How much does laser eye surgery cost?
Finding out how much your laser eye surgery will cost can be confusing. The price of LASIK can vary dramatically depending on the amount of correction needed, the types of technology being used and the experience and reputation of the surgeon. Advances in LASIK techniques have resulted in laser eye surgery becoming more widely available, though not necessarily more affordable. Laser eye surgery is a long-term investment, so making the right decision is paramount. With this in mind, MEDIGO’s guide to laser eye surgery costs abroad is designed to help you find the best deal on LASIK treatment.
There are many factors which affect the overall cost of laser eye surgery, and obtaining a concrete quote can be difficult. LASIK is classed as an elective surgery in the United States and the United Kingdom, meaning it is considered to be a non-essential procedure which is not usually covered by medical insurance or by the NHS. This means that solid price information is hard to find, with different private providers offering different scales and methods of pricing which many people find confusing.
The cost of laser eye surgery reflects the delicate nature of the procedure and the expertise required to perform it. Many different advanced pieces of equipment are needed, such as excimer lasers, which require a great deal of expense to maintain. Likewise, the many years of training and practical experience needed to become a laser eye surgeon also contribute to the final cost of LASIK.
Cost estimates for laser eye surgery will often not include pre-surgery consultations as well as follow-up checks and aftercare, particularly in the United States. It is important to clarify exactly what is included in the price before deciding to go ahead with the procedure. Prior to surgery, tests are need to determine how thick the cornea is as well as the size of the pupil. These tests may also result in additional costs.
Quotes for laser eye surgery are generally for one eye only, though some clinics offer packages for patients who require surgery in both eyes. The procedure can be completed in the same day and does not require 2 separate surgeries.
Laser eye surgery in the United States
The cost of laser eye surgery in the US varies dramatically between states. Most patients can expect to pay around $2,000 per eye, but the price range can vary from anywhere between $1,000 and $5,000. The majority of major health insurance companies in the US do not cover laser eye surgery. In areas where laser eye surgeons are more in demand, prices tend to be significantly higher.
Laser eye surgery in the United Kingdom
In the UK, laser eye surgery is only provided for those with conditions which will eventually lead to a major or total loss of vision such as diabetic retinopathy. For refractive issues which can be treated with glasses and contact lenses, laser eye surgery is not provided by the National Health Service.
Like in the US, the cost of laser eye surgery in the UK at private clinics differs by region. In London, you can expect to pay around £1,300 ($1,854) per eye. In the north of England and in Scotland, however, it’s possible to find laser eye surgery for around £800 ($1,140).
Laser eye surgery in Australia
Medicare coverage in Australia, much like the NHS in the UK, only provides laser eye surgery in cases where the patient’s vision is compromised. For nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and other treatable conditions, you must cover the full cost of laser eye surgery yourself.
The typical price of laser eye surgery in Australia is $2,500 per eye, with the lowest cost being about $1,500 and top-range treatment costing around $3,700.
The cost of laser eye surgery abroad
Much like in the US, the UK, and Australia, the cost of laser eye surgery abroad can vary depending on a range of different factors such as geographical location, surgeon experience, and clinic reputation.
Turkey is known as one of Europe’s best destinations for ophthalmology treatment, with clinics in Ankara, Istanbul, and Antalya providing laser eye surgery from $954.
India has invested greatly in its healthcare system in recent years, with particular investment in laser eye surgery. With hospitals in the major cities of New Delhi, Bangalore, and Mumbai offering LASIK from as little as $1,003, India is a popular destination for quality and affordable laser eye surgery.
Thousands of patients from around the world travel to Germany each year for healthcare, with some of the world’s leading specialists and hospitals located there. For laser eye surgery, you don’t need to break the bank to find expert treatment in Germany, with clinics in Berlin and Frankfurt offering LASIK from $1,030.
Thailand is a very popular destination for laser eye surgery, particularly with patients traveling from Australia. The capital city Bangkok has a number of specialist ophthalmology clinics providing quality and affordable LASIK. With the beaches of Phuket within reach, many patients choose to combine treatment in Thailand with a vacation.
Like Thailand, Spain is another location where treatment and leisure can be combined. Spain is known as Europe’s center of excellence for ophthalmology treatment, with a number of clinics in cities such as Valencia, Alicante, Madrid, Barcelona, and Palma de Mallorca offering laser eye surgery from $1,139
For those in the United States looking for cheaper laser eye surgery that is still of a high standard, Mexico is a popular choice. LASIK is available from $1,480 in the town of Tijuana, just across the border from the US.
Located at the heart of Europe, Poland is visited by patients from across the continent for laser eye surgery. With clinics in Warsaw and Szczecin, LASIK in Poland can be found for $1,699.
How do I find LASIK abroad?
A combination of high cost, lack of coverage and long waiting times has resulted in many patients looking overseas for their laser eye surgery treatment. Even when the price of travel and accommodation is taken into account, you can still make savings of up to 80% by going abroad for LASIK.
Though the cost of laser eye surgery abroad is significantly cheaper, this does not necessarily mean that the standard of care is any different – there are specialist ophthalmology clinics across the globe offering laser eye surgery that is both high quality and affordable. The lower cost of LASIK in countries such as Hungary, Thailand and Turkey is mostly due to the lower cost of living combined with the lower cost of renting specialist equipment.
It is important to remember, however, that the absence of an international, compulsory regulatory body for LASIK means that standard measure of safety and control can vary from country to country. If you are looking for laser eye surgery overseas but concerned about quality, a good place to start is with the qualifications of the surgeon and the accreditations of the clinics. A surgeon who currently holds some academic involvement, for instance, is likely to have a great deal of past experience and be one of the leaders in the field. Many LASIK specialists abroad have trained and worked in the United Kingdom and the United States, whilst clinics covered by international accreditations such as JCI (Joint Commission International) and the ISO 9000 are likely to be more trustworthy and have more stringent quality standards in place.
Perhaps the greatest concern about traveling for LASIK is the language barrier and cultural differences. Undergoing any surgical procedure can be stressful, and this can be exacerbated in a foreign land where you don’t speak the language. With this in mind, many clinics offer their patients a number of services that aim to make the process of traveling for laser eye surgery as smooth as possible. These include airport transfers, hotel booking, translation and interpretation, currency exchange, and car rental. Most clinics, doctors, and surgeons with experience in treating international patients will speak English. They can also arrange things such as translation of medical records and other administrative services.
Another indication of how well a clinic handles international patients is their reviews from former patients. These can often be the most honest assessments of a clinic or surgeon, though they should not be relied upon completely when coming to decision about where to travel for laser eye surgery.
With the time available to travel abroad often limited, many surgeons will offer both online consultations prior to the procedure and online follow-ups once the treatment is complete. This is particularly important for laser eye surgery, where establishing the exact extent of the correction is vital before the procedure. Online consultations also mean that you can complete the treatment in a short space of time and may only have to be out of the country for a couple of days, with the pre and post operative care carried out at home.
How does laser eye surgery work?
If you are farsighted, nearsighted or have astigmatism, you may find that problems with your vision interfere with day-to-day activities and prevent you from living life to the fullest. Whilst there are many temporary solutions to eye problems, laser eye surgery (LASIK, or laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) is one of the only procedures which provides long-term restoration of good vision without dependence on contact lenses and corrective glasses.
Vision problems usually occur when the cornea (the clear front layer of the eye) is unable to correctly reflect light to the retina. Laser eye surgery works by reshaping the cornea to allow for light to be properly reflected into the retina. This provides a long-lasting and immediate solution to a range of eye problems. The effects of LASIK are evident within a few hours of surgery and will last a lifetime, with only a few follow-up adjustments required later in life. Glasses and contact lenses will never have to be worn.
In simple terms, LASIK works by re-adjusting the shape of the surface of the eye in order to correct the refractive error that has resulted in the nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. The cornea – a thin transparent layer on the surface of the eye – is reshaped using ultraviolet light, which allows light to be reflected properly into the retina once more. With the surgeon able to manipulate the cornea in any way and as much or as little as necessary, laser eye surgery is an incredibly versatile procedure which is able to address a wide range of vision issues. For farsightedness, the shape of the cornea is steepened, whilst for shortsightedness it is flattened.
The healing process for laser eye surgery is quick and painless. The cornea is self-healing and as such is able to seal the corneal flap made during surgery within a few hours. Some patients may experience minor discomfort, but this will soon wear off. Drops are sometimes given to ensure that the corneal area remains free of infection.
In terms of results, normal vision is restored almost immediately after the laser eye surgery procedure. Hazy or blurry vision can sometimes be experienced for a few hours, but the self-healing properties of the cornea mean that it will take no more than a full day until there is a recognizable improvement in vision.
What are the advantages of laser eye surgery?
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