Who Pays? And How Much? PDF Print E-mail

How much are you willing to pay for LASIK? And if something DOES go wrong, can you afford it?


Costs for LASIK surgery have declined. Prices range from $299 (advertised) upwards to $2500 an eye. If you choose to have LASIK, check the conditions/fine print on the lower priced facilities. There may be hidden costs, and remember, you get what you pay for.

Regardless of how much you pay for LASIK, your out of pocket expenses could exceed years of salary should something go wrong with your surgery. Continued medical expenses, legal fees, and loss of income (employment) could result.


You're probably aware by now your LASIK is NOT covered by insurance. A few points to ponder before you decide, should something go wrong with your surgery:

Remember, this surgery is elective. If you do not have serious eye complications prior to LASIK, is your insurance going to cover you for the complications of post-lasik? Will the doctor?


Comanagement, fee-splitting, kickbacks...Call it what you will. When you're referred to a Lasik doctor by an optometrist, that optometrist is getting his or her share (roughly 20%, and in some areas, even higher). This is supposed to be for post-op care costs.

Is comanagement as it is practiced commonly with Elective Eye Surgery where the Optometrists frequently don’t consult with the Opthalmologists about complications safe? The ASCRS endorses the practice- see their informed consent form:

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If you are referred, you might want to consider:

What should happen if something goes wrong with your surgery. Does the responsibility go to the referrer, the surgeon, or both?

Excessive costs...whose responsible if the costs exceed the amount the optometrist was paid.

Distance is important. Are you being referred to a doctor 30, 60, 90 or more miles away? Again, what happens if something goes wrong? Would you be prepared or willing to travel the distance countless times?

And most importantly, adequate care, even post-op is important. Are the optometrists experienced enough to handle your post-op care?

Most people do not consider any of this. In fact, of the LASIK casualties I've spoken to who had surgery based on referral, none of them did. At first, they believed the optometrists to be somewhat knowledgeable regarding LASIK. What most of them believe now, is that the optometrists were nothing more than salespeople. They wanted no responsibility for what went wrong, and certainly no responsibility as far as lawsuits!

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