show patients have fewer flap complications, need fewer treatments, and have a greater likelihood of achieving 20/20 visual acuity or better when using all-laser LASIK.
PRK (photorefractive keratectomy), also known as Advanced Surface Ablation, is a laser vision correction treatment applied to the surface of the cornea. The same excimer laser and similar eye mapping technologies used in LASIK can be used to customize PRK treatments.
LASEK or epi-LASEK is similar to PRK in that the laser is applied to the surface of the cornea. With LASEK and epi-LASEK, the cells that cover the cornea – known as the epithelium layer – are preserved and reapplied after the laser vision correction treatment.
SMILE (Small Incision Lenticule Extraction) uses a femtosecond laser to create a small disc of tissue within the layers of the cornea, which is then removed through a small incision in the cornea to improve the focusing power of the eye.
Refractive Lens Exchange uses a femtosecond laser to access the crystalline lens of the eye, which is removed and replaced with a vision-correcting lens, known as an intraocular lens or IOL. These IOLs can treat a wide range of vision issues, including presbyopia. By replacing the natural lens with an IOL, patients avoid having cataract surgery later in life.
Investing in Laser Vision Correction
Now that you know about some of the many options that can go into laser vision correction, it might be helpful to talk through the personal economics of choosing a procedure like LASIK. It should start with understanding what from the menu of laser vision correction options your surgeon recommends for you and your vision – and the costs associated with that recommendation. This should be a direct conversation and here we provide a list of questions you should ask when talking about the cost of your laser vision correction procedure with your surgeon.
Finding Ways to Pay LASIK Eye Surgery Costs
It is natural to want to know you are getting a good value for your money. LASIK deals and discounts are available. However, you want to make sure you are making the best decision for the health of your eyes and vision. While there are promotions for very inexpensive LASIK, the reality is that most people don’t qualify for the procedure offered at that deeply discounted price. In this article we discuss how to put deals and discounts into perspective, so you know you are basing your decision to have laser vision on the right information.
What About Insurance?
You may wonder if your insurance will help pay for the cost of LASIK or other laser vision correction. It depends on the type of insurance and its specific policy benefits. The staff at your LASIK surgeon’s office can help you determine if you have any benefits that help with the cost of LASIK. You can read more about how your insurance may help you cover your LASIK eye surgery cost here.
Using Tax-Free Money For LASIK Eye Surgery Costs
Many employers offer flexible or health savings accounts (FSA or HSA) that give you a tax-free way to save for your procedure. LASIK is a qualified medical procedure for using FSA or HSA funds and by eliminating the taxes on the money you spend on LASIK; you save money overall. Talk to your HR manager to learn if you have access to FSA or HSA plans. You can learn more about how to use HSAs and FSAs for laser vision correction, including the latest contribution limits, in this article.
Your LASIK consultation includes a discussion about the procedures and technologies recommended for your specific vision needs and based upon your candidacy, as well as related costs, You should feel completely comfortable asking your surgeon questions about the recommendations as well as the price of the procedure. The selection of technologies your surgeon offers, in addition to his/her skill and experience, can be what sets him or her apart from other LASIK providers.
Excellent vision is an investment. Understanding the many options which may be available to you is part of making a good investment. But, the most important step is scheduling an appointment with your doctor to discuss your needs and determine candidacy. Armed with the information you need and working with a surgeon you have confidence in will help you make the best decision for your eye health and vision when choosing laser vision correction.