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Average Cost of Lasik & Laser Eye Surgery

Average Cost of Lasik & Laser Eye Surgery

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It’s a life-changing procedure for the price of a fancy vacation. Most people can obliterate the need for glasses and contacts with Lasik eye surgery for an average of $2,250 per eye, according to Market Scope LLC’s 2015 report.

The cost of laser eye surgery

The main factor impacting the cost is the type of surgery you receive. Lasik is the most well-known form of refractive surgery because it’s the most commonly performed procedure, however, several different variations exist. Besides that, several factors influence the cost of Lasik, including where you live, your prescription and the specific type of laser eye surgery you’ll receive. The table below gives an overview of the average cost for the different types of surgery.

Form of laser refractive surgery

Average Cost Per Eye

Lasik with blades


Bladeless Lasik


Custom (wavefront) Lasik





$1,500 - $2,500 (varies)


$1,500 - $2,500 (varies)

Lasik, which involves using a laser or blade to make a thin flap in the cornea, is typically the most affordable kind of laser refractive surgery. In most cases, it also requires the least recovery time. Therefore, it will cost you less in terms of vacation or sick days. Typically, patients need to rest between 24 and 48 hours after surgery.

Laser refractive surgeries have, overall, increased in price in the late ‘90s and early 2000s as techniques improved and became more advanced. A recently enhanced version is custom (wavefront) Lasik, using advanced technologies that may result in higher quality vision post-surgery. The increase in quality results in a higher bill. You’ll also pay more for bladeless Lasik, using just a laser, than the hybrid version.

PRK, or photorefractive keratectomy, is the next most popular form of laser refractive surgery, also with one of the higher price tags that often cross $2,000 per eye. People with thin corneas often have PRK instead of Lasik, because it removes part of the cornea then reshapes it with a laser, instead of creating a flap. Those cells grow back quickly. Some people who elect to have PRK have reported longer recovery times compared to Lasik, so if minimizing time away from work is a priority, you may want to ask additional questions before selecting PRK.

Types of laser surgery

The final two types of laser refractive surgery, Lasek and Epi-LASIK, vary more in price, so you may want to quote a couple of ophthalmologists before booking your procedure. Lasek stands for laser epithelial keratomileusis. Lasek is also good for thin corneas. The ophthalmologist applies alcohol to the corneal epithelium, moves the outside cells out of the way, reshapes the cornea, then replaces the epithelial cells. It’s typically comparable in cost to the other forms of refractive surgery.

Epi-LASIK, another option, is sort of a mixture between Lasik and Lasek: a flap is created, but thinner, then moved out of the way for the reshaping, and finally put back in place. No alcohol is used in Epi-LASIK. The cost, like Lasek, can average around $2,000 per eye, with variance.

Can insurance reduce the cost of Lasik procedures?

Unfortunately, you should plan to pay the full price out-of-pocket for the surgery, as most insurance companies do not cover refractive procedures. They deem Lasik an elective or cosmetic surgery, but you still may want to ask your insurer if they’ve negotiated any group discounts for their customers. Some do, although you still have to pay that full amount yourself.

Individuals eligible for a Health Savings Account (HSA) may offset the cost of their Lasik procedure. These accounts allow you to deposit up to $3,350 per year for individuals and $6,750 for families (in 2016). You can use this money for eligible health expenses at any time — these include anything from in-vitro fertilization to laser eye surgery.

Your insurance may also cover the cost of prescription eye drops you’ll have to take after your procedure — your cost will depend on your plan's prescription drug coverage. Depending on the type of Lasik you select, you’ll have to purchase some combination of prescription antibiotics and prescription steroids.

There are also eye drops that help with pain and discomfort. Additionally, you may need to purchase artificial tears for a couple of months post-surgery. These drops aren't prescription drugs, so you will need to pay out of pocket. The artificial drops can cost you hundreds of dollars over several months.

Cost of Lasik across the U.S.

Like any goods or services, you’ll pay more for Lasik if you live in a metropolitan area with a higher cost of living. Here are some overviews by region, which can give you an idea of how widely the cost can vary from place to place.


Average Cost of Traditional Lasik Per Eye

New York








How the cost of Lasik compares to other vision correction options

Lasik may sound like a great option for long-term improved vision, and the convenience of avoiding the hassle of contacts or glasses. You’ll find the most savings if you switch to Lasik soon after age 21, for the most years glasses-free. Remember, though, the whole cost will be due at once, at the time of the procedure.

Over time, the eyes worsen, and reading or all-day wear glasses will likely be necessary with age. That doesn’t change after Lasik, so maximize your years without glasses after the surgery for the most cost savings. You could certainly break even, and perhaps even save some money by switching to Lasik during your younger years instead of purchasing contacts and glasses annually.


Average cost per year over 10 years


$450 (Assuming one-time cost is $4,500)

Contact lenses

$300 (A one-year supply, based on a simple prescription)


$150 (One pair of average brand glasses each year)

Contacts + glasses


When switching from a contacts or glasses routine to schedule a Lasik procedure, make sure to factor in a couple of days off work. If you have paid vacation, you’ll want to plan to use a couple of days, and if not, the loss of income is another cost of Lasik. Most people can see decently well the next day, but you may want to take another, or a long weekend, to fully recover.

Lasik pricing models

Although some people successfully haggle on the cost of Lasik, since insurance is not a factor, many ophthalmologists are now doing a one-price model for the procedure. That means every single patient in the office would pay the same amount for Lasik. Some offices even do this across all types of Lasik. Although it’s great if you’re a more complicated case, you may want to look for individualized pricing if you have a straightforward prescription.

Remember when evaluating any price to ask what is included. Before your procedure, you’ll need to add in a consultation, although some offices provide free consultations, and afterward, you may require follow-up visits. Those additional office visits add up.

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