Understanding the costs involved in Lasik surgery starts with understanding the procedure, the process and the cost to the clinic.
Screening consultation. At the beginning of your involvement in the Lasik process you will attend a screening consultation that will determine your suitability for the Lasik procedure. The Lasik counselor will need to collect all the information available about your general health, specific health problems, any prescription medication you are taking and your current corrective lens prescription. The counselor will discuss your vision and vision problems with you, based on what can be known at this point, and tell you if and how Lasik surgery can improve your vision. If you are a candidate the option of Custom Lasik will also be presented for your consideration.
If you are not rejected as a bad risk for Lasik surgery for some medical reason, the standard fees for the different procedures will be presented to you and payment options will be discussed. The fee that is quoted may cover all aspects of the procedure, up to and including follow-up care and enhancements, or it may be based on a series of Ã¢â‚¬Å“if this, thenÃ¢â‚¬Â conditions. The fee will probably not cover any optional, Ã¢â‚¬Å“but highly recommendedÃ¢â‚¬Â procedures such as the optional punctal plug occlusion (plugs inserted to treat ‘dry eye’ that block the outflow of tears through the nasal passage).
It may be reasonable to assume that your health insurance will not help you pay the cost of Lasik surgery, since most insurance policies look at Lasik as an elective procedure; it would be wise, however to find out for sure. If your insurance does offer coverage for Lasik procedures, you can pursue reimbursement; most Lasik clinics will give you an itemized cost breakdown for the procedure. The Lasik clinic will take the position that, even without insurance coverage, Lasik is a great investment in your personal well being. Depending on the extent that you Ã¢â‚¬Å“needÃ¢â‚¬Â Lasik rather than just want it, that may or may not be true for you. If money is a major consideration, consider all your options before committing.
Pre-surgical evaluation. A one-to-two hour pre-surgical evaluation is your next step in the Lasik experience. During this evaluation you will undergo a complete dilated eye exam with refraction. This exam will allow the surgeon to confirm that your eyes, aside from known conditions, are healthy and it will determine the exact degree of your nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, or presbyopia. There will also be tests performed to determine the condition of the cornea.
The Lasik Procedure. The actual Lasik procedure takes a very short amount of time (up to thirty-minutes) and consists of the application of eye drops to numb the eye, cutting a hinged flap in the cornea with a surgical knife, using an excimer laser to reshape the inner portion of the cornea (based on the measurements taken during the pre-surgical evaluation) and then closing the flap, which now conforms to the reshaped inner cornea. This is all done on an outpatient basis.
The follow-up exams. The first follow-up exam should be scheduled for approximately 24-hours after your procedure. This initial follow-up is usually followed by at least four more during the next weeks and months.
Costs. To appreciate the value you receive as compared to the money you spend for a Lasik procedure, cost should not be thought of as money out of your pocket as much as it should be considered reimbursement to the clinic for their expenses. That’s not, perhaps, a conventional way to look at it but it helps you understand the basis for your cost.
As you can see, the Lasik surgeon and his staff spend a few hours with you and that accounts for some percentage of your cost for the procedure — the clinic, like every business, has a payroll.
During every step of the procedure supplies were used (masks, gloves, gauze, etc.) adding some additional cost.
During the pre-surgical evaluation and the Lasik procedure very sophisticated equipment is used. The clinic is either making payments on that equipment or making lease payments. It is also customary (as well as a contractual condition) for the clinic to pay royalties to the equipment manufacturers for every use of each machine.
Other factors to consider are the clinic’s overhead costs — their cost of doing business: salaries, benefits, rent, office equipment, office administration, advertising, seminars and the healthy cost of insurance.