Eye laser surgery, also known as LASIK, is a quick outpatient procedure that takes about 30 minutes. The typical cost of eye laser surgery ranges from $500 to $2,500 per eye. A quality LASIK vision correction from a skilled practitioner can be had for about $1,000 per eye. IntraLase bladeless procedures and custom LASIK cost more than the regular surgery.
Patients should choose their surgeon according to skill and experience rather than price. Very low prices might indicate an inexperienced surgeon or a doctor who performs so many procedures each day that patients feel rushed. Some clinics advertise low prices, but fail to mention that
it's very difficult to qualify for those prices. Patients with significant vision loss will end up paying much more than the quoted cost for their eye laser surgery.
Once a surgeon has been selected, they will meet with the patient prior to surgery to screen for conditions which would make them an unsuitable candidate for LASIK. Such conditions include glaucoma, diabetes, and any compromised healing ability. Doctors also look for signs of eye infection, injury, or corneal scarring. The
patient's health history will be noted during this consultation. Pregnant or nursing women are advised to postpone their eye laser surgery procedure.
On the day of surgery, patients are asked to arrive with a clean face free of cosmetics or lotions. The ophthalmologist administers numbing eye drops. Then a suction ring is affixed to one of the
patient's eyes. A tiny blade called a microkeratome is used to gently create a flap in the
eye's outermost layer. During IntraLase eye laser surgery; this flap is created with a laser instead of a blade. The incision forms a circular shape above the iris, or colored part of the eye. Only a tiny hinge is left intact to connect the flap to the surrounding eye tissue.
Next, the surgeon folds back the corneal flap and uses an excimer laser to sculpt the deeper surface of the cornea beneath. The resulting change in shape gets rid of surface irregularities and improves the
patient's vision. When the sculpting is finished, the flap is repositioned. It will heal on its own without the need for stitches. The surgery is then repeated on the other eye. Patients typically return to work within 24 hours.
After eye laser surgery, many patients experience dry or irritated eyes. Rubbing the eyes when this occurs can interfere with the healing process, so patients should avoid doing so. Additionally, post-surgical patients should refrain from reading and other eye-straining activities for a couple of days. They should also take care not to get water in their eyes for several days following eye laser surgery.
Dry eyes, blurred vision, and the feeling of a foreign object in the eye can persist for up to three months. Luckily, lubricating eye drops can alleviate these symptoms. The ophthalmologist will be able to recommend good eye drops and instruct the patient in their proper use. Patients with light sensitivity can wear dark glasses to minimize their discomfort.
Many eye laser surgery patients simply go to sleep when they return home after the procedure. When they awaken, their vision has already noticeably improved. The full effects of eye laser surgery can take two to three months to fully manifest. Once they do,
it's generally agreed that LASIK is well worth the cost and the mild discomfort.