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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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.

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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.

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

“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 laser eye surgery 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 much does LASIK cost? ›

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.

Is enough for LASIK? ›

The FDA has approved LASIK for patients with up to approximately +6.00 diopters of farsightedness, -12 diopters of nearsightedness, and 6.00 diopters of astigmatism.

Is LASIK a guaranteed 20 20? ›

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.

How long does it take to get 20/20 after LASIK? ›

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.

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.

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.

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 good for lifetime? ›

There is a myth that LASIK, after 10 years, wears off. 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.

What's the success rate for LASIK? ›

Though the success can vary from patient to patient, the vast majority of those who undergo LASIK surgery achieve excellent results. It's estimated that around 92 percent of patients achieve vision of 20/40 or better.

At what age is LASIK not worth it? ›

LASIK eye surgery age limits

At around age 40, your eyes start to change, and you may develop presbyopia – farsightedness due to age – which could affect your candidacy for LASIK. Your eyes change again at around age 60, with age-related vision problems such as cataracts possibly presenting at this time.

How long is it blurry after LASIK? ›

While you will see better the day after surgery, your vision may be a bit blurry or hazy immediately afterward. These temporary vision difficulties usually clear up after the first few weeks. However, it can take about 2 – 3 months before your vision fully stabilizes and your eyes completely heal.

How many times does LASIK fail? ›

The LASIK complication rate is only about 0.3%.

How long do I sleep with glasses after LASIK? ›

Protect Your Eyes

Continue to wear the shields any time you are napping or sleeping at night for 5 days. If pets or children share your bed, you should wear shields for 10 nights after your LASIK procedure.

Why can't I read after LASIK? ›

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.

Can u wash your eyes after 5 days of LASIK? ›

Mozayeni and Dr. Nunnery advise patients that it is okay to bathe or shower normally the day after your LASIK eye surgery. For the first week after your LASIK surgery, it's important to keep water, soap, hair care products and/or washing liquids away from the eye.

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.

Can you have 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 LASIK surgery high risk? ›

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%.

Does LASIK fix vision forever? ›

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.

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.

Is there a better option than LASIK? ›

The four alternatives to traditional LASIK eye surgery are LASEK, Phakic Intraocular Lens Implants, Epi-LASIK, and Refractive Lens Exchange Surgery. If you have thin or flat corneas, LASEK is one of the best LASIK alternatives. The procedure doesn't involve the use of a laser or blade.

Can you scratch your eye after LASIK? ›

As a general rule, you should completely avoid rubbing the eyes for the first two weeks post-op. After this time, it is okay to gently rub your eyes, although it is always best to avoid eye rubbing if possible whether you have had LASIK or not. Rubbing your eyes can have seriously harmful consequences.

How long is LASIK recovery? ›

The LASIK Eye Surgery Recovery Process

The immediate recovery period for LASIK generally lasts six to 12 hours, but it varies by patient, depending on several factors. Most patients see clearly within 24 hours after vision correction surgery, but others take two to five days to recover.

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.

What happens years after LASIK? ›

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 Safe Is LASIK 2022? ›

LASIK is a safe refractive procedure that is approved by the FDA in a wide number of use cases. It is widely considered a very safe eye surgery in 2022. If you choose a reputable facility and have the surgery performed by a trained, competent surgeon, your risk of serious long-term complications is very low.

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.

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.

How long does LASIK last after 40? ›

LASIK can last a lifetime, 20 years, or 10 years. The lasting effects of the procedure depend upon multiple factors, including the age of the patient at the time of the procedure and medical conditions that one may develop as one ages that may affect eyesight.

Is 45 too old for laser eye surgery? ›

There is no upper age limit when it comes to having laser eye treatment, however, your suitability will be determined by the health of your eyes and the thickness of your cornea.

Is 35 too old for LASIK? ›

Generally speaking, you can never be too old for LASIK. To be a suitable candidate, you must have good general health, a stable prescription, the correct corneal anatomy, and of course, be over 18.

Is it harder to see at night after LASIK? ›

Does LASIK Affect Night Vision? Vision disturbances including decreased night vision can occur immediately after a LASIK procedure, according to Mayo Clinic. However, while you may experience difficulty with night vision right after your procedure, it typically will not last beyond a few weeks.

Can I use my phone after LASIK? ›

Since your eyes are still healing, they will be especially sensitive in the first 24 hours after the LASIK procedure. Because of this, it's recommended to wait at least 24 hours before using your phone, computer, tablet or watching TV.

Are eyes weaker after LASIK? ›

LASIK's Most Common After-Effects

Although your eyesight will greatly improve within 24 hours, you may still experience intermittent blurriness and fluctuations in your vision for some time as your eyes adjust to the reshaped cornea.

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.

Should I wear goggles in the shower after LASIK? ›

For the First Two Weeks

If a job requires it, always use the protective goggles. Activities that should be avoided include: Getting water/soap/shampoo in the eyes while showering.

What happens if you cry after LASIK? ›

What happens if I cry after LASIK? It's okay to cry after LASIK. Whether your eyes are watery or you happen to cry for an emotional reason, natural tears won't harm the corneal flaps or hinder the healing process. Crying can actually help keep your eyes lubricated.

What happens if you cry after getting LASIK? ›

While crying for emotional reasons tends to produce more tears, it is still not harmful, even after Lasik. It is considered a good thing to keep the eye lubricated after surgery, as this helps the healing process.

How long does it take for brain to adjust to LASIK? ›

It can take the brain a little time to adjust to the change, however. Every patient is different, but the typical blended vision surgery recovery time is around 6-8 weeks.

What should I do first 24 hours after LASIK? ›

LASIK surgeons recommend resting for the first 24 hours following your laser eye surgery. So avoid reading, computer work, strenuous activity, and television during this period. Don't take a shower the first day and avoid getting soap and water in your eyes for several days.

What shouldn't you do before 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.

Is LASIK free in UK? ›

It depends on what eye condition you have. Laser surgery is available on the NHS for eye conditions that, without treatment, can lead to loss of vision.

How long does LASIK Last per eye? ›

Typically, LASIK lasts about 10 years before natural deterioration in eyesight (as comes with age) may cause an altered dependency on corrective lenses. However, these results can vary widely depending on each patient's unique scenario.

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.

Is LASIK a big deal? ›

Experts suggest less than 1 percent of people who undergo LASIK experience serious surgical complications, such as infection or dislocation of the corneal flap that is cut during the procedure. The rate of less serious long-term eye and vision complications caused by the procedure is likely higher, but still low.

Can astigmatism be cured? ›

While astigmatism cannot be cured, glasses and contact lenses can be used to treat the blurry vision that results from having astigmatism. For those wishing for a more permanent solution to blurry vision, refractive surgery is required.

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.

Do I have to wear sunglasses forever after LASIK? ›

You'll be able to see clearly about a day after the process, although the timeframe will vary by person. You will still need to wear sunglasses after LASIK surgery. You won't have to wear them forever, but you will need them after the procedure to protect your eyes.

Is 45 too late for LASIK? ›

The most common range for LASIK patients is between 20 and 45 years old. Vision prescriptions often stabilize in the mid-twenties, so this is a natural time for people to consider LASIK eye surgery.

Does LASIK leave a scar? ›

LASIK generally leaves little to no scars. There may be a minor circular scar at the edge of the flap on the cornea, which is visible only in high power magnification.

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.

What is the safest eye surgery? ›

Laser vision correction (LVC) is considered the safest eye correction surgery to obtain a “specs-free” life for patients with myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism (blurring of vision due to improper shape of the eye).


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