Is Lasik Surgery a Good Investment?

I was comparing costs of contacts, glasses and LASIK. In my situation the bifocals and frames with coated lenses are quite expensive. I understand that I might be able to deduct the cost of LASIK making it more affordable.

Doctor Answers 3

Lasik ends up cheaper than glasses and contact long term

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If you look at what a typical patient spends on glasses, contacts, eyedrops and the surrounding eye doctor visits for these products, the average yearly expenditure is between $700 and $900. If you find a great LASIK surgeon(don't cheap out here) and your fee for both eyes is, say, $4500, then you will break even in about 5 years and be ahead after that. From a dollar standpoint PRK and LASIK are money savers!

Baltimore Ophthalmologist

LASIK is a good investment

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LASIK is a good investment --- what else can you spend money on that you use each and every day, 16 hours a day? Thinking of the value of LASIK to people in those terms, makes the cost of LASIK extremely reasonable.

Combine this monetary value with the value of waking up and seeing, makes LASIK one of the most worthwhile elective procedures!

Sandy Feldman, MD
San Diego Ophthalmologist

Here is why LASIK may be a great investment for you in 2010

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Many people have sticker shock about the cost of LASIK vision correction. While there is some disparity in pricing, when one compares the cost of this procedure to that of other options, it is surprisingly affordable. This depends on many factors which includes whether and the type of contacts being worn, the type and cost of glasses, and other considerations. In general, most people pay about a dollar a day for contact lens wear when one considers the cost of contacts, solutions, exams, etc. This is about the cost of a LASIK procedure over ten years. Now if you also have a pair of backup glasses every two years, it can make the costs higher and therefore the amortization period shorter, say 7-8 years. For those who wear toric contact lenses, these are more expensive to fit and replace, and the glasses worn are usually more expensive also. In this situation where there is some astigmatism (that is why the toric contacts are needed) the costs are higher, and it takes about five years to pay for LASIK.

But what about the person who wants designer glasses with all the "bells and whistles"? The frames alone can be over five hundred dollars, and add the special lenses and it approaches a grand. Then you might also want designer sunglasses -- another big chunk of change, and it is easy to see that even without the eye exams, which are not free, it can be very expensive to have glasses and/or contact lenses. In fact some patients have told us that they spend the amount that LASIK costs in just two years on average, and that is every two years which makes this a much MORE expensive proposition than LASIK.

Because LASIK is a medical and not cosmetic procedure, it is eligible for both flexible spending accounts and in many cases as a tax deduction. While we cannot give any tax advice, and you should definitely discuss this aspect with your employer and/or your accountant, it is possible to pay for some or all of LASIK with pre-tax dollars. In addition, we are among the centers that offer two year no interest financing (wac) which allows a patient to make time payments on their LASIK over 24 months with no additional cost, while they are saving a good piece of this by not needing glasses or contacts during that time (at least in most cases).

Almost half of the patients that we see are over 40 years of age, and many of these people need bifocals which are very expensive, especially the no line variety. While after LASIK it is necessary for some to have reading glasses, these can be purchased for a fraction of the cost of bifocals. Also, over the counter sunglasses, even nice ones are much less expensive than prescription eyewear, unless you want to have Prada, Gucci, or Chanel to sport your new eyes behind.

If you are looking for a good investment for 2010, look no further than your own eyes, or those of your family. Because there are very few investments that make such good sense both financially and in terms of dividends that you can enjoy year after year. As the commercial for a popular credit card would say, "For everything else there is MasterCard, (including paying for your LASIK)........but when it comes to enjoying clear vision without glasses..... priceless."

Jon Dishler, MD, FACS
Greenwood Village 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.