Surgical vision correction through laser eye surgery has a number of benefits. However, for those interested in LASIK eye surgery, the LASIK eye surgery cost can be a concern. If you’re considering laser eye surgery in the near future and need some reassurance about what you’re getting for your money as well as the factors influencing the LASIK eye surgery cost, read this.
Why Should You Choose LASIK Eye Surgery?
All laser eye surgery procedures aim to provide a form of vision correction that doesn’t rely on external optical aids, namely glasses and contact lenses. If you’ve been a spectacle or contact lens wearer for any length of time, you can appreciate the benefits that this can bring. No longer do you have to put up with glasses that fog up or fall off, or contact lenses that feel dry and gritty by the afternoon. The ongoing cost of maintenance and updates or replacements to your glasses and contacts are also factors that should be weighed when it comes to contemplating the LASIK eye surgery cost.
Similar to other methods of laser eye surgery, LASIK eye surgery is based on the premise of reshaping the cornea. The cornea is the transparent surface at the front of the eyeball and is the first structure responsible for refracting, or bending, light as it enters into the eye. Through the use of a highly precise, computer-guided femtosecond laser, the corneal tissues are vaporised in select areas. Once the curvature of the cornea has been modified, it alters the way that light refracts through this structure, resulting in clear vision without your glasses or contact lenses.
One thing that distinguishes LASIK eye surgery from other forms of surgical vision correction is the formation of a hinged corneal flap. This flap is lifted to allow the femtosecond laser to vaporise the deeper corneal tissues and is then later repositioned.
The benefits of LASIK eye surgery include:
- Rapid visual recovery time, often achieved the day of or the day after your procedure
- Reduced post-operative pain and discomfort compared to another form of surgical vision correction known as PRK
- Touch-up adjustments with the laser can be made further down the track if needed
- Because the corneal flap is designed to be self-sealing, bandages or stitches are not required after the operation
LASIK eye surgery can also cover a wide range of prescriptions:
- Short-sightedness (myopia) from -1.00 to -10.00 dioptres or more
- Long-sightedness (hyperopia) up to +4.00 dioptres
- Astigmatism up to -4.00 dioptres
Note that these prescription ranges are just general guidelines and will depend on other factors, such as the thickness of your corneal tissue.
In addition to LASIK, there are also other methods of surgical vision correction. These include PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) and SMILE eye surgery (small incision lenticule extraction), which both involve reshaping the cornea. For patients whose corneas are not suitable for these types of procedures, there are still other techniques, such as RLE (refractive lens exchange) or ICL (implantable Collamer lenses). To determine which is the best type of procedure for you, speak to your eye specialist.
How Much Does LASIK Eye Surgery Cost?
The exact answer to this question lies with your chosen eye specialist. In Australia, there is no government-mandated cap on LASIK eye surgery fees, and each surgeon may set their own costs.
The average costs of LASIK surgery can range from around $2000 to over $3000 per eye. Various factors underlie these fees and when it comes to selecting an eye surgeon, it’s important to look beyond simply what they charge. Instead, consider the surgeon’s reputation and success record. You may also want to ask for referrals and recommendations from any family or friends who have undergone LASIK themselves. Alternatively, your family optometrist may be able to refer you to a reputable refractive eye surgeon.
Here’s a simplified breakdown of the factors that go into determining your final out-of-pocket costs for LASIK eye surgery.
- Consultation fees. While some laser eye clinics may conduct your initial examination at no charge to you (bulk-billed to Medicare), others may charge a fee. Some clinics will have an optometrist perform this assessment, which may make it more likely that the appointment will be bulk-billed. During your first consultation, you will have a discussion about your expectations from laser eye surgery and do some preliminary tests to assess your suitability.
- Surgery fees. These costs are included in your procedure fees to go towards maintaining the medical equipment used for the operation. Some instruments used for laser eye surgery, such as the femtosecond laser system itself, can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. A portion of your fee may also go towards the use of the operating theatre.
- Private health insurance. Depending on your insurance provider, you may be eligible to apply an insurance benefit towards your laser eye surgery procedure. If this is a significant financial consideration for you, be sure to check with your provider before committing to surgery.
- Medicare rebates. Typically, vision correction with laser surgery is not covered under Medicare, as it is considered an elective procedure. However, your pre-and post-operation consultations may be eligible to claim for at least part of the consultation fees.
For an accurate quote for your LASIK procedure, speak to your attending eye surgeon. Call us now on 03 9000 0389.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.