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LASIK Eye Surgery Guide (2023): Costs, Benefits, & More

Tom Tooma, M.D., Founder/Medical Director

Medically Reviewed by Tom Tooma, M.D., Founder/Medical Director

Fact Checked
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Last Updated

LASIK is a surgical procedure used to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. LASIK eye surgery is meant to help people who struggle to see clearly without the use of glasses or contacts.

LASIK is one of the safest and most effective surgical procedures available. LASIK has a 99% patient satisfaction rate.

98% of NVISION patients with myopia of 7 Diopters or less and 3 Diopters of astigmatism or less, will see 20/20 with both eyes open after Lasik surgery. 68% of patients who choose Topography-Guided Lasik (CONTOURA) will see even better than 20/20, which is 20/16.

The risk of potential complications is extremely low. Your doctor can help you to better understand the risks versus benefits.

What Is LASIK?

LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) is a form of refractive eye surgery used to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. It is a two step procedure. In the first step the surgeon creates a flap in the cornea.  A computer guided Femtosecond Laser is used to create the flap. If the cornea was a 500 page book, the flap is at page 100 – it is two human hairs thick. That step takes 30 seconds. The flap is like the cover of a book. It is hinged at the 12 O’clock position of the cornea. The second step utilizes an Excimer Laser to reshape the cornea by precisely removing tissue from the cornea. It is computer guided. It is like removing a few pages from the book. That step typically takes less than 20 seconds. Once the Excimer Laser treatment is complete, the flap is restored to it’s original position – like putting the cover of the book back in it’s place. The procedure is painless. Anesthetic eye drops are used to numb the eye. No needles are used. The procedure is highly precise and sophisticated. The skill of the surgeon is paramount to the safety of the procedure and the likelihood of achieving 20/20 or better vision. It takes less than 5 minutes per eye.

Who Can Benefit From LASIK?

LASIK is a refractive surgery, meaning it can help correct refractive errors, such as these:

  • Myopia (nearsightedness)
  • Hyperopia (farsightedness)
  • Astigmatism

It is approved by the FDA for people with a minimum age of 18 years old.

Success Rate of LASIK

LASIK is one of the safest and most effective surgical procedures available in medicine. LASIK has a 99% patient satisfaction rate. 98%+ of NVISION patients with myopia of 7 Diopters or less and 3 Diopters of astigmatism or less, will see 20/20 with both eyes open after Lasik surgery. 68% of patients who choose Topography-Guided Lasik (CONTOURA) will see even better than 20/20, which is 20/16.

The rate of significant, long-lasting complications is extremely low, in the order of less than 1%. At NVISION, the risk of LASIK surgery is as low as it can be anywhere in the world. The safety of the procedure is highly dependent on the surgeon’s experience and the technology used. NVISION surgeons utilize the most advanced technology available in the world. Surgone skill, the most advanced technology and the use of sophisticated outcomes analysis software gives our surgeons the highest likelihood of achieving 20/20 vision SAFELY. NVISION also offers a Lifetime Commitment. You will have the peace of mind that if you ever needed an enhancement in the future, your NVISION surgeon will offer that at a minimal cost of $250 per eye.

While all surgery carries risk, the FDA and other medical experts consider LASIK very safe.

Success Rates of LASIK for Nearsightedness & Farsightedness

Who Is Not Eligible for LASIK?

If you have nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, you are likely an excellent candidate for Lasik. Your NVISION surgeon, after performing a comprehensive battery of diagnostic tests, will tell you which Lasik procedure is best suited for you. If you are deemed to be a non-candidate, we offer other procedures such as PRK, SMILE, EVO ICL, and Refractive Lens Exchange.

Certain individuals are not candidates for LASIK. For example, people whose corneas are thin or oddly shaped cannot always safely have Lasik surgery performed.

Patients with certain autoimmune conditions may be candidates for LASIK, however, their candidacy should be determined on a case by case basis. If a patient has severe dry eyes, that condition may need to be treated before they can be eligible for LASIK. The SMILE procedure or the EVO ICL procedure is more ideal for patients with dry eyes.

Generally speaking, a person needs to have stable, good eye health to benefit from LASIK. Even if you are not a candidate for LASIK, alternative procedures are often available to correct your vision. Some people who are not eligible for LASIK can have their vision corrected via photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), SMILE, EVO ICL, Refractive Lens Exchange, or other corrective surgeries.

happy family looking off at sunset
People who cannot or do not want to wear glasses or contacts are well positioned to reap the benefits of LASIK. Even people who believe their glasses or contacts are acceptable might find that LASIK’s benefits make their lives just a bit better.

LASIK: How It Works


You’ll first have a consultation with an NVISION LASIK surgeon to determine your eligibility for the procedure. This will involve a fairly noninvasive but thorough eye exam.

Our doctor will take measurements of your cornea, assessing its thickness and mapping out its topography, in addition to other very sophisticated diagnostic tests. These measurements will later be used by our surgeons to reshape your cornea during the procedure.

If your doctor believes you are a good candidate for LASIK vision correction, our patient counselor will schedule you for surgery. LASIK is usually done as an outpatient procedure at an NVISION office.

The Procedure

LASIK doesn’t take very long — about 10 minutes for both eyes, though most of this time is in prep and recovery. It is a straightforward outpatient procedure. You will need someone to drive you home following surgery.

The surgery itself is painless, as your eye will be numbed with medicated drops.

The laser has an eye tracker so that every pulse emitted by the laser is delivered exactly where it is supposed to be. Using a Femtosecond laser, your doctor will create a flap in your cornea. The Excimer laser will then reshape the cornea using the precise preoperative measurements to correct your refractive error. The flap is then closed and put back into position.

At that point, the procedure is done. Your doctor will talk to you about the next steps to ensure a healthy recovery.

Recovery & Aftercare

LASIK recovery is usually a straightforward process. Talk to your doctor about common symptoms you may experience as your eye heals.

You will also schedule a follow-up appointment to see your doctor 24 hours after your surgery. Your surgeon will check in to make sure your eyes are healing as intended.

Your doctor may have you use an eye shield to protect your eyes as they heal. The shield can ensure you don’t rub your eyes in your sleep or otherwise disturb the flap as it heals.

Many patients experience a scratchy feeling and mild discomfort as the numbing drops used during surgery wear off. This is normal, although you shouldn’t experience any severe pain. Call your surgeon promptly if you do.

You may also experience visual symptoms, such as starbursts or halos around lights, as your eyes heal. Tell your doctor if you experience these symptoms, but rest assured that these are usually temporary and resolve within a few months.

Some eye dryness is common during the LASIK recovery period. Your surgeon is likely to prescribe eye drops to help with this dryness. This is usually temporary, dissipating within about a month or two for most, but it may last longer for some people.

Your doctor will also prescribe antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops as a precaution during the first week of your recovery.

You can return to normal activities the day following surgery. Most people return to work within a day or two, provided their job doesn’t involve strenuous physical activity. You can resume exercise within a few days, though it’s recommended you avoid swimming and saunas for two weeks.

Most patients are fully healed and reach their new level of uncorrected visual acuity within a month. Your eye is fully healed within 3 months.

LASIK Cost & Payment Options

LASIK is an elective procedure, meaning vision insurance usually doesn’t cover the cost. Some insurance plans offer LASIK discount partnerships, offering a specific percentage off the procedure cost if you choose a provider participating in their plan.

LASIK can cost between $1,000 and $4,000 per eye, with the average cost of LASIK in the U.S. being $2,632 per eye as of 2020. Be wary of any clinics that offer unreasonably low prices, as it can be a sign they are using dated equipment, or have surgeons with little experience.

woman discussing paperwork

It is common for LASIK providers to offer patients payment plans to make the procedure more accessible. Some providers even offer no-interest loans for multiple years. These plans can make it much more affordable to pay for LASIK.

A flexible spending account (FSA) or a health savings account (HSA) can be used to cover the cost of LASIK. Using either of these accounts can save you some money on the total cost of LASIK. Here’s how they work:

FSA Overview

An FSA allows you to set aside pre-tax money you can apply toward health care expenses. Essentially, money that goes into an FSA can only be used for certain types of expenses, and LASIK qualifies. This can sometimes result in significant savings.

HSA Overview

An HSA is similar, but it is only available to people enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). These accounts allow a person to contribute to their plan over the course of the year, also avoiding taxes on the contributed funds.

The money in an HSA rolls over more easily into the next year compared to the funds in an FSA. Accumulating a large amount of money in your HSA over time can be very useful as you get older. HSA funds can be used for LASIK.

Is LASIK Worth It?

LASIK often frees people from the need to wear contacts or glasses. Over 98% of patients achieve 20/20 vision.

99 percent of patients are satisfied with the results of LASIK. This is an unusually high rate of patient satisfaction for any procedure.

If you talk to your doctor about realistic expectations, are a good candidate for the procedure, and make sure to choose a reputable surgeon, you’ll likely be very satisfied with the results. Overall, LASIK is broadly considered a safe and medically valid way to correct refractive errors with a low risk of complications.


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