One of the questions any LASIK eye surgeon is bound to get is “How much does LASIK cost?” You may be shocked to know that LASIK and vision correction prices nationwide span a broad range from $250 per eye to $9,000 per eye. Why the huge gap?
If the surgeon or their LASIK facility only performs one type of procedure, the answer will be a simple, one-size-fits-all price. If on the other hand the surgeon has the advanced technology, training and expertise to perform LASIK plus all six modern vision correction surgeries, then the answer to the LASIK cost question is “it depends.”
What would you expect to learn if you called a car dealership and asked, “What does a car cost?” Unless they only sell one year, make and model, there is no single answer. Once options and various levels of quality enter the equation, the price range widens. So, “How much is LASIK,” you ask? That depends on many things.
- Does where you live affect the cost of LASIK?
- LASIK costs more with an experienced practitioner and staff
- Do Advanced technologies cost more?
- Is Wavefront LASIK more expensive?
- Does All-Laser Bladeless LASIK cost more?
- How can I pay for LASIK eye surgery?
- Will my insurance cover the cost of laser eye surgery?
- Can I use a Medical Savings Account for LASIK?
- Is LASIK Tax Deductible?
Does where you live affect the cost of LASIK?
LASIK surgery costs can naturally vary between LASIK centers so the owner/operator can price surgeries competitively and still keep the lights on. Where that business is located in the country weighs heavily on a business owner’s cost and subsequently drives eye surgery cost. Practices in densely populated metropolitan areas like Los Angeles and New York City – where housing, food, utilities and even taxes are higher – will charge far more for laser eye surgery than a practice in a small town where these things are more affordable.
That said, we recommend against bargain shopping when it comes to something as important as your eye health. Consider a provider’s experience, equipment, training and breadth of service above cost. You’ll usually find the price of LASIK corresponds directly with the quality of care.
LASIK costs more with an experienced practitioner and staff
The more qualified the eye surgeon is, the more expensive the vision correction procedure will be – and the safer it will be! Vision correction practices that invest in ongoing training for surgeons and other medical staff will naturally have higher costs involved with providing top-notch treatment. When an advertised price for laser vision correction seems artificially low, it’s possible there is not as much overhead investment in hiring, training, retaining and developing skilled medical staff professionally.
The amount of time and resources your surgeon spends on your treatment before, during and after laser eye surgery also factor into the cost. Some providers cut their costs by having sales staff lead the exam flow, rather than a medical technician or surgeon. They may also hire “independent” or visiting temp surgeons to perform procedures, meaning you may not meet your surgeon until just before your surgery. That saves money but compromises the quality of care.
As the only full-time practice in the state of Missouri to offer LASIK plus all six modern variations, Brinton Vision’s investment in laser equipment, diagnostics, full-time doctors and surgical technicians costs more than some providers charge – but patients looking for the best LASIK in St. Louis repeatedly tell us they chose us for this reason.
Advanced technologies cost more
A LASIK center’s investment in advanced diagnostic and surgical technologies will affect the price of LASIK. For example, a LASIK center offering only LASIK and PRK can realistically charge less than $2,000 per eye because they may only examine the cornea and only provide two treatment options. This means they invest less in technology and can charge less. That practice may reduce the procedure cost, only to recover it through less expensive, bare-bones technology and high sales volume.
At Brinton Vision we provide every patient with a thorough Brinton Vision Ocular Analysis (BVOA). During this 90-minute examination, we use nine sophisticated diagnostic machines to measure the entire eye in 3D from the front of the cornea to the back of the retina.
Yes, but worth it. Custom Wavefront LASIK treatment has been a game-changing breakthrough in vision correction. The technology consists of a sensor and laser that work together to deliver extremely precise treatment to the eye. Wavefront excels at providing patients with improved visual acuity, as well as better perception of detail and contrast. Studies have shown it reduces the risk of nighttime halos, glare and other post-LASIK complications.
Does Bladeless LASIK cost more?
Bladeless LASIK utilizes a highly advanced laser technology known as the femtosecond laser. This type of LASIK surgery is different in that the flap created in the cornea during this procedure is made with a laser rather than a manual blade. The technology costs more but studies have shown it can come with fewer complications and risks than manual blades. The extremely high speed of the femtosecond laser allows the surgeon to target corneal tissue on a molecular level without damage to surrounding tissue, resulting in more precise treatment, painless surgery and more comfortable healing.
We can’t speak for other laser eye surgery centers, but our own procedures range in price from $2,200 to $8,200 per eye. Some patients may only need surgery to one eye, while others may have special considerations that result in additional treatment expenses. Brinton Vision’s average treatment, with flexible payment options, runs $152/Month for both eyes.
What LASIK centers may not tell you about the hidden costs of cheap LASIK
When offering a consultation that is “free,” a practice will need to either cut back expenses or generate extra revenue to compensate for not charging for the exam. That most likely means no time with your surgeon; less time overall; less investment in technology, staff, professional development and training; and increased pressure on the staff to sell the surgery to recoup the cost of the exam.
If the eye center stays true to their low advertised price (there could be a bait-and-switch involved with artificially cheap LASIK eye surgery), make sure you have a full understanding of what overhead expenses that center cut to make a $2,000 surgery on your eyes financially viable. Did they cut back on equipment? Training? Staff? Treatment options? Every cut represents a risk.
At Brinton Vision, we do charge $120 for our eye exams for good reason. A paid exam means we’ll never skimp on the time and expertise we believe every patient deserves. The exam and consultation cover an in-person evaluation with an MD who is a medical and surgical expert in LASIK eye surgery. Separating the examination fee from the surgical fee removes any pressure on the staff to make a sale.
We will always be fair and transparent about our laser surgery pricing, and will never recommend a procedure you don’t need.
Remember, when you choose a LASIK surgeon, you are not only paying for the moment the laser is pointed at your eye. You are also paying for thorough diagnosis, the experience of the physician, safe and modern technology, and the time your surgeon will spend with you determining which laser vision correction procedure is most appropriate for you. At Brinton Vision, your LASIK cost also covers before- and after-care by your surgeon, not just their assistants.
Will my insurance cover the cost of laser eye surgery?
We wish we had the option to accept insurance payments, but LASIK is considered by insurance companies to be elective — even though laser eye surgery is life-changing for our patients, and sometimes even necessary to improve their quality of life. Insurance companies do not cover LASIK or any of the six other vision correction procedures we do.
How can I pay for LASIK eye surgery?
Most LASIK surgery centers in St. Louis will take all standard forms of payment (cash, check and credit card). Brinton Vision will also work with your Health Savings Account (HSA), Flexible Spending Account (FSA), Heath Reimbursement Account (HRA) and Medical Savings Account (MSA), as well as multiple financing companies to offer monthly payment options that will fit most budgets.
Monthly Payment Options
Our most popular options are:
- 0 Down Payment & 0% for 24 Months
- 0 Down Payment & Low Monthly Payments with Fixed Interest Rate for 60 months
Our staff can provide details upon request.
Can I use a Medical Savings Account for LASIK?
Many businesses offer their employees a Flexible Spending Account or Health Savings Account (FSA or HSA) to cover copays and out-of-pocket health and medical expenses. Vision correction procedures such as LASIK are approved for 2020 under most of these plans. You can put up to $2,750 annually into an FSA, tax free, and $7,100 per family into an HSA.
Is LASIK Tax Deductible?
The IRS considers vision correction surgery an IRS qualified, tax-deductible medical expense. This ruling may give you an additional income tax deduction if you have a procedure performed. Consult your tax advisor for details.
At Brinton Vision, our fees are all-inclusive, transparent and affordable. Want to learn more about the affordability of LASIK? Start with a thorough Brinton Vision Ocular Analysis to see if you’re a candidate; we can help you with payment and financing options. Call 314.375.2020.
See the next LASIK FAQ article in the series: How Long Does LASIK Last?