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LASIK for Astigmatism Overview
LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) is a laser-assisted eye surgery that changes the shape of your cornea. This is the clear front surface of your eye.
One common eyesight problem it treats is blurry or distorted vision from astigmatism. Approximately 1 in 3 people have this condition.7
Astigmatism can occur when the shape of your cornea is steeper in one direction than the other. For example, it would look more like a football than a basketball.
Vision problems begin with improper focus. To see images clearly, light rays must move through the eye and meet at the back of the eye.
If you’re nearsighted, rays meet in the middle of your eye. If you’re farsighted, they meet behind your eye.
LASIK surgery involves removing a certain amount of tissue so rays meet in the proper spot.
If you have astigmatism, your eyesight problem is slightly more complex. Your eye is shaped irregularly, which makes light rays fall in different areas of your eye. Some light rays may focus behind the eye, while some may focus in the middle of the eye.
How Much Does LASIK for Astigmatism Cost?
The average price of LASIK in the U.S. is around $4,200 for both eyes.8
Even if your doctor recommends LASIK as a good treatment for your astigmatism, you may still want to consider the cost.
LASIK surgery is one of the most expensive procedures to treat astigmatism. However, it’s very effective in correcting various vision problems.
Keep in mind: If you’re buying contact lenses and glasses every year, LASIK will save you money in the long run.
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Factors That Affect LASIK Costs
Your eye doctor will speak to you about the cost of LASIK before you commit to surgery. They’ll likely evaluate the cost per eye. This is because each of your eyes may require different amounts of testing, treatment, and follow-up care.
The price of LASIK can also vary based on:
- Treatment location
- Eye doctor’s expertise
- Type of LASIK technology your doctor uses
- Whether you require a second procedure or additional services
Does Insurance Cover LASIK for Astigmatism?
Most health insurance plans don’t cover laser eye surgery, including LASIK. This is because insurance companies like Cigna consider LASIK a cosmetic procedure.2 In other words, it is not medically necessary.
However, some insurance options may help lower the costs.
Certain plans offer laser surgery benefits, which can help offset surgery costs. Benefits differ by plan type. You will need to research your plan’s coverage before committing to surgery.
In most cases, though, you’ll need to pay for LASIK out of pocket.
Always check your insurance coverage before committing to a surgery like LASIK. You can also ask your eye doctor’s office if your plan has vision benefits that would cover some fees.
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Other Ways to Save Money on LASIK
There are various ways to save money on LASIK, including:
Many insurance companies offer plans for medical procedures like LASIK. Some plans even come with no interest.
This means if you pay back the cost of the surgery on time, you don’t have to pay any interest. You’ll typically need to cover the fees within 24 months.
Be careful, though, because fees are high if you don’t pay on time.
Flexible spending accounts (FSAs) are sometimes used to pay for LASIK eye surgery. An FSA enables you to send pre-tax income from your paycheck into an account for out-of-pocket health expenses.
In 2021, the maximum yearly employee contribution to an FSA was $2,750. As such, you’ll likely need more than your FSA to cover the procedure.
Another option is to add tax-free dollars to a health savings account (HSA) to help cover LASIK surgery. To qualify for an HSA, you must enroll in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP).
You can add to your HSA every pay period. In 2021, the annual limit was $3,600 and $7,200 for family coverage.
Unlike an FSA, any unspent dollars in your HSA roll over at the end of the year. You can use the money the following year or further in the future.
You may be able to save enough money to cover the full cost of LASIK surgery by contributing to your HSA for 2 or more years. This will depend on your budget.
If you serve in the U.S. military, specific corrective vision surgery options may be available to you for free. This includes LASIK.
Your eligibility depends partly on the nature of your duties.
Limited Time Offers
LASIK discounts commonly pop up on radio, TV, and billboard advertisements.
Be careful when you see offers or discounts that sound too good to be true.
Some surgeries offer seemingly low prices on LASIK. Advertisements may suggest that you can have the surgery for hundreds of dollars rather than thousands. These prices typically do not reflect the full cost of care.
These advertised prices may include the standalone surgery but usually not the cost of:
- Your preoperative screening exam
- Advanced technologies, including corneal mapping
- Astigmatism correction
- Extra corrections if your vision doesn’t clear
You typically can’t avoid these fees with LASIK, and they add up.
It’s essential to have a screening exam before surgery to have a better idea of how much LASIK will cost. Inform your doctor of all vision and health problems so they can accurately assess your needs.
If you’re proactive, you can find a reputable limited-time offer or discount in your area. Make sure to do your research before booking with a discounted service. If it doesn’t feel genuine, trust your gut.
Special Group Pricing
Some surgeries offer special prices for groups like:
- Trade unions
- Professional associations
- Sports clubs
To access these prices, you’ll need to show proof that you belong to the group.
If your group hasn’t enrolled yet, your head of management or HR will need to arrange the agreement.
Alternatives for Astigmatism Correction
There are various alternatives for astigmatism correction, including:
Glasses and Contact Lenses
If you haven’t tried glasses or contact lenses, it may be a good idea to do so before asking about LASIK.
Most eyesight insurance plans cover new eyeglass lenses or contact lenses every 12 months.
PRK stands for photorefractive keratectomy. It’s a laser eye surgery that predates LASIK.
Because LASIK is more comfortable than PRK, it’s more common. However, PRK is more affordable. Costs range between $1,000 and $3,000 per eye.
PRK is considered elective surgery like LASIK, so insurance usually doesn’t cover it.
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