Is LASIK Eye Surgery Affordable?

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, 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 for 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.

Cost of LASIK

Undoubtedly, the LASIK procedure has well-established and long-lasting benefits to patients. What about the cost of LASIK eye surgery?

What is the average cost of LASIK?

In the U.S, the average cost of LASIK in 2020 was approximately $2246 per eye. This cost usually includes the initial consultation, the procedure, and post-operative follow-up care, but always be sure to ask what the cost includes during your consultation. Some LASIK surgeons will misleadingly quote lower prices and tack on hidden fees that you may not expect.

What factors affect the cost of LASIK?

There are two different types of pricing structures generally used in refractive surgery practices. 

  • Standardized Cost – The cost is the same from patient to patient. Bladeless LASIK cost is more likely to follow the standardized cost model than traditional LASIK. Bladeless LASIK uses computer-assisted laser technology to create the eye flap rather than the traditional method which uses a microkeratome blade. The advancement of the bladeless femtosecond laser technology has made the surgery more precise and safer.
  • Variable Cost – The cost changes from patient to patient depending on each individual’s specific needs.

For variable cost structures, there are several factors that can affect the total cost of LASIK.

  • Amount of correction needed – Patients with higher correction needs will typically have a higher LASIK cost than patients with only mild cases of myopia (nearsightedness).
  • LASIK experience – A less experienced LASIK surgeon may charge less than the average market rate to incentivize patients to choose them over a more experienced surgeon.
  • Location – The area where you choose to get your LASIK procedure done can also affect the cost. Practitioners located in big cities like New York and Los Angeles will typically charge more for LASIK surgeries due to their higher operating costs including things like their rent costs and taxes.

Cheap LASIK Pricing

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 and research the physician and surgery practice so you understand what you are getting. Be wary of hidden fees that are not included in the advertised price.

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Is LASIK Worth it?

Having vision correction surgery can save a patient thousands of dollars in yearly vision costs over the course of their lives. The younger the patient is, the more they can save over time. However, there are also many non-monetary benefits of getting LASIK that benefit patients of all ages. 

In addition to evaluating the up-front cost of LASIK surgery, patients should also consider the value of getting LASIK surgery over time. 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, vision costs can add up to over thousands of dollars over the span of your life. 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. For those with glasses, replacing lost or damaged glasses can create additional unexpected costs.

Aside from the monetary cost, LASIK surgery can free you from the hassle of having to carry prescription glasses and sunglasses with you, and packing extra items for overnight trips, or worrying about vision during exercise, sports, and water activities. You’ll also never have to worry about glasses fogging up from face masks and indoor/outdoor temperature changes. 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 LASIK calculator below to determine your lifetime cost for glasses and contact lenses and see how much you could save with LASIK.

Determine How Much You Can Save With LASIK

Average cost of supplies: $175

LASIK Payment Plans and Financing Options

LASIK is an investment designed to help you save money and the long-term burdens of contact lenses and prescription glasses over time. If the one-time cost of laser eye surgery seems daunting, keep in mind that most refractive practices and surgeons provide LASIK financing options to break it down into smaller payments over time. These are some of the options to keep the cost of LAISK down:

  • Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) – LASIK is one of the qualified medical expenses for your FSA.  Since only $550 of your unused FSA funds can roll over 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.
  • LASIK 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.  
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Group Discounts – Some practices work with 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 company benefits plan.

Does Insurance Cover LASIK?

In most situations, insurance plans do not cover the full cost of LASIK because it is considered an elective surgery that is not medically necessary. However, your insurance plan may offer discounts for LASIK surgery. Call your insurance provider for additional details.

Ultimately, LASIK should serve as an investment to provide you with the freedom to read or watch TV without wearing glasses and to swim or shower without having to worry about your contact lenses. At Milan Eye Center, you’ll get the most advanced technology and award-winning, Board-certified LASIK surgeons. Contact us for a free LASIK consultation today.

Read our Comprehensive Guide to LASIK for more information on LASIK and other types of laser eye surgery, as well as who is eligible for LASIK.

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