Although the thought of vision correction without glasses or contact lenses can be appealing, laser eye surgery can be a daunting prospect for a number of reasons, one being wondering how much does LASIK eye surgery cost.
For some, LASIK eye surgery costs are inconsequential and their greatest apprehension before undergoing LASIK eye surgery is more the thought of any surgical procedure to the eyes. Rest assured that laser eye surgery has come a long way and is considered to be a highly safe method of surgical vision correction with a very low rate of complications.
LASIK eye surgery is not the only method of surgical vision correction available. Many refractive specialist clinics will offer a suite of various laser eye surgery techniques, with the most appropriate method determined after a comprehensive examination with the ophthalmologist and clinical team. As not all refractive techniques are suitable for all people, bear in mind that LASIK eye surgery may not be the procedure you end up with, which can also adjust the final costs of your vision correction operation.
Why LASIK Eye Surgery?
Although LASIK may not end up being the most suitable procedure for you and your eyes, it is a popular option for surgical vision correction for a reason.
First approved in the mid-1990s, LASIK utilises excimer laser technology to reshape the transparent front surface of the eye known as the cornea. The result is that light passing through the corneal surface is redirected from its original path in order to ensure that it focuses where we need it for sharp vision, which is right on the sensory retina at the back of the eyeball. In an eye with blurry vision, such as one with short sightedness, far sightedness, or astigmatism, light entering the eye comes to a focal point either in front or behind the retina, or both.
As a general rule, LASIK is able to correct prescriptions in the range of:
- Myopia (short sightedness) between -1.00 to -10.00D
- Hyperopia (long sightedness) up to +4.00D
- Astigmatism up to -4.00D
After topical anaesthesia, a flap of superficial corneal tissue is created, either using a manual bladed instrument or another laser tool called a femtosecond laser. The flap remains attached to the eye but is gently put aside to make way for the excimer laser to reshape the deeper corneal layers in a process known as photoablation. The precise areas targeted for photoablation are calculated based on your prescription and your eye’s unique biometric measurements. Once the cornea has been re-sculpted, the flap is repositioned and allowed to self-seal.
LASIK eye surgery has an excellent safety record and is known for its high success rate in Australia. As with any surgical procedure, it does come with a set of inherent risks but the rate of complication typically sits around 1-2% and total vision loss from LASIK has never been recorded in Australia.
One potential complication unique to LASIK relates to the corneal flap created before photoablation with the excimer laser can take place. Typically, the flap is not replaced using stitches but instead tends to self-seal. However, on rare occasions the flap may become dislodged, get debris caught beneath it, or develop inflammation at the interface between the flap and underlying corneal layers. For this reason, people who undertake vocations or hobbies with a risk of physical trauma or are often exposed to very dirty environments are usually counselled toward a more suitable refractive operation such as SMILE® or PRK.
How Much Does LASIK Eye Surgery Cost?
Determining your final LASIK eye surgery cost will depend on several factors, the foremost being ensuring that you are indeed a suitable candidate for LASIK rather than a different refractive procedure altogether.
The average cost of LASIK in Melbourne can vary from around $2000 per eye to over $3000. Although it may be tempting to simply seek out the cheapest eye surgeon you should instead focus on the ophthalmologist’s success rate and do your due diligence by researching their reputation and experience in the field. This concept also applies to patients looking into medical tourism, which refers to travelling overseas in order to receive medical treatment such as eye surgery for a lower cost than what is offered in their home country. Many healthcare systems overseas, particularly those developing countries offering low-cost surgical treatments, fall far below the strict safety standards found in Australia and even the qualifications and training of surgeons overseas may not pass Australian standards.
Consider these factors that contribute to the cost of your LASIK procedure:
- Consultation fees: some laser eye clinics will offer the initial consultation at no additional cost while others may charge a fee for the examination.
- Surgery fees: these costs go into the maintenance and upkeep of the high-grade surgical equipment used during the operation. A portion may also go towards the use of the operating theatre in the hospital or clinic where you undergo your procedure.
- Medicare rebates: refractive eye surgery is not usually eligible for a Medicare rebate in Australia as it is considered an elective procedure. However, subsequent appointments may be able to be claimed under Medicare depending on the nature of your appointment.
- Private health insurance: depending on your level of cover and your insurance provider, there may be a benefit claimable for refractive eye surgery. For accurate information regarding what you are able to claim it is best to speak directly with your insurance provider.
Your total costs for your laser surgery procedure are best determined at the time of consultation with your eye surgeon. Contact us today on (03) 9070 5753 for a consultation.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.