ICL Implants - Is $8,000 Too Much?

Hi I'm 20 years old I've been wearing glasses since 9... I hate it! I've gone to a few doctors and I've been told lasik does to fix high myopia so my surgery has to be icl implants... my ant had it done a long time ago so I kinda figured that was my only choice as well my myopia is to high and I have some astigmatism... but I'm concerned with the price.. I would pay anything to take my glasses off but it seems out of my reach

Doctor Answers 5

ICL Implants to Correct High Myopia

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Intraocular Contact Lenses(ICL) are a wonderful choice, especially if your nearsightedness is too high, or your cornea is too thin, to have Laser Vision Correction(Lasik or PRK). You can see my current blog and videos that go into greater detail about the procedure on my website. There are several reasons the cost of ICL(about $4000/eye) is higher than traditional Lasik or PRK(about $2500/eye). One is that ICL surgery is performed in an Ambulatory Surgery Center(ASC), rather than a private office, so there is a facility cost to use the ASC. Second, the ICL procedure is preceded by a laser procedure to create two small holes in the iris of your eye. This is done to prevent the pressure of your eye going up after ICL surgery and, again, there is a charge/cost for using this device. Third, and most significant, the surgeon has to actually buy the ICL from the manufacturer. So, all of these expenses are paid by the surgeon out of the up front surgery cost, so the appearance that the surgeon is pocketing alot of money on this procedure is erroneous. I love ICL surgery, but , it is interesting, from a strictly financial standpoint, I make less money doing this procedure than Lasik, PRK or cataract surgery.....but.....it is worth it!! You will love it.

Baltimore Ophthalmologist

High Costs of Eye Surgery

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Surgeons have had great success in treating patients with pseudophakic lens implants (often called implantable contact lenses) and these patients are some of the happiest patients after having the procedure.  ICL implants are especially useful in patients with high amounts of near-sightedness and far-sightedness or in patients with thin corneas.  The cost of the surgery is unfortunately high for most people so many people who could benefit  are unable to afford being treated.  Sadly, the price will probably not drop in the future either as health care costs continue to rise.  There are often financing methods available which allow monthly payments that can make it more affordable.  As long as refractive surgery, including LASIK, is considered a cosmetic procedure, patients will most often be unable to use health insurance to pay for it.  It is a costly investment but most people consider it to be very worth it.  Often it can be considered more valuable than the new car which drops in value after leaving the car lot.  

Jay Bansal, MD
San Francisco Ophthalmologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

The Cost of ICL

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Cost of implanting the ICL will always be considerably more than the cost of corneal refractive procedures like PRK or LASIK. This is simply because a lot more goes into the ICL procedure:
  • Cost of the ICL
  • Cost of Ambulatory surgical center
  • Anesthesia
  • Surgeon's fee
  • Cost of preparatory laser 
  • Peripheral Iridotomies needed to prepare the eye for accepting the ICL
  • Complex measurements and sizing needed for the calculations to choose the proper lens
  • Post operative care
Also please keep in mind that this is an intra-ocular procedure that requires a completely different skill set than the laser vision correction procedures (it is more complex). Cost of the ICL procedure usually also includes correction of astigmatism and usually any needed enhancements that could be performed with laser. Some doctors try to reduce the costs by performing the procedure in their laser suites rather than in the surgical center. My view is that all intra-ocular procedures must be performed in the Sterile Environment possible only in the true operating room.

Incidentally, for most refractive surgeons ICLs are not a profit center and carry much lower margins than LASIK or PRK. While more expensive, the reversible nature of the procedure and the better quality of vision makes the procedure well worth it for some patients.

Whether to chose an ICL or LASIK is a decision that should be made after a thorough eye examination and in consultation with a refractive surgeon who performs both proecudures. Remember how "good a candidate" you are for a procedure will often be affected by the surgeons skill set as well as the patients corneal thickness and strength of the prescription. If all one has is a hammer, everything starts looking like a nail!

Arthur Benjamin, MD
West Hollywood Ophthalmologist

ICL cost

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$4000 to $6000 per eye is the normal range for ICL. It is expensive because the lens itself is expensive and the use of the surgical center is expensive. Sometimes this price will include an additional laser treatment after the surgery to correct any residual astigmatism. Many providers including myself offer flexible financing options. 

Ilan Cohen, MD
New York Ophthalmologist

Health Insurance doesn't cover Visian ICL

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Unfortunately, like LASIK, health insurances don’t cover Visian ICL for most people.  Visian ICL surgery runs from $8,000 to $12,000 for both eyes, but it should last a lifetime.

Christopher Coad, MD
New York Ophthalmologist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.