How to Save Money On LASIK Vision Correction

LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) is a popular surgical procedure on the eyes that corrects a person’s vision, without the need to wear corrective lenses. It has been in use since 1999 and has made advances in safety and results since then.

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For most people, the desire and motivation to get LASIK surgery is to get rid of their glasses or contact lenses. The convenience and benefits of not needing corrective lenses anymore has made LASIK a big business in the medical industry. However, there is often an economic benefit as well. Studies have shown that most LASIK patients recover the cost of the procedure in about eight years, due to not needing to buy and use corrective lenses anymore.

That being said, LASIK is an expensive procedure. The average cost is about $2,000 per each eye and this price point has held steady for many years now. There are some ways to reduce the costs involved with LASIK, as discussed below. However, in all circumstances, you should only consult and use a duly licensed and LASIK experienced ophthalmologist (M.D.)

Types of Procedures

There are three different methods of LASIK surgical procedure available. The original and oldest of them is called Conventional LASIK / Microkeratome and also is the least expensive of the three. The cost of this procedure can be around $1,000 per eye. This type of LASIK involves:

• A flap in the eye’s cornea is made with a handheld surgical blade known as microkeratome
• The cornea is reshaped with a standard laser (versus a more modern, sophisticated one)
• There are often few or no follow-up visits or post-operative adjustments

Conventional LASIK is usually very effective, but it also has the greatest incidence of complications and problems. The two more modern and expensive types of LASIK (All-laser Wavefront and Contoura) have greatly enhanced results while also lowering problems and complications.

Location of the Medical Practice

Practices that are located in busy and higher income cities have more overhead expenses, just like any other business. Their rent, cost of employees, insurance and related business expenses are high, and this is reflected in the fees they charge, including for LASIK. The converse is true, the lower the expenses the lower the fees can be. Therefore, it might pay to travel to another location to get LASIK in order to save on your cost.

Level of Vision Correction Needed

There are some LASIK providers that will charge a lower price for less severe eye corrections. In other words, if your vision problem is only slight and simple, you might be able to get LASIK for under $1,000 per eye. This will not apply if you have conditions such as astigmatism or other vision abnormalities.

Type and Reputation of the Medical Practice

As with other types of businesses, high volume usually results in lower costs and thus lower prices. There are LASIK clinics that perform a larger number of procedures and in a quicker time frame than smaller practices, and often can charge lower fees. Also, practices that are newer and not very established yet often will charge lower fees.

Health Insurance

Other than some larger group health plans, medical insurance does not cover LASIK surgery, as it is considered an elective procedure. However, some health insurance will cover at least part of the costs related to LASIK, such as eye drops and other medications and follow-up eye exams. If your LASIK provider agrees to this, they should be able to lower their fee.

A novel way to get lower fees, is to arrange a “group discount” with a LASIK provider. If you arrange to bring in your friends from work or from a community or religious group, the fee for you and your associates can have a group rate discount.

Tax Benefits and Financing

The following are ways that can help you pay for LASIK:

– Health Savings Account (HSA): This is a special type of savings account similar to an IRA. The IRS will allow you to take a portion of your income and set it aside for medical expenses. This money is free from taxation, and you can usually save enough money with a HSA to pay for LAISIK in about two years’ time.

– Tax Deduction: In certain circumstances, the costs of your LASIK procedure can be tax deductible. This might be the case if the nature of your job makes it very difficult or even impossible to wear corrective lenses. Of course, you will need to consult your tax professional regarding this.

– Financing: Many LASIK providers offer financing of the fees incurred. Often, they offer financing with no down payment and no interest with payments over two years. Some providers offer longer term financing with a modest interest charge.