Summary of Lasik Costs
- Price Range = $499 – $4,000
- Average Cost = $1,657 per eye
- Cheapest Price = $499
Of all of the senses that we have, our vision is one that best helps us interact with the world around us. It helps us form our perception of our environment, of other people, and of ourselves. Because of the vital role that vision plays in our lives, it is not surprising that when an individual starts to notice that their vision is diminishing, they want to take steps in order to correct this trend. One of the tools that has been beneficial in correcting vision problems is LASIK surgery.
While the benefits of the surgery are well known, many individuals still shy away from it simply because they are unsure of the cost associated with the procedure. This confusion is understandable because the pricing for LASIK surgery varies drastically depending on the doctor, the technology used, and the particular condition that an individual has with their eyes. For this reason, we will examine some of the scenarios that will determine how much a person will pay for LASIK surgery.
The Cost of LASIK Surgery with VSP
Since its inception in 1955, VSP or vision service plan has provided its members with eye care. It is a comprehensive insurance plan that provides coverage for everything from eye exams to eyeglasses, and also includes LASIK surgery. Over the years, VSP has built a strong relationship with multiple laser surgery facilities in the United States. For this reason, they are able to offer their members corrective surgery at a price that can be hundreds of dollars less than what they would pay otherwise.
They are able to accomplish this in two main ways. First, they allow their members to contact a doctor who performs LASIK surgery and who works within the VSP network. Members who choose this option will receive coverage of up to $100 per eye, at a maximum of $200. Additionally, they will be given a discount that on average ranges around 15 percent. In order to qualify for this discount, the following pricing standards must be met:
- Custom LASIK should not exceed $2,300 per eye
- Normal LASIK surgery should not exceed $1,800 per eye
- PRK cannot exceed $1,500 per eye
On average, the price of LASIK surgery is reduced by 15 percent for individuals who have the surgery done by a doctor who is within the VSP network using this option.
The second option is to choose a doctor who is not a VSP provider. In this case, patients will be reimbursed $100 per eye with a maximum reimbursement of $200. There are no additional discounts available for individuals who choose this option.
Pricing for LASIK Surgery With and Without Insurance
Many insurance companies view LASIK surgery as a cosmetic procedure, which would otherwise be cared for with glasses or contact lenses. For this reason, the vast majority of insurance companies do not cover LASIK surgery. Exceptions to this rule are individuals who have jobs where their appearance is a key part of what they do. So models, actors, and other individuals who make their money off of their appearance may have this procedure covered. Additionally, emergency workers such as firemen and policemen will have this covered by their insurance company. Even in these cases, the only way to know with certainty what percentage of the procedure will be covered is to speak with the insurance company that covers you.
Some individuals have access to a Flexible Spending Account. This is an account that is set up through their employer which allows them to contribute money tax-free that will go towards their future medical needs that are not covered by insurance. In these cases, they can use their FSA account to cover the cost of their LASIK procedure.
On average, individuals paid approximately $1,657 per eye. Certain factors, such as the equipment used, the price charged by the surgeon, and the condition of the patient’s eyes determined the cost of this procedure.
One of the largest LASIK providers in North America said that pricing for LASIK surgery can range anywhere between $2,000 to $4,500 for both eyes. Wavefront guided, or a customized type of LASIK surgery that includes a laser generated corneal flap, costs about $2,150 per eye. Conversely, individuals who used microkeratome technology were charge on average $1,630.
Other factors that influence the cost of LASIK surgery:
- The Type of Laser Used
- Instruments Used in Creating the Corneal Flap
- Whether or Not Pre-op Examinations Were Covered in the Fee
- Price of Post-op Medicine
- Price of Re-Treatments When Necessary
- Pricing Scale Based on the Community Where the Procedure Took Place
Cost of LASIK If You have an Astigmatism
Often times, you will see an advertisement for a discount LASIK surgery procedure. They will offer the procedure for $499 or even less. While in almost every single case the end price for the procedure is more than the advertised $500, individuals who have astigmatism will never be able to qualify for this discounted price. In all cases, they will pay the full price for their eye procedure. Estimates put the price at LASIK surgery for an individual with astigmatism at between $1,650 – $3,000.
How Long Does LASIK Surgery Last?
When patients ask this question, they are looking for one of two answers. First, they may be concerned about the length of the typical surgery. On average, the surgery itself will take approximately 10 minutes. It is recommended that patients be accompanied by a friend or family member since after the surgery their vision will be impaired for a short while.
The second question that a patient may be asking is how long will the benefits of LASIK surgery be with them. According to a report done by the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, more than 95 percent of individuals who have had LASIK surgery since the year 2008 are happy with the results. The results are designed to be permanent and to provide a patient with near-perfect vision. Obviously, certain factors, such as the patient’s health and other conditions may impact the long-term results of LASIK surgery.
Does LASIK Surgery Hurt?
One of the first questions that people ask about LASIK surgery after discussing the price is if this procedure will hurt. In a word, the answer is no. While certain parts of the procedure, such as the apparatus used to keep the eye open, and having their eye open for extended periods of time can be uncomfortable, the actual laser working on the eye is painless. Individuals are given an eye numbing anesthetic that guarantees no pain will be felt. Some individuals have mentioned that the anesthetic itself may sting, but this sting will last for less than half a minute.
Some individuals do report post operation discomfort. This will range from a mild scratchy sensation in the eyes, to a dry sensation, and mild stinging. However, in the vast majority of cases, these symptoms clear up within 24 to 48 hours after the surgery.
LASIK surgery is a painless surgical procedure for individuals with vision problems. Ranging in price from between $500 – $4,000, LASIK is an option that is not usually covered by insurance. With a quick recovery time, and a short operating time, LASIK surgery provides a permanent solution to many vision problems.