Individuals with glasses and contact lenses are often steered away from LASIK or refractive surgery due to concern for its high cost. Many think of it as a luxury such as a cruise vacation or an expensive watch. But when you sit down and analyze the actual cost and benefits of LASIK eye surgery, you may be surprised to find out that it is more affordable than you expected.
The goal of LASIK and refractive surgery is to allow you to do your day-to-day activities independently of the need of glasses or contact lenses. LASIK and PRK (photo refractive keratectomy) are sophisticated outpatient procedures that will reshape the cornea, the clear window of the eye, to correct your prescription. It should give you the freedom to drive, read, and enjoy outdoor activities, such as golf, tennis, and swimming, with clear vision. Patient satisfaction after LASIK ranges from 96-99%, making it one of the most desirable elective procedures in the United States.
Undoubtedly, the LASIK procedure has well-established and long-lasting benefits to patients. What about the cost of LASIK eye surgery? The average national cost of LASIK in 2020 is approximately $2246 per eye. The cost usually includes the initial consultation, the procedure, and post-operative follow-up care. Refractive surgery practices have different pricing structures with some charging a single price that includes the most recent advancements in blade-less customized LASIK and others quoting varying prices, depending on the technology used and the amount of correction needed. While the older technology involves the use of a microkeratome blade to create a flap, the advent of the femtosecond laser technology allows for bladeless LASIK and has made the surgery more precise and safer.
Practices promising LASIK for less than $1,000 per eye oftentimes only include correction for mild nearsightedness (myopia). If you have farsightedness (hyperopia), astigmatism, or moderate to high amounts of myopia, the amount you pay may be significantly higher than the advertised price. it is a good idea to do a little more investigating to learn what exactly that bargain price tag covers. Before taking up an offer for LASIK at an unusually low price, make sure you ask for an itemized quote so you understand what you are getting.
So that is a look at the immediate cost of LASIK surgery. What about the long-term costs of NOT doing LASIK? This is something that many patients do NOT look at closely. The average individual spends hundreds of dollars on contact lenses and prescription glasses every year. Furthermore, an annual eye exam is needed and additional eye care products, such as contact lens solutions, will be purchased.
If you are an individual in your 20s to 30s, these costs can add up to over thousands of dollars over the span of years. Consideration should also be given to the costs of contact-lens related problems, such as dry eyes, corneal abrasions, and infections. These problems can become expensive due to additional clinic visits and necessary eye drops for treatment. Lastly, think about how much time you would save without the need for routine or emergency doctor’s appointments and daily contact lens care. Check out our calculator below to determine your lifetime cost for glasses and contact lenses and see how much you could save with LASIK.
Average cost of supplies: $175
One eye LASIK cost: $2,000
Cost for both eyes: $4,000
Total to be spent on glasses/contacts by the age of 65: $0
So while you may have thought of LASIK initially as a luxury, you should now think of it more like an investment. It is an investment designed to help you save money and the long-term burdens of contact lenses and prescription glasses. If the one-time cost with LASIK seems daunting, keep in mind that most refractive practices and surgeons provide financing options to break it down into smaller payments over time.
Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) – LASIK is one of the qualified medical expenses for your FSA. Since only $550 of your unused FSA funds can rollover into March of the next year, using leftover funds toward LASIK can be a great way to keep those dollars from going to waste. Additionally, using your FSA decreases your taxable income while increasing your spendable income, saving you hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year.
Health Savings Accounts (HSA) – An HSA is another great way to help cover the costs of LASIK while maximizing your tax savings. With an HSA, contributions from your employer are excluded from your gross income, and you can claim tax deductions for any personal contributions as well as those made by anyone other than your employer.
Financing Plans – Another option to pay for LASIK is to utilize financing plan options through CareCredit, Alphaeon, or Wells Fargo. They allow you to pay in monthly increments rather than paying one lump sum.
Insurance Plans/Group Discounts – Some practices work with insurance providers and large employers to offer LASIK discounts to their employees. Be sure to ask your benefits manager if there are any LASIK discounts offered through your insurance or company benefits plan.
Tax Refund – Tax refund checks can be a nice financial boost and putting those extra funds toward paying for LASIK can be an excellent way to invest in yourself.
Tax Deductible Laser Vision Correction – Depending on your tax filing status, vision correction may be a tax-deductible expense. Consult your CPA, ask a tax professional, or visit the IRS website for details.
Ultimately, LASIK should serve as an investment to provide you with freedom to read or watch TV without wearing glasses and to swim or shower without having to worry about your contact lenses. Contact us for a free LASIK consultation today. At Milan Eye Center, you’ll get the most advanced technology and award-winning, Board-certified LASIK surgeons.
Read our Comprehensive Guide to LASIK.
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