Different Types of LASIK

Jul 15, 2015

The Costs Associated With Different Types of LASIK

To understand the cost of LASIK a patient should understand the choices they have when choosing a LASIK provider. It is common for a patient to think the doctor will make all the choices for them related to the LASIK procedure. True, the doctor will address many of the candidacy questions. However, there are still some key decisions that are left up to the patient, mostly driven by which LASIK Provider the patient selects to perform his or her LASIK. You should be fully informed on these key decisions. After all, they are your eyes.

A patient considering LASIK in Indianapolis has four (4) primary areas of choice that usually determine the price of their procedure.

  • Prescription Tiered Pricing Provider or Flat Fee Provider – One of the first questions you should ask your potential LASIK provider is, “Do you charge a flat fee for all eyeglass prescriptions or do you base your fees on the severity of my eyeglass prescription or astigmatism?” A patient should try to find this fact out before committing to visiting a particular provider’s office. At 20/20 Institute we provide a simple and straightforward single fee that the patient is guaranteed to receive during their first phone call and to have for their procedure.
  • Bladed or Bladeless Flap Creation – In the first step of the LASIK procedure, the surgeon creates a thin corneal flap of tissue and lays it back out of the way prior to reshaping the cornea to treat the patients underlying eyeglass prescription with an excimer laser. This first step of flap creation can be performed using a 1990s surgical device called a Bladed Microkeratome or a more advanced device, a Bladeless Femtosecond Laser. Most patients today choose the bladeless laser flap creation for obvious reasons. The more advanced bladeless all-laser option is more expensive. 100% of LASIK Patients at 20/20 Institute now receive a Bladeless Flap.
  • Which Corneal Reshaping Laser Technology – This is probably the single most important question patients can ask when it comes to visual outcome related to their LASIK procedures, especially as it pertains to their night vision after LASIK. The FDA approved the use of excimer lasers (the type of laser used in LASIK) in 1995 in the United States. When these corneal-reshaping lasers were first introduced they used a reshaping method known today as standard or traditional LASIK. Although this type of reshaping does do an effective job of treating low to moderate prescriptions, it has a higher incidence of night glare and haloes. It is also less effective in treating farsightedness and astigmatism. Many LASIK providers still utilize this older technology on their patients’ eyes today. While this type of laser technology is less expensive for both the provider and sometimes the patient, the majority of doctors agree that the more advanced and effective forms of LASIK are based on Wavefront Technology (Wavefront-Optimized® LASIK) corneal reshaping. These more advanced forms of LASIK give the patient a greater probability of the best visual result and the best quality of night vision. A patient should be sure as to what reshaping technology will be used for their treatment and what they are being charged for that technology. Of course, when it comes to the probability of your visual result, LASIK is a “you get what you pay for” scenario. 100% of LASIK Patients at 20/20 Institute now receive Wavefront-Optimized® corneal reshaping.
  • Vision Commitment Period – Although LASIK is one of the most accurate and effective medical procedures performed in the world today, it has a probability of outcome just like all other medical procedures. There are no outcome guarantees in any medical procedure. Therefore, every LASIK patient has a chance of needing an initial enhancement or refinement (a second procedure) to refine their vision within six months of their original LASIK procedure outcome. Experience shows that at 20/20 Institute, this chance is around 5%, including all prescriptions that are treated. Long term, a patient’s prescription can change after having LASIK. The chance a patient may need a Refinement after their first year of follow up care can vary greatly. Depending on many factors, the chance of needing a future refinement is anywhere from 10-35%. Patients should check to see if the cost of an enhancement or refinement is included in the original fee they have paid for LASIK. More importantly a patient should be clear on the long-term vision commitment tied to the LASIK plan they are choosing. The term “Lifetime Vision Commitment” (or similar) is used very frequently in the field of LASIK, and very frequently the definitions are different from provider to provider. 20/20 Institute provides the most comprehensive, lowest long term cost LASIK Lifetime Plan in the country.

The 3 important Lifetime Vision Commitment elements to watch out for:

  • Patient may want to check to be sure that All LASIK refinements are at NO CHARGE to the patient, not simply a reduced charge.
  • The commitment is a 20/20 LASIK Vision Commitment. 20/20 is the standard of vision that is universally considered to be clear vision. Unfortunately patients need to be careful. Some LASIK providers may offer a Lifetime Vision Commitment that requires a patient’s vision after LASIK to deteriorate to a certain level before the LASIK provider will provide a complimentary refinement or enhancement. Patients should be fully educated on these details and know what they are agreeing to for their future LASIK care.
  • Lastly, some Lifetime Vision Commitments may require the patient to be “perfect” in maintaining annual eye exams with their LASIK provider (or sometimes at any eye doctor) at an additional annual fee of up to $150 per year in order to keep the Lifetime Vision Commitment valid. Miss an eye exam by one day in a year period and you may void the Lifetime Commitment you purchased. Of course, required annual eye exams become an ongoing cost to the patient in order to maintain this type of Lifetime LASIK commitment that has already been purchased. By example, at $150/year, over a 10-year period, that is an additional $1500 to keep the Lifetime Vision Commitment active. Patients may want to be sure that their Lifetime Vision Commitment does not require annual eye exams to be valid.