Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Cost of LASIK

The cost of LASIK surgery is generally considered to be high because of the idea of using lasers and other high tech equipment. However, the cost of LASIK continues to come down due to improvements being made to the overall process. Don’t simply go to the lowest cost when choosing a surgeon; consider the following that may increase cost.
· Leasing or purchasing of the laser as well as maintenance of the blades or lasers can increase LASIK cost.
· Per eye fee to the developer or manufacturer of the laser to pay for the cost of the machine.
· Gowns, masks, gloves, medications, or surgical solutions to keep the operating room sterile and safe.
· Advertising and insurance for the office.
· The cost of LASIK can be reduced if the surgeon is part of the staff, eliminating his fee.

When you are considering different LASIK surgery opportunities you should question your surgeon on what is included in the cost of the LASIK surgery.
· What is and isn’t included in the LASIK cost?
· What will I be charged for if complications occur or enhancements are needed?
· What is the cost for LASIK medications such as anti-inflammatory or painkillers?
· What is the cost for temporary contact lenses if they are needed after LASIK?
· What is the cost of the follow-up visits related to LASIK?

Finally, you should get in contact with your insurance company to determine if they will cover the cost of the LASIK surgery. Some insurance companies don’t cover LASIK cost because they consider the surgery to be cosmetic. If financing is not a problem you should strongly consider using the LASIK surgeon who best suits your needs and concerns.

The FDA considers the average cost of LASIK surgery to be $1,344 in 2005, a significant decrease from the original numbers listed in 2002 of nearly $1,600. Many consider this LASIK cost to be marginal in relation to the comfort created by newly improved vision.

What to Look for in a LASIK Surgeon

After considering if you are the right candidate for LASIK you should then begin shopping for a LASIK surgeon. Even though the risks of LASIK are quite a bit less than normal surgeries, you should still take researching a LASIK surgeon seriously. Take the normal precautions of comparing, setting criteria, doing your homework, and understanding what will happen in the surgery.

Compare what each LASIK surgeon relies on as their procedure of choice. Do they rely on the traditional LASIK that uses a blade to make the incision or do they use “bladeless” InterLase lasers to make all of the cuts. Ask what they believe is most reliable and what they do the most.

Set forth a base of criteria that you will hold each LASIK surgeon to. Don’t base it solely on cost or on the doctor’s experience, but see if they perform what you feel most comfortable with. This decision will affect YOU for the rest of YOUR life, not the surgeon’s.

Do your homework to avoid scams related to the “20/20 vision or guaranteed money back”. Make sure you check these doctors against the consumer affairs office or better business bureau to ensure that they do good practice. Understand what your rights are when it comes to having surgery and LASIK in general.

Understand what can happen during the surgery and ask your potential LASIK surgeon how they handle a situation that could potentially end a procedure. There is a chance a mistake could lead to permanent damage to your eye without even a chance to have corrective surgery.

Ask the same questions of your LASIK surgeon in relation to how he deals with situations after surgery. Question your LASIK surgeon about how they handle migration of the flap, inflammation or infection, intensive eye drop treatments, or additional procedures after the initial surgery.

LASIK surgeons are also held to an FDA standard regarding the type of laser used during the surgery. Make sure you find out what laser your potential LASIK surgeon uses and double-check it against the FDA’s approved list.

Bladeless LASIK

While LASIK is a relatively low risk surgery, bladeless LASIK eliminates the one area where most complications arise, the metal blade. Aside from the fear it strikes into the heart of those who fear traditional surgery, it still has a very human error rate in a very difficult low-percentage situation.

While many people who are rejected for LASIK are rejected for thin corneas, bladeless LASIK offers these people a second chance. IntraLase lasers offer a more controlled environment in the bladeless LASIK surgery. Instead of cutting through with a blade, the laser is guided by computer technology.

The IntraLase laser allows for more curvature during the bladeless LASIK surgery, reducing the margin for error. The fact that it is a laser and not a blade also lends to the idea of avoiding infections or contaminations. Bladeless LASIK prevents long-term recovery that accompanies most surgeries.

Prior to LASIK a lot of people had unsafe or imperfect surgeries to correct vision that eliminated them from the opportunity to try LASIK. With bladeless LASIK, these potential customers get a second chance because of the near 100% success rate of the procedure.

Some patients follow traditional LASIK with follow-ups to make other corneal flaps or reduce eye-irritation. Bladeless LASIK with InterLase appear to have reduced the possibility of this happening.

The natural reaction to the thought of bladeless LASIK is that it eliminates the need for a practiced and season doctor to perform the surgery. While it may be true to a point, the fact is that bladeless LASIK requires a good deal of knowledge in physics and engineering.

While surgeons may have only been required to have knowledge of medicine and anatomy in the past, they now must be computer savvy. The advantages of bladeless LASIK seem to boil down to two basic ideas, a higher success rate and less chance of follow-up procedures.

What is Lasik Surgery?

The last few years have seen sweeping change in the medical field by way of the revolution in vision, LASIK eye surgery. Many people with vision problems get excited at the thought of corrective surgery. But just what is LASIK eye surgery?

Refractive errors in the cornea are corrected by lasers in LASIK surgery. The laser precisely controls the tearing of the corneal tissue, reshaping the cornea and changing its focus. LASIK surgery is a very simple two step process:
1. A slight, thin flap of tissue is created on the outside layer of the eye or cornea. The flap helps heal and provide comfort on the way to better vision.
2. The doctor then folds open the flap on the inner cornea to correct the vision. Finally, the flap is closed to its original position and sealed with stitches.

The word LASIK stands for Laser-Assisted In Sutu Keratomieusis , a process which reshapes the cornea to refract light in the lens. While LASIK surgery isn’t close to perfect, it is a very viable and increasingly safe surgery.

Improvements have been made by government regulations regarding the types of lasers allowed for LASIK surgery. A good idea for those who are considering the surgery is to research the types of lasers used by local doctors during LASIK.

As improvements are made and doctors are regulated the cost of LASIK surgery continues to drop, making it a possibility for some who could only dream of such improvement a few years back. Some surgeries are referred to as “bladeless” or “custom” LASIK, meaning they are more efficient and tailored to the individual.

LASIK surgery is an exciting prospect to anyone who has suffered from vision problems in the past. However, much like buying a car or house, it is important to do your homework first.