How Much Does LASIK Cost? (2023)

LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) has been a leading vision correction surgery since first becoming available in 1999. It’s typically performed by ophthalmologists (eye surgeons) on individuals with moderate degrees of refractive error, but who otherwise have healthy eyes.

Typically LASIK is not covered by insurance, unfortunately, and while the cost of LASIK eye surgery has decreased over the past few decades, it can still be quite high. Here’s what you need to know about the cost of LASIK eye surgery, and how to find the best provider for you.

The Average Cost of LASIK Eye Surgery

The cost of LASIK eye surgery varies drastically, ranging anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 per eye. However, the average price for LASIK surgery in the U.S. in 2020 was $2,632 per eye, according to a 2021 report in Clinical Ophthalmology[1]Joffe SN. The 25th Anniversary of Laser Vision Correction in the United States . Clin Ophthalmol. 2021;15:1163–1172. . It’s worth noting that advertisements offering LASIK for as low as $250 dollars are often for minimal corrections, and are often teaser rates to attract patients to seek more information.

Several factors can affect the cost of LASIK, says Vicente Diaz, M.D, an ophthalmologist and assistant professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut.

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(Video) How Much Does Laser Eye Surgery Really Cost? | Lasik-Eyes

The first is geographical location. “There are macro trends in terms of some areas having a higher cost of living than others and so elective procedures such as refractive surgery tend to follow those trends,” he says.

The doctor’s overhead can also influence price, explains Diaz. For example, if your doctor owns the laser equipment outright, then the marginal cost of doing a procedure is lower and they can pass those savings to the patient. However, doctors who are leasing, or who have a high cost per case, need to raise their price to make it worthwhile economically.

Price also fluctuates depending on the brand power or experience of the doctor or center. “If the doctor is in high demand, usually because of a well-deserved reputation, then that surgeon’s time is at a premium and market forces will drive the price up,” says Dr. Diaz.

However, the cost of surgery should not depend on how bad your eye vision is. “LASIK is typically a set price, as it covers the cost of correction within LASIK’s safe treatment range from minor to high corrections of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism,” says Neda Shamie, M.D., a LASIK, cataract and corneal surgeon at the Maloney-Shamie Vision Institute in Los Angeles and a Forbes Health Advisory Board member.

However, for patients that are not candidates for LASIK due to severe nearsightedness or farsightedness (or other factors), they may be candidates for higher-cost surgeries such as implantable contact lens (ICL) or refractive lens exchange (RLE). Typically, both ICL and RLE surgery is more expensive than LASIK.

What’s Included in the Cost of LASIK

Your overall cost can also be influenced by what’s included in the surgery and the prices associated with those inclusions, such as follow-up appointments and enhancements. “An enhancement is a second procedure done on a previously operated eye,” says Dr. Shamie.

A small percentage of patients (less than 5%) after an initial refractive procedure (such as LASIK) benefit by having a fine-tuning laser procedure, due to residual nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism after their primary surgery.

(Video) How Much Does LASIK Cost?

“Patients more likely to need enhancements include those with large prescription corrections at their first surgery,” she adds.

While services that are included in the cost of your LASIK surgery will vary depending on the surgeon, Dr. Shamie explains that the total cost typically includes the following:

  • Pre- and post-operative exams for at least one year
  • Facility and surgeon fees
  • Postoperative eye drops
  • Follow-up procedures should there be a need for fine-tuning the correction

Additional Costs of LASIK

In terms of the surgery itself, there shouldn’t be additional LASIK costs, according to Dr. Shamie, “unless you have it performed by a surgeon who offers the procedure at a low upfront cost and charges separately for the more advanced and safer technology, follow-up visits and medications.”

However, any type of a la carte pricing to minimize costs is not recommended, “because the latest technology and follow-up care are essential to an excellent outcome, not optional line items,” she says.

Some LASIK centers, though, may charge more for “custom” procedures over standard.

“Custom surgery is when a map of the patient’s actual cornea is used to treat higher-order aberrations caused by the shape of that particular patient’s eyes,” says Dr. Diaz. This is more time consuming than standard LASIK procedures, as it takes into account the particular eye shape.

Other costs may include medications needed to recover from surgery, says Dr. Diaz, however, these are typically covered by medical insurance and are subject to copay arrangements.

Does Insurance Cover LASIK?

Aside from prescriptions, insurance typically does not cover LASIK because it’s considered elective surgery. However, many employers offer a health savings account (HSA) or flexible savings account (FSA), which allow you to set aside pre-tax funds throughout the year to be used for medical expenses such as LASIK.

“This is why January is a popular time to have LASIK because many people have access to their [FSA] funds in the new calendar year,” says Dr. Shamie.

(Video) What Is The Cost of LASIK Eye Surgery?

Are There Financing Plans for LASIK?

To minimize the financial burden of LASIK, there are a number of financing plans available that can turn the cost of the surgery into an affordable monthly payment.

“Many plans offer $0 down, 0% interest for up to two years, and most offer extended plans with interest for up to four to five years,” says Dr. Shamie.

One such financial institution is Care Credit, which specializes in financing elective procedures such as LASIK or PRK, adds Dr. Diaz. Be sure to explore all of the options available to you.

Tips on Finding the Best LASIK Surgeon for You

If you are considering LASIK, there are a few steps you should take to find the right surgeon. First, get a referral from your eye doctor, says Dr. Shamie.

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“They know you and your eyes the best and will give you their honest opinion of who they would have operate on their own eyes,” she says. Also, ask your friends, “as there is a good chance that many of them have already had LASIK and have done extensive research before selecting their doctor.” She also suggests researching online, paying close attention to reviews on Google and Yelp, as “there is often wisdom in crowds.”

It’s also important to find a board-certified ophthalmologist, emphasizes Dr. Diaz, and pay attention to where the doctor trained, how long they have been in practice and how many cases they have done.

Invest in a 20- to 30-minute consultation, either virtual or in-office, too.

“Once you’re there, you want to make sure that the doctor walks through the results of the testing and the surgical plan,” says Dr. Diaz. “You should be wary of a doctor who rushes through this part of the process.” Keep in mind that not everyone is a candidate for all procedures, “and the doctor should explain how your objectives and testing results led them to make the right plan for you.”

Is LASIK Worth the Investment?

Is the investment of LASIK worth it in the long run? From a purely economic perspective, Dr. Diaz says that there is usually a “significant” savings in terms of not needing to buy prescription glasses or contact lenses. “Over the years, those costs can certainly add up,” he adds.

“Many of our patients have compared the cost of glasses and contact lenses to the cost of LASIK surgery, and all have found that their LASIK surgery is just a fraction of the long-term cost,” adds Dr. Shamie. “Designer frames, contacts, lens solutions, eye doctor visits and prescription sunglasses can exceed thousands of dollars in only a few years.”

Indeed, the cost of LASIK equates to about eight to 10 years of buying glasses or contacts plus eye exams, according to the study in Clinical Ophthalmology[1]Joffe SN. The 25th Anniversary of Laser Vision Correction in the United States . Clin Ophthalmol. 2021;15:1163–1172. .

(Video) How Much Does LASIK Cost?

There is also the quality of life benefits to consider. “LASIK is the only investment you’ll make that will pay you back every waking moment of your life,” says Dr. Shamie.


How long does LASIK last for? ›

While the effects of LASIK surgery are permanent, the benefits can decrease over time. For most patients, the results of LASIK will last a lifetime. About 10-12% of patients nationwide will need an enhancement surgery because of anatomical changes to the eye/eyes.

What is the best age to do LASIK? ›

Generally speaking, most LASIK eye surgeons agree on 25-40 as the ideal age range for LASIK eye surgery candidacy for a few reasons. By the age of 25, eyeglasses and contact lens prescriptions have most likely stabilized. A stable prescription is one of the hallmarks of a good LASIK candidate.

Is LASIK free in UK? ›

Laser eye surgery is available for free on the NHS, however it is only offered in exceptional circumstances meaning many will not meet the eligibility criteria and will have to undergo the procedure at a private clinic instead.

Is LASIK painful? ›

Fortunately, LASIK eye surgery is not painful. Right before your procedure, your surgeon will place numbing eye drops into both of your eyes. While you may still feel a little bit of pressure during the procedure, you should not feel any pain.

Will I still need glasses after LASIK? ›

What many don't realize is that LASIK surgery doesn't protect against age-related eye conditions or remove certain refractive errors caused by the thickness of the cornea. For this reason, even individuals who have had successful LASIK surgery may need glasses.

Can your eyes go back after LASIK? ›

But, LASIK is permanent. LASIK permanently corrects the vision prescription that you have at the time of surgery. This means that it cannot wear off. However, any underlying conditions such as presbyopia that progress over time can cause changes to your vision, making the original LASIK procedure less effective.

Is LASIK worth it over 40? ›

But the answer is generally yes – LASIK is worth it after 40. LASIK is safe and effective for patients older than 40 and produces the long-term value that this refractive surgery is known for.

What age is too late for LASIK? ›

Can I Have LASIK After 60? While the minimum age for LASIK surgery is 18, there is no age limit as long as your eyes are healthy and your vision is stable.

Who is not suitable for LASIK surgery? ›

Because vision can change dramatically during the adolescent years, LASIK is not recommended for anyone under the age of 18. Those who are pregnant or nursing. Hormone fluctuations during pregnancy and nursing can cause changes to a woman's vision and corrective prescription.

Is LASIK cheaper than glasses? ›

LASIK certainly has a higher upfront price than glasses. Nevertheless, because of the lasting results, it could save you money over time. This long-term outlook, coupled with the many other benefits of laser eye surgery, could make it a great investment in your health and future.

Is LASIK worth getting? ›

Most people who undergo LASIK surgery will have good to excellent vision in most situations, for many years or decades. You'll be able to play sports and swim, or even just see the clock first thing in the morning, without having to worry about your glasses or contact lenses.

Is LASIK worth it financially? ›

The Bottom Line. When compared to the costs of wearing contacts or glasses for the rest of your life, LASIK is well worth it. Despite the larger upfront cost, LASIK eventually pays for itself — it actually saves you money in the end.

What if you sneeze during LASIK? ›

If you sneeze, move or blink during the treatment, the laser tracks your eye over one thousand times per second and adjusts the laser to make certain the laser is applied to exactly the right place. So, there is no reason to worry if you sneeze during LASIK.

Can you blink during LASIK? ›

Among the most frequently asked questions: What happens if I sneeze or blink during my LASIK surgery? The short answer: Blinking or sneezing will not affect the outcome of your surgery.

Is LASIK permanent? ›

LASIK does last forever. The procedure's physical effects last a lifetime as it permanently reshapes the cornea. The need for reading glasses, cataracts, and other age-related changes will also affect everyone as they become older.

How long can you not look at screens after LASIK? ›

Give Your Eyes some Downtime after LASIK

You'll want to rest your eyes for the first day of your recovery in order to give them a chance to heal properly. As part of this rest, we recommend that you avoid looking at screens of any kind — TV, phone, computer or tablet — for 24 hours after LASIK.

Why does LASIK not last forever? ›

It permanently reshapes the tissue in the front of your eye, and these changes last your whole life. However, most people's vision gets worse over time as part of the natural aging process. LASIK can't stop this, so your vision may become blurry again as you get older.

How long after LASIK Can I see 20 20? ›

According to the American Refractive Surgery Council, more than 90% of LASIK patients achieve 20/20 vision or better after 2 to 3 months of post-surgery recovery.

Can LASIK fix astigmatism? ›

The ultra-precise lasers used for LASIK surgery can be programmed to reshape the cornea so the front surface of the eye is more symmetrical, thereby eliminating vision problems caused by astigmatism. Most of the time astigmatism can be fully corrected with a single LASIK procedure.

Does LASIK permanently fix astigmatism? ›

Is LASIK temporary or permanent? If you are wondering how long does Lasik last. The effects of LASIK surgery permanently correct the vision prescription – nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. After LASIK surgery your eyes can continue to change over the course of your lifetime.

Can you get LASIK twice? ›

Is it possible to have LASIK surgery twice? The short answer is yes, though this is usually only done 5 – 10 years after the initial treatment. However, rest assured that LASIK offers long-term vision correction, and very few people require a second session.

Is 50 too old for LASIK? ›

The good news is that no one is too mature for laser vision correction. You may be able to schedule LASIK after 50 years old. You should know that not everyone is a candidate for LASIK.

Is LASIK worth it at 35 years old? ›

From a medical perspective, your 30s are a wonderful time to consider LASIK. By this time in your life, your prescription has most likely remained stable for a few years as your eyes have reached their full development. This means that there is little chance that your distance vision will deteriorate once corrected.

What are the long term effects of LASIK eye surgery? ›

A small portion of people who get LASIK may experience long-term visual symptoms, such as seeing halos or starbursts around lights, particularly at night. Some develop dry eye, which can sometimes become a chronic condition that persists even after their eye has healed and their vision has stabilized.

What prescription is too high for LASIK? ›

In order to qualify for LASIK, your eyes must meet certain requirements. The average refractive prescription that qualifies for laser eye surgery is: Nearsighted ness up to -8.0 diopters. Astigmatism up to -3.0 diopters.

Can you wear contacts 10 years after LASIK? ›

The bottom line is that YES, you can wear contact lenses after LASIK if you choose to. And there are a few occasions where you might chose to do so. I thought I'd dedicate this post to discussing these occasions. Historically, the average age of a LASIK patient is around 40 years old.

Is LASIK or laser better? ›

The most important thing to know about the difference between laser surgery and Lasik surgery is that there is no difference. Lasik surgery is a type of laser surgery. In fact, Lasik is an acronym for the procedure that is formally known as laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis.

How much do most people pay for LASIK? ›

The Average Cost of LASIK Eye Surgery. The cost of LASIK eye surgery varies drastically, ranging anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 per eye. However, the average price for LASIK surgery in the U.S. in 2020 was $2,632 per eye, according to a 2021 report in Clinical Ophthalmology.

What is the failure rate of LASIK? ›

All surgeries carry some risk of complications and side effects, but LASIK is generally considered a safe procedure with a low complication rate. In fact, LASIK is one of the safest elective surgical procedures available today, with a complication rate estimated to be less than 1%.

Is LASIK worth it at 45 years old? ›

Refractive Lens Exchange For Older Adults

Older adults, especially those who have never worn glasses, may think LASIK is their only solution as they begin to age and need reading glasses. However, due to the number of disqualifying factors, many 40 and older may not be good candidates for LASIK.

Is 41 too old for LASIK? ›

LASIK can be very beneficial for some people in their 40s, but it may be applied in a different way. Some people receive something called Monovision LASIK, when one eye is treated with LASIK for clear distance vision and one is treated for clear near vision.

Can LASIK fail? ›

The LASIK complication rate is less than 1%. LASIK complications include infections as well as dislocation of the corneal flap that's made during the surgery. Surgical complications from laser vision correction are extremely rare. But they do occur.

Is LASIK vision better than glasses? ›

Laser vision correction actually corrects astigmatism, it does not compensate for the refractive error in a similar manner to glasses and contacts. As a result, patients with astigmatism frequently notice better vision with LASIK than with contacts or glasses.

Why did LASIK get cheaper? ›

As we wrote in our post about budget LASIK surgery cost, there's a reason that these providers are able to offer LASIK eye surgery at reduced prices – they've cut corners on surgical skill, technology and patient care and aren't providing the highest quality service possible.

Do they stick a needle in your eye for LASIK? ›

Injections and Needles are not used during LASIK laser eye surgery. Instead, topical anesthetic drops are the only type of anesthesia used to numb the eye during laser surgery. Patients are awake and comfortable during surgery.

Can you be put to sleep with LASIK? ›

Yes, you will be awake for your entire LASIK corrective eye surgery procedure. Some people assume because they are undergoing a surgical procedure that they will be given anesthesia and be put to sleep. Yet, unlike other types of surgeries, laser surgery only takes a few minutes to complete.

What can you not do during LASIK? ›

Don't Wear Makeup, Perfume or Fragrance

Makeup can interfere with the medications and lasers that are used during surgery, so don't wear any that day. It's also important to avoid any scented products, perfume or fragrances on the day of surgery.

Do eyes get bigger after LASIK? ›

The optical reason why nearsighted glasses minify and farsighted glasses magnify is that the lenses of the glasses sit off the plane of the eye. By contrast, both LASIK and contact lenses sit directly on the eye and therefore do not alter image size at all.

Does LASIK ruin your near vision? ›

However, after LASIK, this same person's natural focal point changes, becoming much farther away, at a distance, and the ability to see up close without reading glasses is greatly diminished. This loss of near vision often takes a little getting used to.

Does LASIK eye surgery give you 20 20 vision? ›

In most cases, LASIK has the potential to provide 20/20 vision. However, some people – including those who have higher prescriptions – may not achieve this level of visual acuity after laser surgery. If your vision is blurred beyond a certain point, you may still need a prescription for glasses or contacts.

Does LASIK wear off over time? ›

LASIK is a permanent surgical vision correction procedure. A laser is used to change the shape of the cornea to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. Reshaping your cornea is a permanent change and therefore, it does not “wear off”.

Can LASIK be redone after 20 years? ›

If a second procedure has been deemed necessary, another flap will be created. Most surgeons won't perform a second LASIK procedure unless it's 5-10 years after LASIK.

Can I get LASIK again after 10 years? ›

The short answer is yes, though this is usually only done 5 – 10 years after the initial treatment. However, rest assured that LASIK offers long-term vision correction, and very few people require a second session.

How many times can you do LASIK in your life? ›

In general, there is no limit on how many LASIK procedures you can get in your lifetime. Several factors affect whether or not you are a good candidate for enhancement surgery. The thickness of the cornea is one of the main determinations regarding the safety of multiple LASIK surgeries.

Is it worth getting LASIK after 40? ›

But the answer is generally yes – LASIK is worth it after 40. LASIK is safe and effective for patients older than 40 and produces the long-term value that this refractive surgery is known for.

Does LASIK fix astigmatism? ›

The ultra-precise lasers used for LASIK surgery can be programmed to reshape the cornea so the front surface of the eye is more symmetrical, thereby eliminating vision problems caused by astigmatism. Most of the time astigmatism can be fully corrected with a single LASIK procedure.

How often is LASIK unsuccessful? ›

The LASIK complication rate is only about 0.3%.

Is the lifetime warranty for LASIK worth it? ›

The bottom line? The “lifetime guarantee” typically isn't worth the paper it's written on. Many patients who had their initial procedure with a center offering a “lifetime guarantee” end up going to another surgeon for their enhancement and pay full price for this second procedure.

Can LASIK be touched up? ›

A LASIK touch up, also known as an enhancement, is commonly done for patients who experience vision deterioration after surgery. Other than vision deterioration, a touch up may be done for surface ablation issues or epithelial ingrowth concerns.

What percent of people need glasses after LASIK? ›

So, Will I Need Glasses After LASIK or Not? The majority of people who undergo LASIK surgery do not need glasses following their procedure. LASIK corrects the vision by reshaping the cornea with a specialized laser and these changes are permanent in the vast majority (96 to 99%) of our patients.


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