How Much Does Lasik Eye Surgery Cost?

Lasik eye surgery costs an average of $2,632 per eye without insurance and $1,801 per eye after an insurance discount.

An insurance discount for Lasik will save you an average of 32% on surgery cost. You can also reduce your cost by paying for Lasik with a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA), so you don't have to pay income tax on money used for the medical expense.

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Cost of Lasik eye surgery

The average cost of Lasik eye surgery is $2,632 per eye. When paying full price, rates typically range from $1,000 to $3,000 per eye.

A discount from your health insurance company can often save you about $715 per eye, and a vision insurance discount averages a savings of $948 per eye.

Item
Cost per eye
Cost for both eyes
Lasik eye surgery cost without insurance$2,632$5,264
Lasik cost with health insurance discount$1,917$3,834
Lasik cost with vision insurance discount$1,684$3,368

What is Lasik?

Lasik is a popular type of corrective eye surgery that can eliminate your need to wear eyeglasses or contact lenses by using a laser or a blade plus a laser to make a thin flap in the cornea.

You'll generally save a little more by using a discount through vision insurance than through health insurance. However, exact savings vary by insurance plan.

How Lasik insurance discounts are different from insurance coverage

Your insurance plan may offer a Lasik discount if you have it done at a surgery center or eye doctor affiliated with the plan.

Lasik is an elective procedure. This means that it isn't covered by insurance through your plan's standard benefits. Instead, the discount is like a savings coupon.

You can use the insurance discount as soon as your plan starts, without having to first meet a deductible. But any Lasik costs are kept separate. The thousands of dollars you spend on Lasik surgery won't count toward your insurance plan's deductible or your annual spending cap, called the out-of-pocket maximum.

Best insurance plans for Lasik discounts

Lasik will typically cost less than $1,000 per eye with the best insurance plans for Lasik:

What affects how much you pay for Lasik?

Corrective eye surgery costs vary widely, based on factors such as vision prescription and type of procedure.

  • Your vision prescription: Lasik can cost more if you have a more severe prescription or specialized needs, such as an astigmatism correction.
  • Surgeon's experience: Ophthalmologists with more training and experience tend to charge more. You could also pay more if the surgeon has name recognition within either the industry or your area.
  • Type of Lasik surgery procedure: The bladeless Lasik procedure, which uses lasers only, has a midrange cost. You'll usually pay more for custom (wave front) procedures, and it's often cheaper for Lasik with blades and lasers or PRK .
  • Location: Lasik usually costs more in cities and urban areas.

What's usually included in the cost of Lasik

In many cases, the cost of surgery is a flat rate. So, after a consultation, you'll be able to find out if you qualify for Lasik and how much surgery will cost.

The cost of Lasik surgery usually includes:

  • Pre-op exam
  • Surgery fee
  • Prescription eye drops
  • Follow-up appointment
  • Lifetime enhancements (sometimes included)

You'll usually have a few extra costs for:

  • Additional office visits if they're needed: Rates will be based on the surgery center.
  • Medications: Your surgeon may recommend eye drops for pain and discomfort. Your health insurance plan's prescription coverage may reduce your pharmacy costs.
  • Artificial tears eye drops for dryness: Over-the-counter eye drops are typically used for a few months after surgery. They aren't covered by insurance, and the cost could add up to more than $100, depending on how many you need.

Cost of Lasik by type of surgery center

Where you get your surgery can have a big impact on the cost of Lasik.

Independent facilities tend to be more expensive than major Lasik chains. Depending on where you live and the surgeon's experience, rates at a private practice could be $700 to $1,000 higher per eye than rates at a nearby Lasik chain location. However, the independent surgery center may provide more personalized service.

Surgery location
Cost per eye
Cost for two eyes
QualSight$1,728$3,456
LasikPlus$2,048$4,096
Private practitioner$2,750$5,500

The LasikPlus surgery chain, which does about a third of the surgeries in the country, has average prices. The cost of surgery at LasikPlus is typically between $1,800 and $2,295 per eye, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Note that this is on the high end of the chain's advertised typical cost of $1,095 to $2,100 per eye.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cautions against choosing a Lasik facility based on the cost alone. Your choices about eye surgery will affect your vision for the rest of your life. In addition to price, consider how much experience the doctor has and if the office is using the latest technology and procedures.

Advertisements for cheap Lasik costing $250 per eye are usually false.

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Be cautious if an advertisement seems too good to be true or a surgery center is using heavy-handed sales tactics. About 94% of people didn't qualify for one chain's promotional rate of $250 per eye — and they didn't find out that they weren't eligible until after a consultation exam of up to 2 hours.

Best ways to pay for Lasik

Because Lasik is expensive, most people pay for the eye surgery using the following two options:

Pay with an FSA or HSA to maximize savings

Rather than putting money aside in a traditional savings account for Lasik, using a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA) helps the money you earn go further, because you won't pay income tax on the money you put into the account. Paying with an FSA could keep an extra $570 to $969 in your pocket to use for Lasik surgery, depending on your income tax rate.

Enroll in a payment plan through the Lasik surgery center

Most Lasik surgery centers will have a financing department that lets you set up a payment plan. These plans are frequently through medical credit companies, such as CareCredit. This can help you avoid interest for six months to two years. Terms vary, so watch out for extra fees and high interest rates after the promotional period ends or if you don't stick with the payment plan.


How the cost of Lasik compares to eyeglasses and contacts

The cost of Lasik eye surgery is about the same as the cost of 15 years of contacts or 26 years of wearing eyeglasses.

When comparing the cost of glasses or contacts over 10 years to the cost of Lasik, you'd be paying more for Lasik than for either glasses or contacts alone.

Type of vision correction
Average cost per year, over 10 years
Lasik$526 (assuming the full cost is $5,264)
Contact lenses$450 (a one-year supply, based on a simple prescription)
Glasses$200 (one pair of average-brand glasses each year)
Contacts + glasses$650

Financially speaking, getting corrective eye surgery when you are in your 20s will give you the best return on your investment. For example, getting eye surgery at age 21 will mean you'll be able to avoid glasses and contacts for more years than if you were to get Lasik at age 50. However, Lasik doesn't stop the eyes' aging process, so in the future, you may still need glasses for reading or distance.


Frequently asked questions

How much does Lasik typically cost?

Lasik corrective eye surgery costs an average of $5,264 for both eyes. Savvy shoppers can sign up for specific insurance plans that have good discounts for Lasik, which can reduce your surgery cost to about $2,000. Using an FSA or HSA can give you more money for surgery, because you won't have to pay income tax on those funds.

How much is Lasik with insurance?

After an insurance discount, Lasik costs an average of $3,601 for both eyes. Savings vary by plan, and any Lasik discount will be separate from your main insurance benefits. You may also have to use a specific surgery chain to get the discount.

Can you really get Lasik for $250?

Probably not. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) found that 94% of customers did not qualify for the promotional price of $250 per eye at LasikPlus. Only 1% of customers received the promotional surgery cost of $250, and most others paid the full rate of nearly $2,000.

Why is Lasik so expensive?

Lasik is so expensive because the surgeon needs to make precision cuts to your eye in order to correct your vision. This requires a surgeon who has had training and experience and has the latest technology.

Is Lasik worth it financially?

On average, Lasik surgery costs about as much as 12 years' worth of contact lenses or 26 years' worth of eyeglasses. However, the break-even point can be in as little as 4.5 years (contacts) or 10 years (eyeglasses) if you are able to get a good deal on Lasik by using discounts.


Sources

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