LASIK Surgery

Many factors affect the cost of LASIK such as the choice of surgeon, equipment and technology used, your vision prescription, location, and what fees are included. 

LASER EYE SURGERY QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

What vision problems can be treated with LASIK?

LASIK is used to treat myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism (distorted vision).

What are the age requirements for LASIK?

In most cases, a individual must be at least 21 years of age to have LASIK. Many surgeons will recommend waiting even a few more years. This is because vision should be stable for at least a year before surgery, and vision does not often stabilize until the mid-twenties.

Vision Correction Surgery by Gender in 2005

Vision Correction Surgery by Gender
Source: VisionWatch (Jobson Medical Information LLC and Vision Council of America)

Is LASIK safe?

LASIK is considered a relatively safe type of eye surgery, however, any medical procedure involves some degree of risk. Since this is an elective procedure, make sure you have realistic expectations and understand the risks before receiving treatment. Overall, millions of people have had LASIK; the majority of patients are satisfied with the outcome and did not experience any serious complications, but some patients do experience problems. Approximately 3% to 5% of the patients experience minor difficulties, such as dry eye and nighttime glare. Less than 1% of LASIK patients experience serious eye complications, such as decreased vision. There are no reported cases of blindness from the procedure.

How do I qualify for LASIK?

Patients must be screened to determine whether or not they are a good LASIK candidate. The LASIK surgeon will examine your eyes and review your medical history to make sure you have healthy eyes, stable vision, and overall good health.

What health conditions may prevent me from getting LASIK?

Certain health conditions may impact healing or affect results, including glaucoma, infection, cataracts, severe dry eye, degenerative diseases, and autoimmune diseases, which make you an undesirable LASIK candidate. Don’t let this keep you from consulting with an eye surgeon, however, in order for a qualified eye surgeon to make the proper evaluation. Also, other laser eye surgery options are available which may be a more suitable procedure.

Can I have LASIK while pregnant?

Women who are pregnant or nursing should not have LASIK. The hormonal changes during this time affects the shape of the eye. It will be necessary to wait until hormone levels return to normal and vision stabilizes.

What is the difference between Conventional LASIK and Wavefront LASIK?

Conventional LASIK, the original method of correction, removes a consistent amount of tissue from the eye based on eye prescription. Wavefront LASIK is a newer technology which customizes treatment based on 3-dimensional measurements of the eye. It maps the eye to determine exactly where and how much tissue needs to be removed to best correct the refractive error. While two people can have the same eye prescription, no two people have the same Wavefront eye measurement. In most cases, the customized treatment of Wavefront results in better outcomes.

What is Intralase?

IntraLase is technology that uses a laser beam to cut the corneal flap. The IntraLase laser replaces the microkeratome blade, thus it is often referred to as blade-free LASIK. It can be used to cut the corneal flap with either conventional or custom LASIK. While the microkeratome is still an effective and widely used method, some surgeons believe the IntraLase improves precision and visual results.

What does LASIK cost?

The cost of LASIK varies based on many factors, including: surgeon experience and expertise, geographic region, equipment quality, vision prescription, type of procedures being performed, pricing structure, as well as time and level of care given to each patient. While cost is an important factor, it is important to be wary of prices that seem too good to be true. Often, you get what you pay for and your eyes deserve the best treatment.

Generally, advertised LASIK prices range from under $1,000 to over $3000 per eye, with a national average of $1,662 per eye in 2008 for conventional LASIK. Wavefront technology adds about $200 to $500 per eye. IntraLase adds about $250 to $500 per eye.

Does insurance cover LASIK?

Most insurance companies do not cover LASIK or other types of laser eye surgery.

What are my payment options?

Most surgeons will require payment at the time of surgery, however, medical financing is available to help pay for the procedure if needed. If you qualify for financing, you will be able to make payments over time to the loan company. Most surgeons will be able to provide you with a referral, but if not, you can find many options by searching online for patient financing.

Does LASIK hurt?

LASIK is generally not painful, as anesthetic numbing drops are put into the eye before surgery so you won’t feel pain during the procedure. Some patients may experience mild discomfort from the instrument which holds your eye still during the procedure. During healing, the eye may feel itchy as if there is sand in the eye, but avoid rubbing you don’t dislodge the corneal flap. Artificial tears can help soothe the itchy, dry eye feeling. Most times, if pain relief is necessary, standard over the counter medication is adequate, but the doctor can prescribe medication if necessary.