On the flip side, make sure the clinic you choose specializes in refractive surgery. There is a lot of money to be made in LASIK and related surgery, and thus some clinics have begun offering it as a sideline to other medical services.
Don't be shy about asking about the background of the surgeons. Find out what training they have had and how long they have been practicing refractive surgery.
How Much Will It Cost?
Most insurance carriers do not yet cover LASIK or other vision correction procedures, classifying them as cosmetic surgery. However, you may be able to use funds in a flex-spending account for tax benefits, and most clinics offer payment plans.
While every major city has eye centers advertising LASIK procedures for a few hundred dollars per eye, according to AllAboutVision.com, less than 3 percent of LASIK procedures actually cost less than $1,000 per eye.
Basically, the worse your vision, the more you will pay. However, prices for the procedure have stabilized over the last two years, with the average per eye sitting at $1,900. That usually includes the diagnostic evaluation, the procedure itself, any post-surgical drops and several follow-up visits.
Other factors can increase the total fee for the procedure. The Intralase all-laser option will cost about $250 more. Also, "custom" LASIK using Wavefront technology to create a 3-D map of the eye's distortions will cost from $200 to $500 more per eye.
In the end, however, it is far more important to choose the right surgeon than it is to get a bargain. Getting two or three price quotes is a good idea, but the reputation and experience of the surgeon must be factored into the final decision.
What To Expect
Your eyes have always been delicate, but after LASIK, they are even more so. It is critical to avoid any impact or shock to the eyes for as long as your doctor specifies. If sports such as football, racquetball, basketball, martial arts or other pursuits are part of your weekly life, you'll need to take a break from them for a while.
For the majority of patients, the results are 20/20 vision or better, according to the LASIK Vision Institute. According to the FDA, there are some common things that may be experienced for varying periods of time after surgery, including:
Light sensitivity:: This may last one to two weeks after the procedure. If it persists, contact your doctor. It is important to wear sunglasses outdoors and to avoid squinting as much as possible.
Hazy or blurred vision: This may occur especially upon waking and after prolonged periods of reading or computer use for one to two weeks after the procedure. Do not rub your eyes! If your vision remains blurred for a prolonged period, contact your doctor.
Dry eyes: This is very common up to six weeks after surgery. Your doctor will likely send home samples of lubricating eye drops and recommend that you use them regularly while awake. It's important to note that artificial tears are not the same as lubricating drops.
Glare or halos when driving at night: For a month or so after surgery, this is not uncommon. The first time you drive at night after surgery, have another licensed driver available in case the glare is too distracting. The problem should diminish over time.
Fluctuations in vision: These can be the most disturbing problems, and they can last for up to six months. You may notice problems reading small print or other minor dysfunctions that come and go. If any of them persist, or start to occur more frequently, be sure to let your doctor know. Keep track of the disturbances by type and duration.
By your six-month follow-up visit, your eyes should have stabilized greatly. Your doctor should do a thorough evaluation and let you know what if any further treatment -- if any -- will be necessary.
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