For a long time, the only way that people with vision problems could have relief was through glasses.
Then contact lenses allowed those with vision problems to live their lives a bit more comfortably without having to worry about carrying their glasses everywhere.
LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis), a laser-powered surgery, completely changed the game.
The average cost of LASIK surgery is $2,000 to $3,000 per eye.
Here are 10 reasons LASIK is as expensive as it is.
Why Is LASIK So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)
1. No Insurance Coverage
Unless you have the best of the best insurance policy, there’s a very good chance that your LASIK surgery is not covered by insurance.
As such, it falls to you to pay the cost of the entire surgery.
For a lot of people, sparing that kind of money is difficult, especially if they need surgery on both eyes.
Insurance companies don’t cover LASIK because the surgery isn’t considered important or life-saving.
For example, in most cases, you won’t die if you don’t get LASIK surgery.
Rather, you’ll just suffer from the same vision problems that you already do.
Instead, insurance companies classify LASIK surgery as cosmetic or elective surgery.
In terms of being cosmetic, it means that it’s only done to enhance your life or to improve your appearance.
It is not performed because you’re blind and the surgery will restore your sight.
Instead, it’s performed to help improve your vision.
It’s a way to improve and not a way to cure.
In terms of being elective, this refers to a surgery or procedure that a person chooses.
It isn’t something they need to stay alive or because there’s a threat to their livelihood if they don’t have the surgery.
Your life more or less remains the same whether you choose to have the surgery or not.
Those who choose to undergo the surgery do so because they want their vision problems removed or reduced.
To them, the cost is well worth it and can drastically improve the quality of their life.
However, insurance companies don’t see the procedure as medically necessary.
As such, they won’t cover the cost.
Since the entire cost comes out of your own pocket, it can make LASIK very expensive.
2. Cost Per Eye
Another reason LASIK is expensive is that you have to pay for each eye.
Doctors and surgeons do this because not everyone needs surgery on both eyes.
Some individuals have one decent eye while the other is poor.
Those who only need surgery on one eye have a bit less of an expense to pay.
LASIK becomes expensive when you need both eyes to undergo surgery.
Your $3,000 surgery becomes $6,000.
Even if you could almost afford $3,000, for a lot of people, a $6,000 surgery is hard to pay.
Now and then, you might find a surgeon who can bundle the price.
In most cases, you’re going to have to pay the price for both eyes.
LASIK is expensive because you have to pay for each eye separately.
3. One-Time Expense
LASIK surgery uses a laser to reshape the cornea.
It allows light to hit the retina like it’s supposed to.
As a result, people enjoy better vision.
Because the laser reshapes the cornea, this is a one-time expense in most cases.
Some people might go again to get a second eye done if the vision in that eye deteriorates.
Some people may need to visit the surgeon again when an injury occurs to their eye.
In most cases, patients get the surgery once, and then they’re done.
They never have to get it again because their vision, more or less, stays the same.
Since it’s a one-time expense, surgeons have to make the most from the surgery that they can.
They know that this individual most likely will never see them again for this particular procedure.
They have their own costs and bills to pay, so they need to make stretch the revenue they make from the surgery as much as possible.
To do so, they put a high price on the surgery.
The benefit for those seeking the surgery is that this is a high price that they will only have to pay once.
LASIK is expensive because it’s a one-time surgery and the surgeon needs to make as much off of the surgery as possible.
4. Cost Covers Everything
The good news about the price tag is that it covers everything included in the surgery.
However, that’s also a reason why LASIK is as expensive as it is.
The amount that you pay covers the surgery, the pre-surgery, and any post-op examinations and care that you might need.
In the long run, this makes LASIK more affordable than paying for glasses and contacts.
Those are expenses that you’re going to be paying for the rest of your life.
If your vision changes, and it likely will with age, then you’re going to need to keep visiting the eye doctor to get a new prescription.
That means you’ll need to order new glasses and new contact lenses.
LASIK is expensive, but only because you’re paying for everything upfront.
The cost also covers more than just the surgery.
As such, it costs more.
You’re paying for the doctor’s time to care and meet with you both before and after the surgery.
If you need more care after the surgery is over, then the price you pay also includes that.
LASIK is expensive because the price covers more than just the surgery.
5. Surgeon Quality
It’s not guaranteed that you’ll pay $2,000 to $3,000 per eye.
That’s only the average price.
In reality, you may end up paying far more for each eye.
One of the reasons it may be more expensive than the average amount is the quality of your surgeon.
Every LASIK procedure, unless you go to a scammer, has a qualified surgeon that handles it.
That said, the abilities of each surgeon are different.
Some are more experienced with the procedure than others.
Some may have additional skills or knowledge that can further benefit your surgery or care after your surgery.
If a surgeon can offer more experience and advice, then they’re going to be in higher demand.
This usually means that the results and recovery process are a lot better with that particular surgeon.
Since the surgeon is in higher demand, they’re able to charge higher prices for their services.
That’s because there’s only that one surgeon to go around.
They can only treat so many patients in a day.
With high demand and very low supply, the price for the surgeon is high.
LASIK is expensive when you go to a high-quality surgeon with a lot of experience.
6. Type Of Surgical Center
The place where you get the surgery done can also impact its price.
Expensive surgeons aside, some surgical centers are expensive by their very nature.
For example, some centers also serve as a place for luxury treatments or spa centers.
They revolve around the idea of being indulgent and investing in your happiness.
Because they offer luxury services, they come with luxury prices.
If the center has a reputation for high-quality or luxurious services, then it might also inflate the price of LASIK surgery.
Besides luxury spa centers, some centers devote themselves to LASIK surgery alone.
These centers are also more expensive because their only source of revenue is from LASIK surgeries.
Since LASIK surgery is usually a one-off, they can’t count on repeat customers.
Instead, they have to get as much money as they can from each service.
This is different from a center that offers several different cosmetic surgeries.
These centers tend to have cheaper LASIK surgeries because they have other surgeries or services, which helps them pay the bills.
LASIK is expensive depending on which center you go to for the procedure.
7. Cost And Quality Of Surgical Equipment
LASIK requires the use of some specialized tools.
In particular, it uses a cutting laser and blade.
The laser has a computer program that tells it where to cut the eye.
This sort of sophisticated equipment doesn’t come cheap.
It also needs frequent maintenance and sterilization for frequent use.
No one wants a malfunctioning laser anywhere near their eye.
As such, the surgeon pays a decent amount of money to keep the laser safe and prepared for the next surgery.
As vision health advances, different lasers also advance.
It isn’t enough to own a really good laser.
In a few years, there will likely be an even better one on the market.
As a result, the surgeon has to constantly invest in their equipment to offer the best services to their patients.
If they don’t, then they lose patients to surgeons who are offering the latest technology for the service.
It’s a big selling point for LASIK centers.
Surgeons with the latest equipment are going to advertise that point and draw in patients.
Those who are unable to compete because they don’t have the latest equipment miss out on revenue.
As such, they’re constantly investing in their centers to provide the best equipment possible for their patients.
That comes with a hefty price tag.
To cover those costs and any future costs, surgeons put a high price on LASIK surgery.
LASIK is expensive because of how expensive new LASIK equipment is.
8. Complex Eye Problems
LASIK can treat almost any kind of vision problem provided the individual isn’t blind.
That said, some cases may be complex and come with a higher price tag for the surgery.
For example, during your examination, the surgeon may discover that the procedure is going to be particularly complex due to either the severity of your vision problem or some other complication.
If the surgery needs more time or the surgeon needs to do something in addition to just trimming the cornea, you can expect the surgery to cost more.
Since the surgeon needs to spend more time on your particular case, it means they may not be able to schedule as many people as they had planned.
As a result, they end up losing money.
To make up for the lost revenue, they have to charge at a higher rate for your particular surgery.
You can also think of it in terms of hourly pay.
If your procedure takes longer, then they’re going to charge you for as long as you’re using their services.
If the complication requires the surgeon to use different tools or even bring in a specialist, this also adds to the cost of your operation.
To make up for those costs, they charge you more.
LASIK is expensive if you have a complicated case.
9. Financing Interest Rates
Because of the high expense of LASIK surgery, many centers offer financing.
Financing your surgery allows you to pay for it over a few months.
Each center has its own financing terms, but some of them include interest.
Like anything that adds interest, you can expect the amount that you pay to be more than what was originally discussed.
This is how some surgical centers make even more money from their patients.
Of course, not all surgical centers handle the financing, themselves.
Instead, they partner with other institutions that offer to finance instead.
A finance company will most certainly have an interest rate associated with the loan.
It’s how they earn money.
Some interest rates may be low, and you won’t have to pay that much on top of your original surgical bill.
However, some companies have higher interest rates.
As a result, you could end up paying a lot more than what you originally planned to pay.
LASIK surgery is already expensive, but when you add interest on top of it, you end up paying a significant amount of money for your surgery.
To keep LASIK a bit more affordable, you should save for the surgery or look for a financing company that doesn’t charge interest.
LASIK is expensive when you have to pay interest after financing the surgery.
10. Geographic Location
A final reason LASIK is expensive has to do with its geographic location.
If the surgical center is in an urban area, for example, then it’s going to be more expensive.
Since it’s situated right in the heart of a large population, more people have access to the service.
It’s also easier for singles to get surgery since they can rely on public transportation to get them where they need to go.
Those without public transportation have to rely on others to drive them after their surgery.
That can bar certain patients who don’t have that kind of resource.
The primary reason LASIK centers in urban settings are more expensive is that there’s greater demand.
Since there’s a larger population, there are more potential patients who have an interest in getting the surgery.
With only a few surgeons or a few operating tables available, they may not be able to meet all that demand.
To drive down demand to help the center, it will increase prices.
This is different from a center that is a more rural or suburban area.
Since the population is smaller, the center has a smaller pool of people to pool from.
Since there isn’t as much demand for their services, they lower the price to attract more people to them.
LASIK is expensive depending on the location of the center.
How To Save Money On LASIK Surgery
While LASIK surgery won’t help you live any longer, it can greatly improve the quality of your life with a successful operation.
However, the cost can often be prohibitive.
Luckily, there are a few ways that you can save money.
Here are a few ways that you can save money on LASIK surgery.
1. Search Through Insurance Policies
Some of the more expensive insurance policies come with vision coverage.
While they may not cover the entire cost of LASIK, they might be willing to put some money towards it.
Any kind of money that you don’t have to pay is good money.
You can even see if your current insurance policy has an upgraded plan that includes vision surgery or laser surgery.
You can always downgrade later after you get the surgery.
Having an insurance policy that helps cover LASIK can save you a good amount of money.
You may just need to do some hunting and applying to save money this way.
2. Zero-Interest Financing Plans
Another great way to save money on LASIK surgery is to be mindful of the financing plan you use to cover the cost.
It may seem convenient to use the center’s financing plans, but if it includes interest payments, you should consider a different financer.
Don’t let convenience get in the way of you saving money.
Take some time to look at different lending companies.
Some will offer you zero-interest rates as long as you pay within a certain number of months.
One such company is CareCredit.
You essentially use their credit card to pay for the LASIK surgery.
As long as you pay back the amount you owe each month, they won’t charge you interest.
They have several different plans, too, to ensure you can make your monthly payments.
Since it acts like a credit card, you can get your LASIK surgery almost immediately.
Looking for financing plans with zero-interest rates is a great way to save money.
3. Deals And Specials
Some LASIK centers will offer the occasional deal or special.
You’ll need to be mindful of how much they promise to take off the price.
When it comes to LASIK, if it’s too good to be true, then it usually is.
You’ll want to keep an eye out for specials that have qualifying circumstances.
In most cases, you won’t qualify and will have to pay the normal amount.
The best deals to look for shave a few hundred off the total price but nothing as low as $200 or even $500.
At that low cost, you’re looking at either a scammer, a low-quality surgeon, or they have disclaimers.
By carefully researching the sale or special, you can save a bit of money on your LASIK surgery.
LASIK surgery is a great option for those suffering from vision problems who want to have clear vision again.
However, the high cost of the surgery often keeps people from getting the surgery.
The fact that it’s a one-time surgery and uses very expensive equipment are some of the factors that make LASIK surgery expensive.