Laser Eye Surgery Cost – Overview
How much laser eye surgery costs might be the other thing that comes to your mind when you first dream about getting this life-changing procedure.
It is the ultimate solution for people who are tired of wearing those glasses and contracts.
The idea of laser eye surgery is tantalizing to anyone with poor vision. The surgery offers peace of mind where you can just crawl out of bed and see everything without putting on glasses.
Though the cost of laser eye surgery cost is high, it includes various factors. However, there are numerous ways to save money.
On average, the costs have been estimated at around $2,500-$5,000 in the United States.
These surgeries are one-time expenses that assist cost savings by reducing the costs of glasses, contact lenses, and annual eye doctor appointments.
Laser Eye Surgery Cost – Choosing the Right Type of Surgery
Laser eye surgery is a procedure that involves reshaping the clear layer of the eye (cornea) using a laser. It is often referred to as ‘surgery.’
However, there are no incisions involved in the entire process except laser eye treatment.
There are essentially three types of surgery. Let us learn more about them.
LASIK (laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis) is the most popular and common form of laser eye surgery.
During LASIK, a laser cuts a thin flap of tissue off the cornea, which includes the epithelial (outermost layer) and a part of the stroma layer.
The flap of tissue, still connected to the cornea, is lifted gently off. The doctor then reshapes the cornea with a laser that enables a person to see without glasses.
Once the cornea is reshaped, the surgeon places the flap back gently.
Effectiveness of the LASIK Procedure
Surgeons in the United States have performed around 15 million LASIK procedures over the past decade with a 95% success rate.
Therefore, it can be considered as incredibly an effective procedure for most people. It offers faster healing and faster vision recovery.
Additionally, LASIK has a low regression rate, where it has been found that only 5%-10% of patients need a touch-up over time.
Downsides of LASIK Eye Surgery
There are certain risks associated with LASIK. Though fairly uncommon, if a person experiences forceful trauma to the head, the flap of corneal tissue can become displaced.
It can cause long-term damage and thus require immediate medical care.
One of the most common permanent side effects of the surgery could be dry eyes which are caused due to damage to the corneal nerve during surgery. Several patients also experience decreased night vision after surgery. It is caused due to many reasons.
- Corneal swelling
- The pupil dilates a larger
- Some patients may experience an immediate loss of night vision following the surgery; however, it usually returns in the months after surgery.
The severe permanent damages associated with LASIK include corneal bulging, under or over-correction, scarring, sensitivity, and, tragically, vision loss.
LASIK Eye Surgery Cost
Depending on the location, an estimated LASIK eye surgery cost is $2,500-$5,000 for both eyes.
PRK (Photo Refractive Keratectomy)
During PRK, a surgeon removes an extremely thin layer of corneal tissue, called the epithelium, using a laser. The removed tissue does not cover the part of the stroma; therefore, it is much thinner than the flap cut with LASIK.
This procedure also eliminates the risks of flap displacement, as tissue is never replaced because epithelium can regenerate itself.
The corneal surface is reshaped through an excimer laser, and a “bandage contact” is then placed over the eye for protection while the epithelium regenerates, taking 3-4 days.
Effectiveness of PRK
PRK mostly opts as there is no risk of flap displacement. Another benefit of PRK is that since only the epithelium layer is removed, the structure of the cornea isn’t directly compromised.
As a result, this form of eye surgery is ideal for patients with a thin cornea and works well for people engaged in physical, high-impact sports.
Downsides of PRK Eye Surgery
PRK involves the removal of the epithelium, which is the most painful where patients experience pain and discomfort for several days. The recovery time is also longer, and it typically takes a week or two before vision returns fully.
Some patients also have to wait as long as 3-6 months for vision returns. Therefore they have the PRK procedure on one eye at a time to give the eye a chance to heal. It ensures at least partial vision during the healing period.
PRK Eye Surgery Cost
The cost of PRK is $2,500-$5,000 for both eyes. However, there might be additional costs as it involves several trips to the surgeon for follow-up appointments.
LASEK (Laser Epithelial Keratomileusis)
LASEK technique combines the benefits of both procedures while lowering the risks of each.
In this procedure, the epithelium tissue is weakened with an alcohol solution, and then using a knife, the surgeon gently cuts and lifts back this thin flap of tissue.
The surface of the cornea is reshaped through a laser, and the surgeon sets the epithelium back into place. Then, a bandage contact lens is placed once the epithelium has been reattached to the eye.
Effectiveness of LASEK Procedure
LASEK opts as it seems less risky than LASIK, where there is a difference in the thickness of the tissue that is cut.
This makes LASEK a better option for patients who have dry eyes. Also, the cornea has less direct exposure to the laser.
LASEK allows the patient to retain the epithelial layer, unlike PRK. This, in turn, helps with the healing process.
Downsides of LASEK Eye Surgery
LASEK takes a longer healing time in comparison to LASIK, as it takes time for epithelial reattachment, and there could be added irritation caused by the alcohol solution.
It typically takes 4-7 days to recover, 1-2 weeks to get full vision.
LASEK Eye Surgery Costs
The LASEK costs $2,500-$5,000 for both eyes.
Which is the Right Treatment Option?
The type of laser eye surgery depends on the thickness of the cornea and the level of correction needed. It is recommended to take suggestions from doctors to correctly screen the right procedure.
Laser Eye Surgery Cost – How to Reduce the Surgical Costs?
Different laser eye surgeons charge different rates. Therefore it is recommended to check prices with different surgeons. Also, several clinics are offering free visits to learn about the procedure.
Take the opportunity and make sure to get the full details about the total cost of the surgery upfront. Including follow-up visits and other fees associated with the surgery
Use Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or your Health Savings Account (HSA) to pay for surgery. Pre-tax accounts can also save around 30% of the cost of the surgery.
Undoubtedly, each eye procedure has its benefits and disadvantages. So, while considering laser eye surgery, do your research before going to the doctor on all the options available.
Check out the laser eye surgery cost available at different clinics. An already acquired knowledge will help you with an appointment so that you can ask better questions. Good luck!
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