It helps to know what you may be paying several thousand dollars for instead of trusting a random person to perform eye-changing surgery on you. That surgery, called Lasik, has been successfully performed on thousands of people who attest to its many benefits.
First, for the technical stuff. LASIK stands for Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis. The In Situ is Latin for “in place” meaning they don’t take out your eyeball. Seriously. The keratomileusis part is simply reshaping your cornea, the clear covering of your eye that gets wet when you cry. The change is permanent, so you need to spend the time to learn about everything before you give the eye surgeon the green light.
Using what amounts to a tiny blade, they cut a flap in your cornea, fold it back, then use a laser to vaporize a specific section that will correct your vision and eliminate the need for wearing eyeglasses of any type. The price for this procedure ranges between $1500 and $3000 per eye.
But that is the cost for the procedure itself, as advertised. There are different lasers that can be used, so you will end up on the higher end of the range simply because the laser needed for your particular situation is more expensive. But there are many costs that go along with the laser procedure that you have to make sure are included, both now and in the future.
For example, you may pay more just for the initial consult, as there are many questions to be asked and answered about your specific eye condition that will determine the future course of action. If you think that Lasik is a one-and-done procedure, chances are that is not likely to be the case. In most cases you will be scheduled for at least one follow up visit.
All the possible extra expenses that are included in a single Lasik treatment cannot be listed here, but here are some of the major costs you need to check that are included in your price:
- Pre-Op and Post-Op visits.
- Supplementary Technology to LASIK. In everyday language, the computer that controls the Lasik procedure is made from a number of manufacturers, each licensing their part of the machine. Everyone will get paid, and that cost is passed on to you.
- Whether WaveFront, All-Laser LASIK, or bladeless LASIK technology is used in the surgery. You might find two different types of lasers are used for your particular condition, potentially doubling the advertised cost.
- Use of the facility where your Lasik surgery is performed. You rent a car for a specific purpose, and doctors rent space for Lasik.
- Healthcare professionals who will be assisting with the procedure. The surgeon will not be alone, so ask how many paid people will be included in the performance of the surgery.
- Aftercare costs. Infection is the number one concern for doctors when performing virtually any type of surgery, so you should expect at least one prescription expense in addition to your total cost.
You may hear the phrase “nominal cost” used to describe some of these expenses, so what you need to understand is that nominal is relative to the total price you pay. What’s an extra $20 when you’re committed to spending more than $2000? It’s nominal.
This short list deals with the more common add-in expenses that you need to check on. Then there is the possibility of a second visit to perform what the Lasik people call “enhancements.” What this means is that the surgeon may not be 100% sure of the best way to treat your eye condition with Lasik, so they will perform an initial surgery, then ask that you come back later if adjustments are needed. Though this seems like just another way to charge you more, it is critical you remember that the surgery cannot be reversed. Undercorrection is far better than overcorrection.
The bottom line is that you need to read the fine print before moving forward with the procedure, which seems like an oxymoron. Whether you trust your doctor to give you all the financial details is a personal decision, but chances are they don’t know everything about it themselves. You can never ask too many questions, and if you don’t get the answers you want, stop and regroup until you find out exactly what the final and future costs of the surgery will be.
Lasik has become somewhat popular as an alternative to eyewear, whether it is reading glasses or prescription lenses. Just be sure it doesn’t break your budget or your bank accounts.