When window shopping for LASIK eye surgeons, be wary of practices who advertise incredibly low or discounted prices. As the old saying goes, “If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.” While paying $499, $299, or even $99 per eye may sound like a great deal, you could be putting yourself at a disadvantage in the long run — and that’s if you actually pay the sales price.
The Classic Bait & Switch
Many surgical practices advertise these low prices just to get people in the door, because 70-80% of those people will book a surgery after their first consultation (Source). However, the likelihood that those people will actually pay the advertised price is slim to none.
Most low-cost laser eye surgeons will use their advertised price as a starting point, but after examining your eyes, they’ll recommend a more expensive route. Here’s why:
- Almost everyone has astigmatism. If you look closely at the fine print, you’ll notice that the discounted price is invalid if you have astigmatism. The thing is, with modern wavefront testing, astigmatism will show up in almost everyone. Meaning, very few people will even be eligible for the advertised price.
- Older model lasers are not that great. LASIK has been around since the late 1990’s and technology has drastically changed since then. Now, we know a lot more about lasers, cutting techniques, and patient preoperative and postoperative care and modern laser technology has been developed to reflect that. Cheap laser eye surgery rates are usually calculated based on treatment with the older model machines. If you want state-of-the-art lasers (and we recommend that you do!), you’ll have to pay extra for them.
- Postoperative care is not included. If you want to schedule a follow up appointment, you’ll have to pay for that too… if he’s still around! It’s not unusual for an ophthalmologist to fly in from out-of-state for a week of LASIK boot camp and fly back home. While you may feel like you got a great deal, chances are you’ll need to have some type of postoperative care. Not only will you have to find a new eye doctor right after surgery, you’ll have to pay for any related follow up appointments out of pocket.
- Retreatment isn’t covered either. What happens if your eyes require a second round of LASIK treatment? While this is not the norm, it certainly is the reality for some. Most reputable ophthalmology practices include laser eye retreatment in their initial cost, so if you need an enhancement after the first few months, you don’t have to pay full-price for another surgery.
Getting a Second Opinion
Your eyes are two of the most vital organs in your body and keeping them healthy means not scheduling surgery during your first LASIK consultation.
Three red flags to watch out for:
1) Your doctor is sounding more like a sales person than a physician.
2) You are directed to a patient counselor to discuss your hesitancy.
3) You feel pressured or uncomfortable during your appointment.
As a rule of thumb, we recommend always getting a second opinion to make sure your best interests are protected, but especially if you’ve experienced one or more of the red flags listed above.
If you don’t come to us first, we would be more than happy to be that second opinion. Fill out an appointment request online or give us a call at 865-579-3290 to meet with one of our doctors.