19 Mar LASIK Treatment Cost
Cost of the Procedure
One of the biggest determinants of the LASIK treatment cost of the procedure is the method of flap creation—laser vs. the razor. When laser eye surgery first started all LASIK flaps where created with the mechanical microkeratome (the razor). In this method, a small oscillating razor travels across your cornea on a gear track to create the flap. Later a femtosecond laser was invented to create the flap (the laser), which allowed thinner, more consistent flaps with stronger edges. Using the laser to create the flap is called “Bladeless LASIK.” The later generation femtosecond lasers, like the IFS, allow a tongue in groove type pattern which makes the edges even stronger than the older 60 hz lasers. They also allow faster treatments with a smoother laser bed quality than the older lasers. All this adds up to some specific advantages for the latest generation bladeless laser flaps and the even older razor created flaps. The lasers cost more to use than the razor, which increases the final LASIK treatment cost.
The second determinant of the eye procedure price is the quality of the equipment used by the surgeon. Older used equipment costs less than the best newer advancements in technology.
You wouldn’t think of using a computer model that came out 12 years ago, but many discount centers pick up used equipment and offer laser vision correction with technology that hasn’t been updated much for 12 years. The higher quality centers buy the most advanced equipment and the sell their older technology in the open market to the discount centers. This commitment to providing your best possible outcome at the highest levels of safety affects the LASIK treatment cost. We now perform most of our cases with the EX 500 Allegretto laser.
The final determinants of the LASIK treatment cost are the quality of service you receive and the reputation of your surgeon. Higher quality service costs more and surgeons that are more sought after charge a bit more than those with extra time on their hands. If a surgeon’s reputation is well earned, then there is value in the extra expense and patients seek them out.
Cost of Quality Service and Experience
The quality of the service you receive, the professionalism and experience of the staff, and the serenity of your eye correction experience all matter. Surgery is already stressful enough without adding chaos from a less prepared or less caring and attentive staff. You will gain a quick understanding of how potential centers rank in this regard by just stepping inside their front door. Their commitment to service will be quickly revealed. Excellence is not an accident.
Time Off Work for LASIK
You will miss some time off work for LASIK for your consultation and then again for your preoperative visit. In a consult, you find out if you are a good candidate and then schedule at time for your preoperative appointment and surgery. You then go out of your contact lenses and then return another day for the preoperative visit where the actual measurements for surgery are taken and you review all of the paperwork. If you want to minimize the time off work fo LASIK, you could arrange for your first visit to be your preoperative visit. This would require that you had already gone out of your contact lenses the appropriate amount of time ahead of that exam so that you could accomplish all of the measurements in one trip.
You miss additional time from work for the day of surgery and then for the postoperative exams. Some take the day after surgery off while others have jobs that will allow them to work the day after surgery. All of this time off has a cost, whether it is missed hours, missed productivity, or personal days used.
The Cost of Eye Drops for LASIK Treatment
The cost of eye drops for LASIK eye treatment has become less predictable the past two years. If you have medical insurance, most are able to submit the prescriptions through their pharmacy coverage plan. If you don’t have medical insurance, we usually have coupons for the more expensive drops to bring the price down to around 35.00 each. Ask you eye doctor if they have these available for you.
Usually, you will need to purchase an antibiotic eye drop, an anti-inflammatory eye drop, and a relaxing pill for the surgery. Patients with a normal amount of dry eye will usually only need to purchase some additional artificial tears while those with more dry eye will often also fill a prescription for Restasis to increase eye moisture. There are discount cards currently available to help for the Restasis also.
If you arrive at the pharmacy and the eye drops are significantly more than you would have expected, it is probably worth calling the eye center to see if they any other options before you make the purchase. I recently had a patient casually mention that one box of eye drops he had purchased for his surgery cost 600.00! That is so far outside the norm. We would have found a way to help him get those some other way for a small fraction of that amount or potentially tried a different product first.
How to Choose an Eye Treatment Center
It is probably important to bring up the cost of bad LASIK. When it is time for your vision correction, it is wise to search for a good value, but not advisable to settle for a “bargain.” The discount centers often advertise a ridiculously low price to get you in the door, then they begin to offer features that you really should want until they arrive at a price much higher. I would recommend determining which centers have the highest quality, service, safety, experience, equipment, and surgeon in your region and then compare prices from those few that meet the highest standards.
You want the best laser eye center in your region!
Ask your primary care physician and several different eye doctors who are the best eye surgeons. Then ask your friends which of those few treat their patients with the most respect and compassion and you will start to narrow the field quickly. Then visit your favorite one or two and you will sense a much better fit with one of them. That is where you will find the best care for your eyes at a fair value for the cost of LASIK treatment you invest.
If I can provide more information, please schedule a time to meet with me at my office or post a comment.