Should I Get $250 or $299 Per Eye LASIK?

Should I Get $250 or $299 Per Eye LASIK?

May 5, 2023

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Many consumers are attracted to discount LASIK eye surgery when they see advertisements that feature phrases like “cheap LASIK” or “LASIK for $250 per eye.”

What Is the Real Cost of LASIK in 2023?

What Is the Real Cost of LASIK in 2023?

The cost of cheap LASIK doesn’t factor in inferior technology and lack of experience, and you'll soon realize that the true cost of LASIK is likely much higher than those cheap advertisements that you're seeing.

Where you're going to have surgery is an important question that will factor into the LASIK true cost. 

For example, the cost of LASIK in Chicago might not be the same as getting it in a smaller, rural city. 

In Chicago, you can expect to pay anywhere from $2,200 per eye to $3,200 per eye depending on several factors. Asking the necessary questions during your initial consultation will give you a well-rounded idea of who is doing your vision correction surgery, and what is included in the cost of the procedure.

Is Cheap LASIK Safe?

Cheap LASIK eye surgery exists because there are always patients who are willing to sacrifice safety, and experience to save money. You'll want to consider: is cheap LASIK worth it? 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 and often offer a LASIK procedure that isn't of the same quality that you will get at more reputable clinics.

Once there, your LASIK consultant 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? If you have to wonder whether LASIK for $250 per eye is legitimate, you already have your answer about whether or not to go through with  discounted laser eye surgery.

Using words like “starting at” or “must qualify for” can many times get lost on a consumer when it comes to the LASIK eye surgery cost.

 In reality, a low LASIK cost will end up costing you more in the long run as you are sacrificing your safety and the health of your long-term vision. It's important to find an eye doctor that you can trust.

It's important to outline the costs that doctors incur to help maintain and run their practices. Here are some of the costs that you don't see behind your laser eye surgery procedure:

  • Paying office and surgical staff;
  • Laser eye surgery manufacturing fees or royalties;
  • Marketing costs;
  • Surgical wear such as caps, gowns, and gloves in addition to the disposal of products used during the procedure;
  • Office equipment;
  • The facility fee or office lease;
  • Pre-op visits;
  • Follow up appointments;
  • Retreatment in the case that another surgery is needed;
  • Insurance such as medical malpractice, workers comp, and other liability insurance;
  • Permits, licenses, taxes.

As you can see, beyond medical expenses, there is a lot to consider and many factors affect how much eye surgeons will charge for LASIK. Many practices use low LASIK costs to get you in the door only to add extra costs once you decide to have the procedure. 

Why Is Some LASIK so Cheap?

Why Is Some LASIK So Cheap?

Advertising Techniques

If you see LASIK that is offered at a price that seems too good to be true, it is likely solely due to savvy advertising and marketing. Many doctors like to advertise cheap LASIK prices only to pull a bait-and-switch tactic once they get you in the door. In reality, the price of the procedure ends up being significantly more than what was advertised. Always be sure to read the fine print and gain a full understanding of what is and is not included in the procedure.

Price Not Valid for Most Prescriptions

Other tactics behind cheap LASIK are the small number of prescriptions that the doctor is willing to improve at the advertised rate. If you suffer from poor eyesight and your prescription is at a certain level, you likely won’t be able to take advantage of the affordable price that the doctor is advertising.

Doctor Experience

The experience of your surgeon will undoubtedly factor into the overall cost of your LASIK procedure. If your surgeon is just starting in his or her career and hasn’t built up a ton of credibility, they may not charge the same amount as an experienced doctor. Access to technology and the particular techniques that are used during the procedure will also impact the price. 

Hidden Fees

Beyond the actual surgery, you can expect to incur various hidden fees that impact the price of the procedure. Even though the costs add up from a doctor’s perspective, it’s important that they convey what is and is not included in the overall price.

Here are some examples of other charges that are likely factored into the price that you pay:

  • Marketing costs;
  • Surgeon fees;
  • Initial examination and consultation;
  • Follow-up visits;
  • Office and surgical staff;
  • Surgical outwear such as caps, gowns, gloves, and disposal products;
  • Medications;
  • Laser manufacturing fees and royalties;
  • Office lease or facility fee;
  • Retreatment if future procedures are necessary;
  • Permits, taxes, and licenses at the local, state, and federal levels.

The above costs illustrate that it’s impractical (and nearly impossible) for practices to provide every patient with the affordable flat fee they advertise. This approach is typically a way to pique your interest and convince you that you’re making the right decision by choosing that particular practice.

Older Technologies

As we briefly touched on above, older LASIK technologies can also impact the overall LASIK price. If your doctor doesn’t have access to new and innovative technologies such as bladeless LASIK, the price of the procedure might not be as high as one that offers more cutting-edge technology. 

Success Rates

The more successful each surgery is, the more credibility your doctor gains. In addition, you might need to undergo another procedure to help correct a surgery that isn’t completely successful. These additional costs can add a significant amount to the otherwise “affordable” rate that was advertised to you initially.

Lack of Personalized Care

Most experienced surgeons have an excellent bedside manner and can answer your questions throughout the entire process of deciding to undergo the LASIK procedure. If you opt for $299 LASIK or $500 LASIK eye surgery, don't be surprised if you just feel like a number. Many of these doctors that offer a discounted price for surgery try to get through as many appointments in one day as possible, valuing quantity over quality. The appointment and follow-up visits could feel rushed. Some surgeons don't even live in the area, so there's a chance that your LASIK involves only seeing the surgeon on the day of surgery. 

What Should Be Included in the LASIK Price?

What Should Be Included in the LASIK Price?

As you can see, the real cost of LASIK surgery covers many different aspects, but what exactly can you expect from the procedure? Although several factors go into what your surgery may or may not include, here is a general idea of what's included in the price.

  • Office visits: Both office visits before and after your LASIK surgery should be factored into the overall cost;
  • Any additional technologies used: There are different types of LASIK including all laser, bladeless LASIK, wavefront technology, or "custom" surgery. Make sure to talk to your board-certified ophthalmologist to determine what specific technology is included to yield the results that you want;
  • Any correction-related charges: Chat about whether you'll need to pay additional costs in case your particular prescription is more expensive to treat;
  • Astigmatism: Did you know that roughly 90% of all laser eye surgery patients need to be corrected for astigmatism in addition to needing correction for hyperopia or myopia? Of course, everyone has a different eye prescription, but you might be taking on more of a financial burden than you originally anticipated if you need to pay extra to address your astigmatism;
  • LASIK retreatments: In some cases, the cost of LASIK doesn't include retreatment, or the need to undergo a second procedure to enhance your outcome. Many surgeons won't charge you for these enhancements within a certain time frame following your procedure;
  • Incidentals: Both surgical materials and medication may or may not come included in the cost of LASIK. Ideally, you won't be charged for the disposal of items such as surgical gowns, gloves, equipment, etc. Be sure to find out if eye drops and prescriptions are included as well;
  • Facility fees: These should always be included but this is something you can discuss during your LASIK consultation. 

How choose a good LASIK clinic should not be driven by the cost alone, and the true cost of LASIK with a reputable surgeon will be worth every penny.

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

Avoid the “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.

Are You Looking for a Discount on LASIK?

The vision benefits of fixing your refractive error and getting LASIK are outlined, but you still might have hesitations about the high cost. Your next thought might be, is LASIK covered by insurance? While your insurance won't cover the surgery, there are health savings account and federal savings account options that you can consider. You can look into these options to see if they cover LASIK before reaching out to your doctor. 

If you're interested in ditching your contact lenses and getting LASIK, make sure to schedule a free LASIK consultation with our team today. 

Know what to look for in a LASIK surgeon and know the important questions to ask to make sure you avoid cheap LASIK and even worse outcomes.

Conclusion

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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