How to Find the Right LASIK Practice For You
Not all practices are the same
When you start looking into LASIK, you’ll find plenty of options. We think this is a good thing. But that’s not to say all practices are the same.
So to help you figure out the difference between your local LASIK surgeon and one at a national franchise brand, here are a few things to consider to help you decide which type of practice is best for you.
What Kind of Experience Will You Have?
Everyone starts somewhere. Even the most expert among us were novices once, so there should be room for grace. But it’s also important to consider how you feel in relation to a doctor’s level of expertise and years of practice.
Some patients love working with new doctors and practices, feeling like they’re helping someone get a start in the business. And there can be advantages to newer practices, too. They’re often more likely to run discounts and specials as they build their client base, creating a win-win.
On the other hand, an experienced doctor may provide more comfort and confidence. You can rest assured knowing they’ve performed thousands of successful operations before yours.
But it’s also perfectly normal to feel nervous about having LASIK surgery, and a more experienced doctor can help you feel at ease with their extensive knowledge. This feeling will radiate throughout their practice, helping you handle your nervousness and calm some fears.
This decision is a personal one and at the end of the day, it has to be one you’re comfortable with. Listen to your instinct here.
What Type of Technology Do They Use?
With LASIK technology, there are two camps: Blades and Bladeless.
(While some people are scared by the word “blade,” in the hands of an experienced surgeon, LASIK surgery with a blade is very safe.)
Traditional LASIK uses an instrument called a microkeratome. This method tries to recreate the correction you receive from glasses or contacts.
The microkeratome uses a motorized blade to cut a thin flap into your cornea (the front window of your eye). Once the flap is created, it is lifted so an excimer laser can reshape the area beneath that flap to correct your lens much in the same way glasses would (only on the outside). Once that treatment is complete, the flap is floated back into place so it can heal.
Alternatively, there’s a bladeless technique that much more popular today—wavefront-optimized technology with femtosecond flap.
To begin, a flap with angled edges is created using a femtosecond laser, also called an Intralase laser. (The angles create a firmer hold and a more stable flap in the future.)
Unlike the microkeratome—which cuts through tissue—the IntraLase flap is created using thousands of very tiny laser pulses. Once the flap is created, the excimer laser reshapes the underlying cornea.
It’s important to note, however, that a wavefront-optimized excimer laser is specifically engineered to correct common irregularities that can occur with refractive surgery. This results in a higher quality of vision after the procedure.
When comparing the two techniques, bladeless wavefront-optimized LASIK is the least “invasive” of the two procedures. It also produces better, long-term results like 20/20 vision without glasses, a better chance of achieving greater than 20/20 vision, and potential reductions in losing your corrected vision over time.
While the decision, again, is a personal one, we prefer the bladeless technique. It’s a more reproducible and consistent procedure that allows the flap to heal tighter and stronger than blade-based procedures. This, in turn, reduces the risk of flap complications if an eye injury were to occur in the future.
Also, Alcon's Wavelight® laser system—the one we use at Grene Laser—is one of the world’s newest and fastest systems for laser vision correction, so you’ll know you’re getting the best.
How Much Will a LASIK Procedure Cost?
The first thing you might be wondering is, “Does my insurance cover this?”
The simple (and unfortunate) answer is no. LASIK is considered an “elective procedure” by most insurance companies and is rarely covered.
The cost of LASIK procedures can vary widely based on a number of factors like experience, technology, and geographic location. However, a good ballpark range is between $1500 - $3000 per eye.
While you may see extremely low prices for just a few hundred dollars, these deals are typically “too good to be true.” (Besides, do you really want to bargain shop when it comes to something as important as your eyesight?)
But even if your insurance doesn’t cover the cost of the procedure, there are still options that can help with your out-pocket-cost:
- You can use your FSA or HSA to pay for LASIK
- Some insurance companies offer discounts for LASIK—check with your employer or insurance company for details
- Grene Laser offers a special credit card financing plan through CareCredit—and qualifying patients receive 12 months interest-free
The IRS even considers LASIK a qualifying medical expense and will allow you to deduct some or all of the cost of the procedure from your taxes—including transportation to and from the clinic.
Important Note: There are other stipulations around this type of tax deduction, so be sure to ask your tax professional in advance of your surgery. We are not tax professionals, so we can’t speak to the specifics of your individual case. Best to seek a professional tax advisor.
Grene Laser uses Wavefront (blade-free) technology to perform all LASIK and PRK procedures. We have more than 20-years of experience and have performed more than 10,000 procedures.
While those credentials cover the basics, we still know how important it is for our patients to feel comfortable with our doctors and our facility. We encourage to come in, get a feel for things, and ask all your questions.
If you’re curious how Grene Laser can help you see better, you can get started with a free consultation.