Why Refractive Surgery?
Many men and women rely on glasses or contact lenses to see well. While it’s nice to be able to see, many also experience the burden of these items. Glasses are easily broken or lost, may be uncomfortable or interfere with your activities, and may not fit in with your look. With contacts, there’s the hassle and discomfort of taking them out and putting them in at least once a day, the expense and difficulty of keeping them clean, and the potential irritation or even infection of the eyes. Of course, with either one, there’s also the expense of buying new ones periodically. No wonder so many wearers of these items would like to be rid of them.
Modern technology offers solutions that can allow you to see well without your glasses or contacts. Laser vision correction was first developed decades ago, but the technology has advanced greatly in recent years as computers have skyrocketed in power. Additionally, surgeons have the power to implant a lens into your eye, like a contact lens you never have to take off.
Costs for these procedures are generally between $1,000 and $2,500 per eye for laser corrections, and $2,500 to $4,500 for implantable lenses, though the cost varies widely. We’ve compiled an up-to-date list of costs for the most common vision correction procedures. For detailed information, please click the link at left for the specific procedure you’re considering.
Keep in mind that these costs are averages. Costs may vary by region and by individual doctor. Please check with the clinic(s) you are considering to determine the exact cost of the procedure.
Will Insurance Cover It?
The cost of refractive surgery is almost never covered by medical insurance. Even if you have specific vision care insurance, this is considered an elective or cosmetic procedure by most insurance companies, and is therefore not covered. This is despite the fact that the cost of glasses over a lifetime is usually far greater than the cost of a vision correction procedure. (Some companies won’t even pay for contact lenses, as they consider the use of contacts instead of glasses to be a cosmetic decision!)
So whether you have vision care insurance or not, you’re probably going to need to pay for your refractive surgical procedure yourself. If you’re the one who pays for your glasses or contacts, this will save you money long-term. Even if insurance helps with these items, when you consider copays, contact lens solution, fixing or replacing broken or lost glasses, and all the other costs of wearing corrective lenses, you’re likely going to come out ahead financially. But you may wonder how you can possibly come up with a few thousand dollars up front. Don’t give up! You have many options.
What Are the Options?
If you don’t already have the money saved, you have many options available for financing. Many clinics offer financing plans for their patients. You can also get a medical credit card or other credit card, often with an attractive introductory interest rate; a medical loan, personal loan, or home equity loan from your bank; a loan from your 401(k); or loans or gifts from family and friends. Even if your credit isn’t great, you’d be surprised how many options you have, so talk with your bank about the possibilities for financing your refractive surgery.