The Cost Of Laser Eye Surgery Might Be Less Than You Think

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Globally, 1 billion people suffer from vision impairment that could have been prevented or is yet to be addressed [1]. Of this 1 billion, 123.7 million have refractive errors, such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. Luckily though, laser eye treatment has come a long way, and you may be amazed at the options for it that are available in your area!

A person with blue eyes covering their mouth with their sweater.

In the United States, it is estimated that 8 million adults over 40 have uncorrected eye refraction issues [2]. Besides, about 30% of the population is myopic [3] in Canada and 1 in 3 people in the UK [4].

If untreated, refractive vision errors may at least cause discomfort, while severe cases may lead to blindness. But fortunately, mild refractive disorders can be treated with laser eye surgery. At much lower costs than you may be expecting, as a matter of fact!

How Much Does Laser Eye Surgery Cost?

Laser eye surgery is generally synonymous with LASIK – laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis. There are many other methods – such as PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) or LASEK (laser-assisted subepithelial keratectomy) – but LASIK is chosen by the vast majority of patients.

Back in 1998, when LASIK emerged as a vision correction method, it cost about $2,500 per eye in the US, which would be $4,000 in 2020, adjusted for inflation [5]. Today, the procedure costs much less – typically between $1,750 to $2,500 per eye, which includes everything from pre-surgery care to post-surgery examinations.

However, the costs of LASIK vary significantly from area to area. In the UK, for example, LASIK surgery goes as low as £1,195 and reaches £2,700 [6]. Whereas in Canada, you could expect to pay between $1,500 to $3,000 [7].

Other laser eye surgery methods cost roughly the same, but there may be differences depending on the clinic and where you are.

With that in mind, if you are considering having LASIK, you should shop around to find the best deal. You could also travel to another state or country to get access to cheaper treatment, but only if travel makes financial sense.

Are There Any Ways To Save On Laser Eye Surgery?

Although laser eye surgery isn’t as harsh on your wallet as it used to be, it may be unachievable for many of you. Fortunately, most clinics offer financing options to ease the burden.

Like traditional loans, laser eye surgery financing implies monthly payments and annual interest, due to which financed procedures may end up costing more in the long run. However, if you cannot pay for the entire treatment upfront, financing allows you to spread your costs over an extended period of time.

Some clinics may also offer special pricing for students or seniors – again, you’ll need to look around and check out the terms offered by local clinics.

In some cases, health insurance may cover laser eye surgery too, but most insurance plans won’t do so, unfortunately [8]. This is because most insurance companies consider laser eye surgery cosmetic and not ‘medically necessary’.

However, some insurance plans may cover you in certain cases, e.g. if your refractive errors are a result of an injury or a bad surgery.

Who Can Have Laser Eye Surgery?

Laser eye surgery can treat 3 refractive eye conditions [9]:

  • Myopia (nearsightedness), when you can’t clearly see distant objects.
  • Hyperopia (farsightedness), when you can’t clearly see nearby objects.
  • Astigmatism, when your vision is overall blurry.

Factors such as your current general health condition, degree of vision impairment, and age will determine whether or not you should undergo laser eye surgery. Generally, laser eye surgery isn’t recommended for people who:

  • Have severe vision issues because surgery may lead to serious side effects.
  • Are younger than 18. Vision may continue changing throughout one’s teenage years, which is why laser eye surgery is not recommended for young people.
  • Have medical conditions affecting the immune system, diabetes, or depression.

You’ll have to consult a doctor to figure out if your condition can be treated and whether or not laser eye surgery would deliver the expected results.

Does Laser Eye Surgery Work?

More than 90% of patients achieve 20/20 vision or better [10]. 20/20 vision means normal visual acuity, if you didn’t know. Besides, 99% of people achieve better than 20/40 vision, which is vision half as good as normal (but still better than before the surgery).

96% of patients have been satisfied with the procedure as well, which is actually the highest satisfaction rate of any elective procedure.

With that, laser eye surgery – LASIK in particular – can indeed considerably improve your vision. However, laser eye surgery requires careful planning, and you need to find a good doctor to get started.

If you are interested in potentially getting laser eye treatment, there will no doubt be much info online regarding options in your area.

 

 

Sources:
  1. “Blindness and vision impairment”, World Health Organization, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/blindness-and-visual-impairment.
  2. “Fast Facts of Common Eye Disorders”, U.S. CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/basics/ced/fastfacts.htm.
  3. “Myopia”, Canadian Association of Optometrists, https://opto.ca/sites/default/files/resources/documents/myopia_position_statement_with_references_october_23_2018_0.pdf.
  4. “Short-sightedness (myopia)”, the UK NHS, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/short-sightedness/.
  5. “How Much Does LASIK Surgery Cost In 2020?”, Woodhams Eye Clinic, https://www.woodhamseye.com/blog/how-much-does-lasik-surgery-cost-in-2020.
  6. “Laser Eye Surgery Costs”, Laser Eye Surgery Hub, https://www.lasereyesurgeryhub.co.uk/laser-eye-surgery/costs/.
  7. “No Compromise Laser Eye Surgery”, Clarity Laser Vision, https://claritylaservision.com/pricing/.
  8. “Health Insurance and Refractive or Laser Eye Surgery”, WebMD, https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/does-insurance-cover-costs-refractive-laser-eye-surgery.
  9. “LASIK surgery: Is it right for you?”, Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/lasik-eye-surgery/in-depth/lasik-surgery/art-20045751.
  10. “What Is the LASIK Success Rate?”, Vance Thompson Vision, https://omaha.vancethompsonvision.com/blog/what-is-the-lasik-success-rate.
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