Cost of LASIK Eye Surgery
How Much Does LASIK Cost?
In today's times, it pays to be practical. While improving your vision is priceless, the cost of LASIK is a legitimate factor to consider in your decision to have LASIK or another refractive surgery procedure and select your eye surgeon. In life we find we often get what we pay for, so making an informed decision is always in our best interests.
Can You Afford the cost of LASIK or another vision correction procedure?
Although our Trusted LASIK Surgeons Directory features refractive eye surgery experts who are among the most highly qualified eye doctors in the United States, please do not assume you cannot afford to see one of them. When you understand the actual underlying costs of LASIK, you may well find that seeing a LASIK expert in our directory is well within your means. In addition, most, if not all of these vision correction experts, offer financing.
LASIK costs vary depending on the technology offered and which procedure is safest and best for you. In addition, the cost of LASIK can vary from city to city as a function of the expense required to maintain a laser eye surgery practice.
Besides the quality and experience of the surgeon you choose, costs can be an important factor in choosing your LASIK surgeon. Below is a discussion about the costs of LASIK. Trusted LASIK Surgeons provides this information to help educate you about the underlying costs of LASIK. We’ll break down the price of LASIK for you on several levels- from low cost LASIK ads you’Ave seen and heard, to what issues you may want to consider when investigating LASIK costs (like what should be included in the cost of LASIK), to what costs the doctor or practice has. We will also provide tips and suggestions in order to help you make a more informed decision. At the end of our discussion, we have also included a downloadable checklist of LASIK price considerations and questions to ask a practice about the cost of LASIK. As always, our reports to you are free. We hope you find this information useful and please contact us if you have any questions.
Please also take a moment to consider the LASIK experts in our Trusted LASIK Surgeons Directory. Once you understand the true cost of LASIK, we believe you can find a highly qualified vision correction doctor at an affordable price here at Trusted LASIK Surgeons.
While our discussion focuses on LASIK, many of the points we make can be applied to other laser eye and refractive surgery procedures. The industry generally quotes refractive eye surgery prices on a per eye basis, so if you are having both eyes operated on (not always necessary), you should double the cost.
In addition to the discussion below we have created a free LASIK Cost Report for Total LASIK Price Consumer Checklist for you.
What Is the Price for LASIK in General?
The cost of LASIK generally ranges between $1,500 and $3,000 per eye. One significant factor that account for discrepancies in the cost of LASIK depend on whether Wavefront (“Custom Cornea”) and All Laser or (“bladeless”) technologies are included in the fee. This generally puts the cost of your LASIK procedure in the range of around $2,000 per eye, since the manufacturers of the devices typically charge a license fee for each surgical procedure performed.
Prices for LASIK and vision correction surgeries can vary widely depending on your particular prescription, needs and what procedures and options you ultimately chose. Of course, you would also expect that the cost of LASIK in a smaller city would be different from a larger metropolis due to higher leases and other costs of doing business in a particular city and state.
Tip: The primary issue concerning the cost of LASIK or any refractive eye surgery procedure is whether the fee advertised or quoted by the practice or doctor is all inclusive or limited in a way that additional fees will be added on.
Even where price may be a significant concern, with financing options offered by most practices, LASIK can be an affordable option for you. Many laser eye surgeons and practices are now offering interest fee financing (usually through a third party credit service).
Beware of Low Cost Ads
No doubt you have seen some variation of ads that offer LASIK for a low flat fee: “LASIK for $499. These ads should always be viewed with skepticism from the beginning. After all, it is an ad and how many times have we all been fooled by an ad because we did not read the fine print or look into the matter more closely. Typically, some costs were left out, and cheap LASIK ads are no exception. These discount LASIK ads are designed to get you to make an appointment and have a consultation because getting you into the office is the first step to closing the sale.” It is harder to leave an office after your have had an examination and seen how much LASIK can improve your vision. There is a concern where a practice that advertises discount LASIK may be driven more by sales than by what is best for the patient. We recommend you should be especially careful in that regard and find out everything you can and if you have any doubt, we believe you should consider getting a second opinion from a proven LASIK expert. Of course we suggest a vision correction specialist from our Trusted LASIK Surgeons Directory before proceeding with any refractive surgery procedure like LASIK.
Does the Cheap LASIK Ad apply to me?
In most cases, probably not. Typically, only a very small percentage of the population would qualify for the cheap price specified in these types of discount ads: those who have very little or no astigmatism and need only a slight correction through laser vision surgery.
In other words, the best candidates for these ads are people who technically may be slightly farsighted or nearsighted, but who might not even be considering LASIK. If you are one of those people who can pass the driving test without a prescription, you might be one of those people who qualify for the discounted price, but again that is no guarantee.
What's the Catch in a Cheap LASIK Ad?
… And What You Should Ask Any LASIK Surgeon When It Comes to Fees
These ads look great on the surface but it is only after you have gone into the eye doctor’s office that you find out the true costs. Unless your eyesight meets the narrow requirements of the ad, chances are that you will soon find there are additional fees that apply to you that are not included in the price quoted in the ad. For example, a LASIK ad may only refer to the cost of the surgeon and the use of the laser to re-shape your cornea. That leaves some significant extras that may easily increase to cost to an amount equal to or higher than the average LASIK surgeon charges in your area. It may very well be that the lower the LASIK price in the ad, the more costs can add up later. Here are some examples of things you may end up paying extra for when it comes to LASIK
- Office Visits: Your cost should include visits before your LASIK surgery and after (for some specified time)
- Additional Technologies Used in Laser Eye Surgery
- All Laser or Bladeless LASIK: Does the LASIK fee include IntraLase or bladeless LASIK?
- Wavefront based or (“Custom”) laser eye surgery: Does the LASIK fee include use of Wavefront based technology which is used to analyze the entire visual system, not just your prescription in order to obtain better, more accurate results from the laser eye surgery?
- Correction Related Charges
Amount of Correction: Does the LASIK fee vary depending on how much correction you need?
Astigmatism: Does the fee cover correction of astigmatism?
- About 90% of all laser eye surgery patients need to be corrected for astigmatism (in addition to their correction for nearsightedness (myopia) or farsightedness (hyperopia). If the ad does not mention that the quoted price includes correction of astigmatism, then you will likely find yourself paying extra to correct your astigmatism. Additional cost can be tied to the amount of astigmatism that needs to be corrected. Sometimes very slight astigmatism may be included but typically very few patients follow in that category and the rest will pay additional fees.
- LASIK Retreatments: LASIK is not perfect and sometimes patients may need to undergo a second LASIK procedure (commonly referred to as a retreatment or “enhancement” to achieve a better outcome. Many surgeons will not charge you for these retreatments within a specified time period after your initial LASIK procedure. In some cases, there may be a modest fee for the use of the laser. Make sure you understand the retreatment fees and policies of the practice before you have LASIK or another laser eye surgery procedure.
- Surgical Materials. Make sure you will not be charged for disposal items used for your procedures, including surgical gowns, gloves, and equipment.
- Medication: eye drops, anesthetic, prescriptions, and the like. Sometimes you may pay for some post-surgery medication, so check with the practice on what is covered.
- Facility Fees: These should always be included in the cost of your LASIK surgery.
Most importantly, be certain that LASIK is your best option. Laser eye surgery procedures like LASIK are not always a patient’s best treatment to improve his or her vision. In some cases, other technologies like lens implants may be more suitable. It does not make sense to pay for one type of procedure when a better option may be available. That’s exactly why finding an experienced LASIK surgeon with a record of professional accomplishments (i.e., research and teaching) can be very helpful in helping you determine all your options and which procedure is best for you.
What Are the Costs of the Doctor or Practice?
We would not be making a fair presentation if we did not provide the other side of the equation: what costs do doctors incur to maintain their practices? The costs of running a refractive practice include the following:
- Laser manufacturer fees and royalties
- Office and Surgical Staff
- Office Lease or Facility Fee (if the doctor shares lasers and technologies with other doctors)
- Surgical, technical, and office equipment: purchase and maintenance
- Surgical outerwear (gloves, surgical gowns, caps) and disposal products used for surgery
- Marketing costs
- Surgeons Fees and Time
- Initial Examination and Consultation
- Pre-Op Visit (before surgery)
- LASIK Surgery Procedure
- Follow Up Visits after surgery
- Retreatment surgery if additional correction is necessary
- Insurance (including property, medical malpractice, workers comp and other liability insurance).
- Permits, Licenses, Taxes (local, state and federal)
When you consider the costs from the doctors perspective, they do add up. These costs also illustrate how impractical (if not impossible) it would be for any practice to give every patient the cheap flat fee that is offered in the typical discount LASIK ads that you see everywhere. Again, be careful of any practice that promotes these types of advertisements as this is generally a means to get you in the door and committed to choosing to have vision correction surgery on the spot. Do not be surprised when you later find there are extra costs that are tacked onto the discount fee only after you have gone into the office for an initial consultation.
Other Vision Correction Options Than LASIK
While LASIK can help correct the majority of vision problems, there are times when LASIK (or another laser eye surgery procedure) is not the best option. Other refractive procedures, like lens implants, conductive keratoplasty, are available. If you select a practice that only offers laser eye surgery, you may not be presented with these other options that might be better suited for you. Most of the surgeons in the Trusted LASIK Surgeons Directory offer a more complete range of refractive surgery procedures beyond laser eye surgery. When you choose a refractive eye surgeon, we recommend that you question your surgeon thoroughly and do some research on your own (before and after you visit an eye doctor) to ensure that laser eye surgery is your best option.
How to Save Money On LASIK
Below are some tips to help you avoid any hidden costs to help you save on your LASIK procedure.
Determine What Is Included in the LASIK Fee Specified by Your Doctor
Make sure the LASIK Fee is all inclusive or that you have added in all components of your LASIK procedure. Here are some costs that you should account for in accessing the true price of any laser vision surgery procedure:
- Pre-Operative and Post-Operative Visits. These should always be included in the fee for some specified time.
- Supplementary Technology to LASIK. (these typically involve additional license fees that are paid to the manufacturer)
- WaveFront Technology (for Custom Cornea laser vision correction surgery)
- All Laser LASIK or bladeless LASIK fees (i.e., intralase)
- Note: the IntraLase laser is used instead of the surgical blade to make the corneal flap prior to the laser vision correction surgery
- Different Fees for Different Lasers
- Because there are different lasers used for to reshape the cornea, you might want to check whether the cost of your surgery changes based on which laser will be used for your surgery- please note that this is separate from the IntraLase or Zeimer laser used in all laser LASIK (bladeless). While there may be price differences between lasers, you should consider whether cost should be a factor when it comes to which laser to use. Ask your LASIK doctor for an explanation of the costs and benefits associated with each laser.
- Facility Fees: While typically included, you may want to check to ensure this is included.
- Staff: While typically included, you may want to check to see if this is included.
- Incidental costs:
- While typically medication, disposable items used for the procedure, surgical gowns, gloves, and the like are included, you may to check. Some nominal fees for prescription and medication after the surgeon is common at many practices.
Find Out If the Fee Includes Follow-Up LASIK Retreatments and Enhancements
Since LASIK involves your eyes, your surgeon may take a conservative approach in performing the procedures. In other words, it better to under correct than overcorrect. When retreatments or enhancements are part of an inclusive LASIK fee, you won’t pay extra if you need a retreatment later. We believe 6 to 12 months is a reasonable time period. In some cases, you may be charged a modest fee, which is usually a fee charged by and paid to the laser manufacturer. When in doubt, ask about the laser eye practices policies so you understand them up front.
Are You a Good Candidate for Monovision?
Patients who are age 40 or older may be candidates for monovision, where one eye is corrected for distance vision and the other eye for near vision to reduce the need for reading glasses. If you have good natural distance vision you may be able to have only one eye corrected for reading. If you are only slightly nearsighted, you may have only one eye corrected for distance and leave the other eye for reading. In each of these circumstances, only one eye requires surgery. This option is generally not available to most LASIK candidates, but if you are one of them, it may be a less expensive and better option. Because the experts listed in our Trusted LASIK Surgeons Directory are experienced and generally involved in current research in the field of refractive eye surgery, they can help you determine if monovision is an appropriate option for your vision.
Highly Qualified Surgeons Can Help Avoid Complications Which Can Cost You Later
While many of the complications from LASIK have been minimized, no surgery is without risk. There is no greater cost regarding LASIK than if your procedure does not go as planned and you have complications. When that happens, you may find yourself looking for another surgeon to help manage problems. All of the LASIK Surgeons in the Trusted LASIK Surgeons Directory have actual experience in managing problems due to a surgery performed by another eye doctor. This means they have the practicable experience and knowledge to help avoid serious complications in the first place. In addition, these surgeons are often sought as expert witnesses in legal cases when there are significant complications because of their research, knowledge, and expertise in the field of refractive surgery.
Even the most qualified doctor has had a few patients who suffer from complications. A true LASIK expert surgeon can help minimize potential complications, and in those rare cases where there are problems, the patient can have the confidence that this surgeon has the competence and experience to help manage those complications. Patients who choose a less qualified surgeon and later have problems often have to incur significant expenses in hiring a new surgeon who has the expertise to treat them. Most LASIK procedures lead to successful outcomes without complications, but why take unnecessary risks by choosing a less qualified surgeon?
Initial Consultation: Free or Fee
Many practices offer free initial screening consultations. Because there is no guarantee that the person who comes into the office for a consultation will become a patient, some laser eye centers do charge a fee. If your research of the surgeon shows that he or she is highly qualified, that should not dissuade you from seeing them. Their time is valuable. A surgeon who charges a consultation fee may be less likely to push for LASIK surgery than one who does not charge one. Many (if not most) of those practices that do charge a consultation fee will apply it to your LASIK (or other refractive surgery) fee. In those cases, we recommend that you have to verify or ask that the consultation fee to be applied to any surgery performed by that practice.
Does Your Health Insurance Plan Cover LASIK?
While most health insurers do not cover LASIK, it never hurts to ask, since even partial coverage can save you money.
Here's a tip: If your health insurance covers some LASIK providers, but not others, and you choose to go to another LASIK provider who is not part of your health plans network, ask the practice if they will offer a discount to offset the partial coverage from your health plans provider. Other health plans have discount offers for certain LASIK providers in your network. If you have a health plan that offers discounts for LASIK providers and are considering a surgeon outside of your network, ask that surgeon if they will honor the discount.
How To Give Yourself a Discount on LASIK
Two options that can help you give yourself a discount on LASIK (or any medical expenses) are Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts, which can save you money since contributions are not subject to payroll taxes. In other words, by making tax-fee contributions, you are getting the tax savings as your discount on LASIK.
For further details, please read the discussion below.
Health Savings Accounts (HSA)
A health savings account (HSA) is a tax-exempt trust or custodial medical savings account that you set up with a qualified HSA trustee to pay or reimburse certain medical expenses you incur. You must be an eligible individual to qualify for an HAS and be enrolled in a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP), which currently means a deductible of over $1,100 for individuals and $2,200 for a family. HSA contributions are limited during a calendar year to $5,600 for an individual and $11,200 for a family. However, unlike Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) below, you can roll over any unused amounts during the year to use in the future. Another significant benefit is that any funds you do not use accrue tax fee interest, so the amount of funds in your account can grow over time. Funds from an HSA may be used to pay for certain qualified medical expenses at any time without federal tax liability.
If you are interested in setting up an HSA, we suggest you first check with your employer’s human resources department or your health care plan provider to see if you have or can switch to a High Deductible Health Plan. You may want to ask your health care provider is they also have HSA plans. You can also find many companies that provide HSA's on the internet.
For more information about Health Savings Accounts (HSA), please visit:
- U.S. Treasury- Health Savings Accounts
- IRS - Health Savings Accounts
- Wikipedia - Health Savings Accounts
Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
A Flexible Spending Account is a health flexible spending arrangement (FSA) that allows employees to be reimbursed for medical expenses. FSA's are usually funded through voluntary salary reduction agreements with your employer. No employment or federal income taxes are deducted from your contribution. The employer may also contribute. Among the primary benefits of an FSA include (1) tax savings, since employment and federal income taxes are not deducting from contributions to an FSA and (2) withdrawals from the FDA may be tax free for payment of qualified medical expenses. One drawback of an FSA is that the amounts you have contributed during the current year must be used during the coverage period of your health plan or the amount of contributions not used will be forfeited. For example, if the coverage period runs from January 1 to June 30, you would generally have to use the contributions within that time frame (which may include a grace period beyond that time). Please consult an FSA provider for further details.
For more information about Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), please visit:
Is Your LASIK Fee Tax Deductible?
Depending on your filing status, the cost of your LASIK may be a deductible expense from your taxes. You might also be able to fund fully or partially fund the cost of LASIK with a tax refund. You should check with a certified tax prepare to see if you may qualify.
LASIK Price and Cost Summary
When it comes to the cost of LASIK, knowing what is included and what may be charged extra are important considerations. This can be especially true with any discount LASIK ads.
In our opinion, since blades or (all-laser LASIK) using the IntraLase or Zeimer femtosecond laser) and Wavefront (custom LASIK) technologies can generally improve the outcome of your LASIK procedure, you may not want to make the cost of the use of these technologies an issue if your LASIK surgeon recommends their use.
If cost is a significant issue for you, we believe the best course of action is assume Bladeless and Wavefront technologies will be used and get an estimate of the cost of LASIK which includes Bladeless (All Laser LASIK) and Wavefront before you go into the office.
You should also understand whether there are additional charges for the initial consultation (and if so, whether it will be applied to the procedure), re-treatments, amount and top of correction (like astigmatism), post-operative visits, and any other additional costs.
Now that you have a better understanding of the components of LASIK fees, we hope you can make an informed decision.
We realize price is a factor in your selection of a LASIK surgeon. Quality and experience are important concerns in selecting your doctor as well. We hope you will consider a LASIK expert from our Trusted LASIK Surgeons Directory.
Our Trusted LASIK Surgeons web site is dedicated to listing only highly qualified eye surgeons who have professional accomplishments that generally surpass those of other LASIK doctors you are considering. We estimate that many of the refractive experts in our directory are among the top 1% based on their experience, patient care, and professional credentials. Our surgeons are among the pioneers and leaders in refractive eye surgery to improve your vision.
Most laser eye surgeons featured at Trusted LASIK Surgeons work with you to help you finance your procedure, and many offer 0% financing or no money down financing for LASIK surgery through third parties such as Care Credit or Chase.
You not only will be treated by a highly qualified LASIK expert, but we believe that the fees charged by these laser eye surgeons are well within the range with other practices you are considering. In other words, we believe you can get the best of both worlds for your eyes (expertise and reasonable fees) when you choose a surgeon from the Trusted LASIK Surgeons Directory.
Yours Free, Courtesy of Trusted LASIK Surgeons
Additional Resources on the Cost of LASIK
Another resource recommended by Trusted LASIK Surgeons is an article entitled “Is Lasik Laser Eye Surgery Right For You and Your Budget?”
-Savings Experiment blog at Wallet Pop
This article discusses LASIK surgery, the importance of finding an experienced LASIK surgeon and how to find one and compares the cost of LASIK to the long-term costs of eyeglasses and contact lenses. This resource also features a very helpful video illustrating LASIK surgery, its benefits, and cost comparisons between LASIK eye surgery and contact lenses and eye glasses over time. About.com also has a useful discussion entitled “How Much Does LASIK Cost?” as well as other useful articles on vision correction
To find a vision correction expert surgeon who has qualified to be listed at Trusted LASIK surgeons in another area, please visit:
The screening process and standards used by Trusted LASIK Surgeons™ can be found at: