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Invest in your vision with LASIK

Posted Dec 06 2009 9:39pm

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.

There are several articles written about how LASIK, even at $6000 is cost effective when compared to these alternative expenses.  And these articles warn that it is worth spending this much to get the all blade free type of LASIK from and experienced provider, with the latest in diagnostic and laser technology.  Fortunately for those who live or travel to visit us in Denver can get this state of the art care for much less because this is a very competitive market.  Even though we were designated by Goldline Research, and listed in Forbes Magazine (November 2009) as one of the "Top 10 LASIK Centers" in the country, we offer this care for a modest $3495.  This is amazing in itself in that this is $5 less than what we charged for LASIK back in 1995 when we first started performing the procedure.  Today patients get a much better LASIK for less than what it cost 15 years ago, and with about 50,000 cases more experience.  More importantly from the standpoint of cost, this is almost half of what other providers successfully charge for the same care and it is twice as affordable as a result.

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."

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