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LASIK Price Differences: Real Cost of Cheap LASIK Eye Surgery

May 19, 2022

Many consumers are attracted to advertisements that feature phrases like “cheap lasik” or “lasik for $250 per eye”. It is important to understand that these sales gimmicks are often misleading and will end up costing you more money than you had expected.

Although everyone loves a sale, you shouldn’t shop around on something as precious as your vision. It’s also important to know that once everything is said and done, the consumer is never paying the advertised price.

What Is The Real Cost of LASIK in 2021?

LASIK eye doctor in Chicago

Is there such a thing as cheap LASIK surgery? In theory, yes. However, is your vision worth saving a couple of extra bucks? The cost of cheap LASIK is going to factor in inferior technology and lack of experience. Places that advertise “$220 per eye for LASIK” are going to try and up-sell you once you’re there. These advertisements generally don’t apply to a vast majority of visually impaired patients. They also don’t include pre and post-operative visits or the use of the most advanced LASER technology.

Where to have surgery is an important question. Some factors you should look at when deciding on who to entrust your vision to are;

Remember the saying “you get what you pay for”. Vision is a precious gift and although it’s normal to go back and forth between expensive vs cheap LASIK, price shouldn’t be your deciding factor. Ask the necessary questions during your initial consultation that give you a well- rounded idea of who is doing your surgery.

Is Cheap LASIK Safe?

Cheap LASIK exists because there are always patients who are willing to sacrifice safety in order to save money. Discount LASIK chains are notorious for the bait and switch tactic. These places are likely to advertise “LASIK eye surgery for $250 per eye” to get you in the door. Once there, they will try to upsell you on better technology or a more experienced surgeon. Low cost LASIK eye surgery is going to come at a cost, and is your safety a price you’re willing to cut corners on?

Why Is Some LASIK So Cheap?

We have gathered for you the most popular reasons why some LASIK have so low price.

Advertising Techniques

Sales gimmicks have been around as long as there’s been a consumer need for a product. Using words like “starting at” or “must qualify for” can many times get lost on a consumer. When you show up for your consultation, you find out that the cost is much more than what was advertised because you don't meet the sale price requirements.

Price Not Valid for Most Prescriptions

If you look closely, you will see that many low price LASIK offers come with qualifying measures. A big qualifier is the level of correction. Most of the cheaper LASIK offers are only valid for a very small percentage of patients who are nearsighted. Once you’re there for your consultation and your prescription is found to be higher than their qualifiers, you will find that the cost of LASIK goes up. Throw in astigmatism or farsightedness, and you quickly discover that the advertised price does not apply to your type of correction.

Doctor Experience

LASIK in Chicago

Cheap LASIK is going to come at a cost. A cost most patients aren’t willing to pay. A surgeon needs experience and sometimes in order to gain experience and build a client base they attract patients by performing surgery at a lower cost. The bigger question to ask instead of why is LASIK expensive is “am I willing to be someone’s test patient”.

Hidden Fees

What’s included in those low priced offers? Not much! Correcting your vision is a process and doesn’t stop once the surgery is complete. It’s important to know what exactly is included in the price you’re paying. Any reputable treatment facility is going to want to conduct a dilated preoperative examination in order to gather all the necessary measurements for your treatment. Post surgery you should be seen for a handful of visits to ensure that your vision is improving and stable. Many low price LASIK facilities don’t include the cost of these visits in what they charge the patient for surgery. These exams are usually an additional out-of-pocket cost for a patient.

Older Technologies

Over the past 3 decades, the level of technology used to perform LASIK surgeries has greatly changed. Blade vs Laser and Standard vs Customized treatments are two examples of how the procedure has advanced. Places that advertise LASIK at an extremely low cost are typically not using the newest, or safest, technology to perform surgeries. While there for your consultation, some providers will then try to upsell you on newer pieces of equipment or software which will directly impact your final cost of surgery.

Success Rates

Nothing is ever guaranteed. No surgeon should ever promise or guarantee that your vision won’t change over time. It’s important though to ask your surgeon what their success rate is and don’t be surprised if places that offer cheap LASIK are having to go back more often to do enhancement procedures. And remember, enhancement procedures, many times, come at an additional charge for a patient.

So How to Choose a Good LASIK Clinic?

After reading this article we hope that the road to clearer vision is, well, clearer! How to choose a good LASIK clinic should not be driven on the cost alone.

Choosing the Right Surgeon

Do your research and ask the right questions! Your vision is a precious gift and not one you should be willing to cut corners on. Find out how long your surgeon has been operating and what their success rate is. Find out if they have been involved in any FDA clinical studies or have published any research relating to LASIK surgery.

Avoid the “Cheap” LASIK Gimmicks

Cheap LASIK Gimmicks

Understand that something too good to be true typically is. Cheap LASIK will always come at a cost and that will either be with the level of technology being used or the level of experience of the surgeon. Hidden fees or qualifying factors will most often leave you paying much more than you expected.

Ask Questions and Do Research

If you see a sales ad too good to be true, find out first what you must do to qualify for that rate. You will most likely find that you don’t qualify for the rate because your level or type of correction doesn’t meet the necessary requirements. Price alone shouldn’t be the motivating factor on where to have your surgery performed. Find out everything you need to know to make the best decision about who and where to have surgery.


Don’t let your poor vision affect choosing the best surgeon! Know what to look for in a LASIK surgeon and know what’s important to ask. Be aware of sales gimmicks and foot-in-the-door tactics that are often misleading and costly in the long run. Go with the surgeon you feel is going to give you the best results based on their experience and the type of technology they use.

When asking yourself “should I get cheap LASIK” the answer should be clear. Low cost LASIK comes with a price. Choose the right surgeon. Ask the right questions. Know what’s included. These questions alone will help you on your journey to seeing a clearer world!

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Dr. Colman R. Kraff

Committed to advancing new technologies in the field of ophthalmology, Dr. Colman Kraff helped to pioneer laser vision correction. In February of 1991, as part of a five-site, U.S., FDA clinical trial team, Dr. Kraff successfully performed the first excimer laser procedures in the Chicagoland area using the VISX Excimer Laser.

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