Author Topic: Should I get LASIK?  (Read 32442 times)

ThirdTimer

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Should I get LASIK?
« on: August 06, 2014, 10:57:14 PM »
Hi guys,

Here's my situation: I'm 32 years old, severely nearsighted (-8/-8.5) with astigmatism in one eye, and I wear contacts pretty much 24/7. I've been trying to figure out if LASIK makes sense for me financially.

Right now, I spend ~$175-$200/year on vision ($80 in insurance premiums to get vision insurance through my work, $60 in co-pays for annual exam with contact lens fitting, $35-50 for cost of contacts above what my insurance reimburses [I keep this low by wearing lenses for a month before throwing them out, which I've found I can do without my eyes getting too upset]). However, I'm about to switch jobs to one where I think I'll end up paying maybe $100-$125/year instead because of the different insurance coverage. Neither my new insurance nor my current insurance covers LASIK.

From what I've gathered looking around online, LASIK costs about $4000, sometimes more in big cities like the one where I'll be living. So, assuming, very crudely, that getting LASIK would shave $100 off my annual eye care costs, I ought to come out ahead if I live for 40+ more years, which I certainly hope will be the case!

Does this seem reasonable to you guys? Is this realistic, or will there be additional vision costs in a post-LASIK-life that I'm unaware of? I'm obviously not taking into account the interest that I could earn on the money or potential effects of inflation--does that tip the balance in favor of sticking with contacts? Finances being equal, I'd slightly prefer LASIK, but I'm lucky to have eyes that are very contact-tolerant and I basically leave them in all the time, so it's not a gigantic deal to me.

panthalassa

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2014, 11:03:48 PM »
Laser eye surgery is not guaranteed to fix your eyes for the rest of your life.  There aren't any ( that I'm aware of) long-term studies on it..  Anecdotally, I've heard that many people end up wearing glasses again within a decade, albeit with a weaker prescription than pre-surgery. 

Don't assume your eyes will be perfect and not need contacts or glasses for 40 years post-surgery.  We're human, we break down, everyday we are dying, and our eyes are not an exception.

That said, I'm in the same boat as you at 28 and would like to get the surgery.  It seems everyone I know has had it or is thinking about it.  I'm quite jealous of getting to wake up in the morning and having excellent vision without having to reach for glasses or put in contacts.  If anyone knows of any long-term studies, please share.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2014, 11:06:05 PM by panthalassa »

cchrissyy

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2014, 11:09:54 PM »
I spent $4k on LASIK at age 31
My eyes weren't as bad as yours and my expenses were less.
I have been glad every day that I did this. I wake up every morning seeing perfectly.
I don't care if the expense never pays me back in savings on contact lenses. It is just so nice to have clear vision every single day, in the water, when I wake in the middle if the night. It's amazing for a few thousand I can have that for decades. It's worth it to me, it made my life better, and I don't need it to ever  "pay back", I just don't look at it that way. I had the money and I am glad I spent it on my vision, no frugal justification needed.

Ohio Teacher

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2014, 11:13:40 PM »
Yes!  Four years later and I still consider it to be the best decision I have ever made, after marrying my wife of course.  Mine came to $3930.  For me, it wasn't just about the cost savings of contacts/glasses.  It was about the freedom to wake up in the morning and be able to see.  To take a nap and not have to take my contacts out.  To actually be able to see when I swim.   It was worth every penny.  If only all of my financial decisions worked out that way.

sedura

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2014, 11:16:22 PM »
Everyone I know who has done it says they wish they did it sooner. I don't think this is a financial decision. If you want it, and can afford it, it will probably greatly increase your quality of life.

That being said, I've been toying with the idea of getting it myself, but I'm so scared of being part of the small percentage of people who walk away with worse vision. I also have a fear of flying, so I recognize that my fears have nothing to do with actual statistical risk.

ShortInSeattle

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2014, 11:19:49 PM »
I spent $4k on LASIK at age 31
My eyes weren't as bad as yours and my expenses were less.
I have been glad every day that I did this. I wake up every morning seeing perfectly.
I don't care if the expense never pays me back in savings on contact lenses. It is just so nice to have clear vision every single day, in the water, when I wake in the middle if the night. It's amazing for a few thousand I can have that for decades. It's worth it to me, it made my life better, and I don't need it to ever  "pay back", I just don't look at it that way. I had the money and I am glad I spent it on my vision, no frugal justification needed.

I had it this year and it's pretty much how I feel. After not seeing well my entire life - having 20/15 vision is like having a freaking superpower.  :) My doc says I will still need reading glasses someday, although I could probably go with cheap drugstore versions instead of the expensive bifocals I'd otherwise need - when that day comes.

I was -7.5 and spent $3600


ThirdTimer

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2014, 11:27:01 PM »
Yes, I'd also love to hear if anyone knows about long-term studies, or if anyone here had LASIK awhile back, how it's stood the test of time for them.

So surprised by the overwhelmingly positive response! Just to clarify, I typically only take my contacts out one night a month--I throw the old pair away at night and put the new pair in in the morning. I wear them when I swim, with goggles for serious swimming, or just closing my eyes when I go underwater if I'm just horsing around. So a lot of this "see-all-the-time benefit" I already have because I'm blessed with very contact-tolerant eyes. Of course, it's not 100% the same (and who knows if I'll be able to get away with this forever?), but I don't anticipate it being the huge, life-altering change it was for many of you guys.

MikeBear

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2014, 11:32:55 PM »
Here's my experience:

 I was -4.25 in one eye, and -4.75 in the other. I had astigmatism's in both eyes also, at over -2. something. (I have small "Asian" type eyes (I'm not Asian), which made the surgery all the harder) I went to Windsor, Canada in July 2000 (I was age 41) to have Lasik, because I couldn't afford it in the US. At the time, it was $5,000 minimum US. I paid $1,000 U.S. for both eyes total (at the time, the exchange rate was like $1.48 Canadian, for $1.00 US).

 I was left-eye dominant, and that eye had a bad reaction to the surgery. It was pinched really badly by the speculum used to hold my eye open during surgery. I ended up with: Corneal edema, DLK "(crap under the flap)", infection, and extreme dry eye, plus very bad starbursts / halo's, and contrast issues. I spent the next almost 2 years, seeing like I was walking through "clouds", especially under fluorescent lights (which are pure crap for a light source).

 I was a field computer technician for a Fortune 500 company, so staring at CRT's 8 hours a day was hell. I also had to drive back to Canada (140 miles one way) every month for over a year, for the doctor to check me out, and give me new meds. By the next summer, that Lasik-Vision company had declared bankruptcy, and left everybody holding the bag. So, I couldn't have any sort of touch-ups, at least by them.

 NO American doctor would even touch me, after having the surgery in a "foreign country", and having complications. They didn't want to take a chance they'd get sued. Now, I'm from Michigan, nearly surrounded by Canada, and I've NEVER thought of Canada as being a foreign country.

 It took over 20 months for that eye to heal, and I had to have a -.50 "bandage" contact lens inserted towards the end, which I had actively avoided as long as possible (hey, I had surgery to get RID of contacts and glasses!). The funny thing is, it was the bandage contact lens that ended up finally healing my eye. The surface tension of the contact, "sucked" the remaining edema out of the eye, and allowed the swelling to go down.

 Well, it's 14 years later, I ultimately ended up with unintended "mono-vision", but my formerly dominant eye, is the UNDER corrected eye. That's not how it usually goes when they attempt mono-vision (which they weren't trying for). The mono-vision at my age is actually a plus, as my left eye is good for reading, and my right eye is good for long distance. I'm glad I finally adapted to it, but my eyes switched dominance several times, which really screws with your balance! I still also have very dry eyes, which I never had before the surgery. So, I'm still using daily eye drops, and there really aren't any that are all that good (except "Bion Tears", and they are expensive). Also, if you use them too much, it makes your eyes worse. Having air blow on your eyes like from a ceiling fan, is like running a razor blade across your cornea. Yes, it actually feels like that to me since Lasik.

 Ultimately, I'm still reasonably happy I got it, but I could have done without the accidental complications. Of course, that was real early in the life of Lasik, and they have much better techniques now. IF I knew then, what I know now, I would have perhaps saved up longer, had the surgery closer to where I live, so that any complications could have been easier taken care of. I also would have had PRK 1 eye at a time, instead of "lift the flap Lasik". By the way, the doctor that did my Lasik, didn't do anything wrong, and his technique was perfect. It was simply my bodies reaction to the surgery that went wrong.

 Ok, sorry for the book, but if you get nothing else out of all I've said about the problems I had, just remember this:

 You only have two eyes . They can't do whole eye transplants yet. IF you have complications, they can be horrible, far worse then I ever had, and mine were bad. Do your home-work, and don't necessarily go to the lowest priced place. Go to a place very convenient to you for follow-ups if needed. This is especially important:

 LISTEN to the doctor after he checks you out. IF he says: "Yes, we can do the Lasik, but you might have a problem with ______ if we do" believe him, and reconsider going through it. Glasses and contacts suck, but are not as bad as a horrible side-effect on your eyes, that you might have to live with the rest of your life.
 ************************************************** ************************************************** **

 Since I originally wrote this story 3 years ago on another board, I have now also become extremely light sensitive in both eyes. Once in a while, if a bright light hits me in the eye just right, and gets between the area where the slice was for the flap (that thin scar line for lack of a better word, where my eye is not corrected) it dazzles me completely.

 It can and has created a floating black spot that moves into my field of vision when I look at things. It can last as long as 4-5 hours, but always eventually goes away. Sometimes it's not a black spot, it's sometimes a "sparkling light-show" like July 4th fireworks that goes on for hours. Drives me bonkers, and is annoying as hell. IF I close my eyes during those times, it's like the whole inside of my head has a flood-light in it. I'd have to equate it to like if you take a magnifying glass, and focus the light beam into a tight spot. Somehow, when conditions are right, it gets through to my retina like that, and flash dazzles me.

 I am still glad I had Lasik, but there are days when I wish it had gone better for me.

sedura

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2014, 11:38:21 PM »
Oh yes! If I ever get the surgery, I want to find the most EXPENSIVE, hard to get an appointment with, doctor.  I don't want to go to the discount laser eye guy. This is not the area you want to cheap out on!

MikeBear

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2014, 11:50:31 PM »
Oh yes! If I ever get the surgery, I want to find the most EXPENSIVE, hard to get an appointment with, doctor.  I don't want to go to the discount laser eye guy. This is not the area you want to cheap out on!

Just because Canada was cheaper, don't equate that to meaning the quality of care was "cheaper", as that's not the truth. Don't forget the exchange rate at the time made a difference. The Canadian doctors at the time already had done something around 20,000 or more Lasik surgeries (it's NOT a "procedure" it's a SURGERY, remember that) Whereas most American doctors had ZERO or very few Lasik surgeries chalked up. I took that into affect. I just was unlucky in that my body had a bad response to the surgery. That just sometimes happens.

shuffler

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2014, 12:27:41 AM »
I had it done in 2005, and everything went great.  Agreed w/ earlier posters that the pleasure/convenience of good vision is wonderful.

If I were somehow faced with the same decision again, it'd be worth it at twice the price.

Beric01

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2014, 01:41:21 AM »
I have pretty bad eyesight. Here's my perspective: no glasses would be nice, but not game-changing (I've been wearing glasses all of my waking hours since I was 2 years old - I'm blind as a bat, so I'm used to it). However, the technology right now is still not perfect, and is expensive. If I wait 10 years the technology should be perfected and should cost as much as a dental appointment. So I'll wait until then.

rmendpara

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2014, 04:20:30 AM »
Hi guys,

Here's my situation: I'm 32 years old, severely nearsighted (-8/-8.5) with astigmatism in one eye, and I wear contacts pretty much 24/7. I've been trying to figure out if LASIK makes sense for me financially.

Right now, I spend ~$175-$200/year on vision ($80 in insurance premiums to get vision insurance through my work, $60 in co-pays for annual exam with contact lens fitting, $35-50 for cost of contacts above what my insurance reimburses [I keep this low by wearing lenses for a month before throwing them out, which I've found I can do without my eyes getting too upset]). However, I'm about to switch jobs to one where I think I'll end up paying maybe $100-$125/year instead because of the different insurance coverage. Neither my new insurance nor my current insurance covers LASIK.

From what I've gathered looking around online, LASIK costs about $4000, sometimes more in big cities like the one where I'll be living. So, assuming, very crudely, that getting LASIK would shave $100 off my annual eye care costs, I ought to come out ahead if I live for 40+ more years, which I certainly hope will be the case!

Does this seem reasonable to you guys? Is this realistic, or will there be additional vision costs in a post-LASIK-life that I'm unaware of? I'm obviously not taking into account the interest that I could earn on the money or potential effects of inflation--does that tip the balance in favor of sticking with contacts? Finances being equal, I'd slightly prefer LASIK, but I'm lucky to have eyes that are very contact-tolerant and I basically leave them in all the time, so it's not a gigantic deal to me.

Financially, no.

Practical and convenience, up to you.

SnpKraklePhyz

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2014, 04:31:13 AM »
I had mine done at the age of 40, for around $5000.  Totally recommend it and wish I'd done it earlier.

Fishingmn

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2014, 05:18:50 AM »
Had 20/400 vision all my life. Got lasik done in 2002 at age of 40 and I highly recommend it. IMHO it is life changing and well worth the expense.

My daughter (who is on these forums) stashed away enough to cover it in her HSA this year and got it done this year. If you have that option it saves you a bunch.

ThirdTimer

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #15 on: August 07, 2014, 05:46:37 AM »
@rmendpara -- Why do you say no, financially? My original back-of-the-envelope was getting it at coming out slightly ahead in LASIK vs. contacts if I get it done soon. Is there something I wasn't taking into account?

@Beric01 -- Yeah, you'd think so, but the cost really hasn't come down much at all in the 15 years or so that LASIK has been fairly commonplace in the U.S. My guess is there's some cartel-like behavior going on that's keeping the price artificially high. You could be right that rates of surgery complication are still dropping though--I don't have any information on that.

@Fishingmn -- Yeah, I have access to an FSA through my new job and was planning to put the money to cover the cost of the procedure in there.

@MikeBear -- Thanks so much for sharing your experience! I may be a marginal candidate because of how severely nearsighted I am; from what I can gather on the internet, they consider people with prescriptions stronger than -9.0 bad candidates for the surgery. I don't know if being not far below that cut-off puts me at greater risk for complications; I'd have to talk to a doctor to find out more.

For those of you who had the surgery 10+ years ago, have any of you had to get glasses or follow-up treatment as your eyes have continued to worsen?

YoungInvestor

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2014, 06:11:53 AM »
Hi guys,

Here's my situation: I'm 32 years old, severely nearsighted (-8/-8.5) with astigmatism in one eye, and I wear contacts pretty much 24/7. I've been trying to figure out if LASIK makes sense for me financially.

Right now, I spend ~$175-$200/year on vision ($80 in insurance premiums to get vision insurance through my work, $60 in co-pays for annual exam with contact lens fitting, $35-50 for cost of contacts above what my insurance reimburses [I keep this low by wearing lenses for a month before throwing them out, which I've found I can do without my eyes getting too upset]). However, I'm about to switch jobs to one where I think I'll end up paying maybe $100-$125/year instead because of the different insurance coverage. Neither my new insurance nor my current insurance covers LASIK.

From what I've gathered looking around online, LASIK costs about $4000, sometimes more in big cities like the one where I'll be living. So, assuming, very crudely, that getting LASIK would shave $100 off my annual eye care costs, I ought to come out ahead if I live for 40+ more years, which I certainly hope will be the case!

Does this seem reasonable to you guys? Is this realistic, or will there be additional vision costs in a post-LASIK-life that I'm unaware of? I'm obviously not taking into account the interest that I could earn on the money or potential effects of inflation--does that tip the balance in favor of sticking with contacts? Finances being equal, I'd slightly prefer LASIK, but I'm lucky to have eyes that are very contact-tolerant and I basically leave them in all the time, so it's not a gigantic deal to me.

Assuming you can beat inflation by 3% (Which is lower than the 4% SWR), 4000$ now is worth 120$/year forever.

For 20 bucks a year, it seems worth it to me if it ahieves what you want. Do make sure to discuss the potential side-effects with your doctor beforehand, though.

ender

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #17 on: August 07, 2014, 06:21:40 AM »
I've had the same thought, my eyes are slightly better than yours but my insurance is worse (I probably spend about $300-400 a year on vision).



I'm interested to see what other people say here for the same reasons you are.

Jon Bon

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #18 on: August 07, 2014, 06:22:43 AM »
Yes you should...... a thousand times yes!

Also just an FYI to those talking about the skill and experience of the doctor. In my experience the doctor does not really do anything, he holds your head still and the computer does ALL the work. The actual surgery (shaping of the eye) takes between 1-3 seconds per eye. It is way to precise for a human hand, so they use a computer.

I had mine done in 2011 and I would have paid 10x the price. It was 3k which was out of my HSA. Most places including the place I used will give you a "tune up" for free if your eyes change over time.

Philociraptor

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #19 on: August 07, 2014, 06:28:49 AM »
Seriously, best $3,600 I ever spent. Waking up every morning and being able to see is priceless.

suburbanmom

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #20 on: August 07, 2014, 06:33:18 AM »
I had LASIK 12 years ago when I was 18. I have not had any problems, side effects, worsening vision, etc. I had very poor vision (can't remember the number, but it was as bad as my 40 year old optometrist!) and some astigmatism as well. The surgery went smoothly and I have been incredibly happy with the results. It was well worth the money! Be sure to ask about a cash discount if you decide to do it, because many place will discount 5-10% if you pay cash up-front. Also, double check with your insurance as some have started covering at least part of the expense.
My brother decided to have the surgery a year after I did when he was 20. He did have a minor complication following the surgery that was quite painful. He got eye drops to treat it for 14 or 21 days, and that corrected it. 11 years later, he is doing fine with no lasting issues.
My father had LASIK surgery about 9 years ago. He went to a discount eye place to have his done. He did have significant complications. His eyesight was quite bad following the surgery. After a couple of weeks the doctor had him come in for more surgery. That resolved some of the issues, but his eyesight is still not what it should be. He also lives in a very dry part of the country. LASIK eye surgery tends to leave eyes pretty dry especially for the first year, so living in a very dry environment can make it even more uncomfortable. (My brother and I both live in Indiana, so this wasn't an issue for either of us.)
The most important thing is having a very experienced doctor that you can trust. I have never regretted having it done, and I know my brother feels the same. 

RichMoose

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #21 on: August 07, 2014, 06:38:07 AM »
A good option may be to have LASIK done in just 1 eye. Preferably your aiming or shooting eye. Your "correct" eye will naturally takeover the majority of your field of vision. I know this solution is gaining in popularity up here in Alberta.

That being said, there are lots of benefits to having good vision without fussing with contacts / glasses so it's not purely a financial decision. The procedure also doesn't necessarily last forever, I know few people who had LASIK and have started wearing glasses again after 15 years. My opinion, if you are debt free other than your mortgage it's probably not an entirely irresponsible use of money. Does your extended health policy offer a flexible healthcare spending account that you can use to contribute to LASIK?

Bourbon

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #22 on: August 07, 2014, 06:49:19 AM »
I had mine done in 2012 for $4k at 28.  I had considered it for years, had some extra money coming in.  During my open enrollment period I went to two different clinics and got evaluated to be sure I was a candidate.  They both said it would be fine and no issues were raised.  I already had money going to my HSA but was also able to contribute to a limited FSA that was only good for dental and vision services.  Maxed that out so the whole thing was with tax free money.

I wound up going with the more expensive one for a few reasons, they have been around in our area forever and have a good reputation, I received a personal referral from a coworker, and while doing my research I read some of the scary stories online about flap related problems.

The first provider only did traditional LASIK, but the one I went with also offered what they called Advanced Surface Ablation(ASA).  My understanding is that this is more like the older procedure, no flap is created and the correction is made to the surface of they eye. They still do the computer mapping of the eye and use the same laser, etc.  At the time I realized that I was overestimating the risks, but was sure my young kids would be poking me in the eye for years to come.  The downside is there is some more discomfort and I was out of duty for about a week while the vision corrected, whereas LASIK is expected to have you up and going the next day.

For the surgery itself, I showed up, got the numbing drops.  Was offered an anxiety pill and declined.  Went into a room with the machine, Eyelids were held open(I think), put my chin on the tray, stare at the dots, all done.  They even had a little room where my wife got to watch and she scored me a few fun sized candy bars.

Two years later and it is still great.  My eyes are more sensitive now than pre-lasik when they get jabbed and I am no longer a titan of onion slicing.  Otherwise I wake up every day and can see.  For months after the surgery I would wake up in the middle of the night to check on a baby and occasionally reach over to grab my glasses from the nightstand.  Always put a smile on my face.  I'm still expecting to need reading glasses down the road, just like my father who was born with 20/20.

moestache

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #23 on: August 07, 2014, 07:08:35 AM »
Have you looked into Ortho-K lenses?

My optometrist mentioned these as an alternative to laser eye surgery. They're contact lenses that you sleep in at night and it corrects your vision while you sleep. You take them out during the day and your vision is meant to be better. The improvement in vision isn't permanent, you have to wear the contacts every night to sleep to maintain the benefits of 20/20 eyesight.
I'm not too sure what they are cost wise but guessing they would be expensive.

FWIW I would still prefer LASIK but I can't have it yet as my eyesight keeps changing every time I have an eye test.

I too have contact tolerant eyes for the time being and wear contacts pretty much all the time but my optometrist keeps telling me that as I get older my eyes won't be able to tolerate contacts as much. I have trouble with wearing glasses as I get serious allergic reactions to the material that frames are made out of, both the plastic and metal varieties.

rubor

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #24 on: August 07, 2014, 07:34:05 AM »
Just to clarify, I typically only take my contacts out one night a month--I throw the old pair away at night and put the new pair in in the morning.

Separate from your decision on LASIK, wearing your contacts 24/7 is a bad idea. Your cornea is being deprived of oxygen and responds by generating new blood vessels. This can cause all kinds of issues. Even the contacts that are marketed for long term use are not that much better.

Cpa Cat

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #25 on: August 07, 2014, 07:43:44 AM »
I had it done about 5 years ago (well, I had PRK, which still involves shooting lasers into your eyeballs, but was better for my type of eye problem, for some reason - but it's still a laser eye surgery).

I had a good experience. I had really bad eyes before and I came out being able to see. It was amazing. It cost me somewhere around $4,500 inclusive of all costs.

So now for the bad news:

1. I have a halo-effect around lights at night. It's worse if my eyes are tired. It can sometimes be hard to drive at night and I try to avoid it. It was something they said would probably get better when I eyes healed, but it never did (and doesn't for a small percentage of patients).  Essentially every light has a glow around that can interfere with my vision.

2. I need glasses. I haven't made an appointment yet, but I know it to be true. I need them to be able to read things at a distance. I'm like the kid who can't read the blackboard. This wasn't always the case - my eyes have simply worsened over time. But that's not the surgery's fault. It can undo the damage that already happened, but it can't stop your eyes from getting worse in the future. Close to five thousand dollars for five years without glasses is $1,000 per year. Hardly cost effective.

The good news:

I would do it again. In a heartbeat. For me, the freedom from glasses has been worth it. I like knowing that if I'm ever in an emergency situation and I've lost my glasses, I'm not going to be blind. I like getting out of bed in the morning and not needing to grope around for glasses. I don't know if you can get laser eye surgery twice, but I will probably do it at some point if I can.

welliamwallace

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #26 on: August 07, 2014, 07:50:53 AM »
I got it at 24, and am one of those who swears by it. I am so glad I did it. Honestly, I say screw the financial question. Even if you treat it purely as a luxury (ignoring the savings of never buying contacts again), this is one of the best luxuries you can get yourself. As long as your aren't in a debt hair-on-fire emergency (you can afford a vacation, or a $10k car instead of a $5k car, etc), I would get LASIK before just about any other luxury. I would skip vacation this year, sell a car, rent a room in my house, etc to afford LASIK.

fallstoclimb

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #27 on: August 07, 2014, 07:56:50 AM »
I'm really surprised by all the positive responses on LASIK here.   Thinking about it myself down the line but 4K seems a bit steep to me.

wtjbatman

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #28 on: August 07, 2014, 07:58:26 AM »
Got LASIK four months ago, best decision I ever made, and best $4600 I ever spent.

Ask me again in 5, 10, or 20 years... but so far, so good. Amazing in fact.

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #29 on: August 07, 2014, 09:18:39 AM »
I got PRK two years ago-ish(could have had Lasik, but I chose PRK for various reasons).  I went to one of the top research eye centers in the country and got state of the art care.  I paid $2800, out of my FSA and HSA.  How did I do it so cheap?  I agreed to be part of a study they were conducting.  The study was a look at two numbing drops that are already FDA approved and used everyday in eye surgery.  One is more comfortable to put in, but doesn't last as long.  The other stings a bit to put in, but lasts longest.  They did one in one eye and one in the other.  Then I was asked at various points to rate my pain during the surgery.  I had no pain on either eye, and I got the surgery for cost. 

I always tell people to find a top research center and see if they are doing any studies.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2014, 09:22:37 AM by Mrs. Green'stache »

HappyCheesehead

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #30 on: August 07, 2014, 09:38:12 AM »
At 40 I had Lasik and my vision was perfect for about 10 years. Prior to the Lasik, my gas permeable contacts (that I had been wearing about 16 hours a day) had caused ulcers on my eyes. 

For the last two years my vision has gotten a bit worse and I have had to get glasses to wear for driving.  I spend all day at a computer and my eyes weren't making the quick transition to distance vision.  I had a good run though, and I can go without the glasses if it isn't a work day.  My vision was very bad prior to the Lasik and is just a little bad now,  so it is still waaaay better than it would have been.

I thought Lasik was one of the most wonderful things that ever happened to me.

trailrated

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #31 on: August 07, 2014, 10:47:18 AM »
I got it done about 4 years ago. Absolutely, without a doubt, 100% worth it. It healed fully within about 2 days and my vision is still perfect. There are some things that are hands down worth the cost when it improves your quality of life so much.

ThirdTimer

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #32 on: August 07, 2014, 11:29:16 AM »
Wow, thanks so much to everyone for all the helpful feedback! You've definitely convinced me to go in for a consultation to get details on pricing and my suitability as a LASIK patient. From all the very positive feedback, it sounds like it could definitely be worth it.

@YoungInvestor -- Thanks for framing the financials in that way. That really helps clarify things.

@moestache -- I think my prescription is too strong for Ortho-K, but it's a good thing for me to keep in mind for any future myopic kids I might have. :)

@rubor -- I know you're not supposed to leave them in like this. I've been very open with my optometrist about the fact that I do, and he said "well, you're not supposed to, but if it's been working for you so far it's probably OK to keep doing it. Just be absolutely sure to take them out immediately if your eyes do start bothering you." (which I do.) But, really, it's that vague feeling that I might somehow being doing damage to my eyes by carrying on like this indefinitely (I've been wearing contacts for week+ stretches at a time for more than 10 years now) that is making me consider LASIK.

@Mrs. Green'stache -- Thanks for this suggestion! Great idea that would have never even occurred to me. I'll be sure to look around and see if I can find any low-risk clinical studies like this when the time comes.


Shade00

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #33 on: August 07, 2014, 11:37:44 AM »
Glad to see this topic. I have been considering LASIK for some time, and I'm leaning even more strongly in that direction now. I only wear a soft contact in one eye, but I can tell my vision in the other eye is deteriorating. Plus, I get headaches from eye strain from time-to-time.

sheepstache

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #34 on: August 07, 2014, 11:39:52 AM »
You can cut your current costs a bit.  Is your vision changing?  If not and if you're extending the life of your contacts, then you buy a full year's worth and then that lets you skip the next exam or two. 

My prescription's 12 or 14, I forget, so my understanding is I'm not a good candidate.  Even if I were, contacts work well for me and I really value not having any problems with my vision so I don't think I would take the risk, even if the likelihood were really small.  Which is to say, I don't really have anything useful to contribute about your decision.

MNBen

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #35 on: August 07, 2014, 11:53:07 AM »
I had LASIK done in each eye, but one at a time, in 10/07 and 11/07.   (You'll see why later.)

As a child, I had astigmatism and a heavy prescription (-4 or so I believe) and had glasses on in my kindergarten picture.  My prescription seldom changed, but every year's school pictures I had the glasses.  In 9th grade (1989) I upgraded to gas permeable lenses which I wore for the next 18 years!  I was a cross country/track runner, basketball player, and can tell numerous stories of dirt in the eye or lens popping out accidentally, but I loved contacts more than glasses.  I also worked at a computer all day starting in 1996, yet still the gas permeable worked great.

Then I had a new employer (private company) that gave us very good health care benefits.  As a single male with major medical coverage, I received an extra $2000 every year in a flex spending account, which I had to use or lose.  Their fiscal year ended 10/31 every year, so for the first couple years I was the weirdo who turned off his house lights from trick-or-treaters and raided the local store's first aid department filling a cart full of bandaids, first aid kits, OTC medications.   I'm sure the cashiers thought, 'I hope he's not passing THESE out at his door!'

Anyway, after a very good health year and having the full amount leftover, I decided to look into using it to fund my LASIK.  I found out I was a perfect candidate and they said my vision would be corrected to 20/10 if my brain could see it.  Also, I was a bit fearful, but decided I'd do one eye before 10/31 and assuming it went fine, I'd do the other after 11/1 so that I could take care of both eyes for free - while also having a backup eye in something went bad.

As someone who woke up every day with blurry vision, I can't even describe the emotion the first time I opened my eye after the surgery and while still painful from healing, I could already see substantially better!

Needless to say, I did the second eye after the first eye healed.   It wasn't too weird going back in.  The funniest part was wearing glasses with one lens, putting eye drops in, forgetting that people were watching and seeing their face as the drop went into my eye while I was wearing glasses.  :)

Anyway, as someone who still runs, bikes, does triathlon, water sports, etc.  I have told everyone from day one... "I would have done this MANY years sooner, and paid a lot more money, to have this surgery done!"   I can now see 20/10 and it has completely changed my life.  No glasses, no contacts, and zero issues!   It took me a few days to get used to waking up and being able to see clearly, or realizing I can now fall asleep to the TV and see it too!   But now, I couldn't imagine EVER going back to how it was. 

Are there risks?  Of course.  It's a surgery.   But I will say doing one eye at a time helped me remove that fear (and it costs the same to do one eye per visit, or both eyes in one visit) and it was life-changing.

HairyUpperLip

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #36 on: August 07, 2014, 12:04:50 PM »
I did it at 29 and spent around $3000 for PRK in both eyes.

I would do it again. It was worth every penny.

I wore glasses since 5th grade.

I'd do it again. I'd recommend you do it. I don't care if it impacts your ER by 2 years, it's worth it.  I love waking up and being able to see.

I was -5.00 in both eyes with slight astigmatism as well.

HairyUpperLip

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #37 on: August 07, 2014, 12:05:56 PM »
pro lasik tip - don't use a coupon for this procedure. don't use a groupon. don't look for the cheapest option.

Look for a good local facility with tons of positive reviews.


Freedom2016

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #38 on: August 07, 2014, 12:38:17 PM »
Hi guys,

Here's my situation: I'm 32 years old, severely nearsighted (-8/-8.5) with astigmatism in one eye, and I wear contacts pretty much 24/7. I've been trying to figure out if LASIK makes sense for me financially.

Right now, I spend ~$175-$200/year on vision ($80 in insurance premiums to get vision insurance through my work, $60 in co-pays for annual exam with contact lens fitting, $35-50 for cost of contacts above what my insurance reimburses [I keep this low by wearing lenses for a month before throwing them out, which I've found I can do without my eyes getting too upset]). However, I'm about to switch jobs to one where I think I'll end up paying maybe $100-$125/year instead because of the different insurance coverage. Neither my new insurance nor my current insurance covers LASIK.

From what I've gathered looking around online, LASIK costs about $4000, sometimes more in big cities like the one where I'll be living. So, assuming, very crudely, that getting LASIK would shave $100 off my annual eye care costs, I ought to come out ahead if I live for 40+ more years, which I certainly hope will be the case!

Does this seem reasonable to you guys? Is this realistic, or will there be additional vision costs in a post-LASIK-life that I'm unaware of? I'm obviously not taking into account the interest that I could earn on the money or potential effects of inflation--does that tip the balance in favor of sticking with contacts? Finances being equal, I'd slightly prefer LASIK, but I'm lucky to have eyes that are very contact-tolerant and I basically leave them in all the time, so it's not a gigantic deal to me.

My sister is an opthalmologist and says that everyone's eyesight degenerates in their 40's and 50's -- even for people who have had LASIK, so another poster is right when they say many people end up wearing (reading) glasses again later in life, though often with a lesser prescription. Having said that, same sister had it done herself in her mid-30's and says it's one of the best things she's ever done.

It's probably not going to pan out as a financial decision but as others have said it's a quality of life decision. I have worse eyesight than you, also w/ astigmatism, but I'm ineligible for LASIK. Believe me, if I were eligible I'd do it in a heartbeat.


gt7152b

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #39 on: August 07, 2014, 12:55:34 PM »
You can cut your current costs a bit.  Is your vision changing?  If not and if you're extending the life of your contacts, then you buy a full year's worth and then that lets you skip the next exam or two. 

My prescription's 12 or 14, I forget, so my understanding is I'm not a good candidate.  Even if I were, contacts work well for me and I really value not having any problems with my vision so I don't think I would take the risk, even if the likelihood were really small.  Which is to say, I don't really have anything useful to contribute about your decision.

Another good idea if your prescription is pretty stable is to switch to RGP contacts. A pair costs about $80 and mine have lasted up to 8 years before they degrade significantly. Be careful of where you buy them from. I've had eye doctors try to charge me $340 for a pair so I just asked for my prescription and ordered them online. Other doctors have only charged $100/pair. They may not be quite as comfortable as soft lenses but you get used to them and they perform really well.

Dicey

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #40 on: August 07, 2014, 01:25:47 PM »
Third Timer, before you do anything else, have your ophthalmologist check the thickness of your corneas. I, too, am very nearsighted and have astigmatism in both eyes.

Here's my one of my favorite stories: Every year, I would ask my doctor (an eye surgeon) if the technology had improved enough to have the surgery. She knew I had the money saved and was just waiting for technology to improve enough to pull the trigger. One year, she did a couple of extra tests, then sighed. She said "You know that money you've saved for eye surgery? Spend it on another body part." I about fell out of the chair laughing. Turns out my corneas are very thin, making me not a good candidate. She says not everyone screens for this, so you could seem like a likely candidate but end up with poor results.

Since then, I have become farsighted and eventually developed glaucoma. (No surprise, my dad has it and my eyeballs look just like his.) I am glad I did not have the surgery after all. And no, I did not spend the money on another body part. Elective plastic surgery is about the most anti-mustachian thing there is.

All of that said, if you are a well-screened candidate and can afford it, I'd do it when I was young so I could enjoy the results for as long as possible. Realistically, you should amortize the cost over about seven to ten years and then decide if it's worth it. Many people discover that with aging, additional correction is once again required.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2014, 08:15:09 PM by Diane C »

socaso

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #41 on: August 07, 2014, 01:58:27 PM »
I had Lasik over 10 years ago and it has worked wonderfully for me. I think I paid about $3k. They told me I was one of the most nearsighted people they had ever corrected and cautioned me that I would likely still need reading glasses. I did not need them and haven't had any cause to get them over the past 10 years. I'm so glad I did it. I looked at the money aspect to justify it and the math worked out for me but the psychological benefits were such a huge change to my life that I wish I had known to factor that in. It's so freeing to not worry about my glasses or contacts anymore and I feel better about myself which has directly contributed to a lot of the positive things that have happened over the past 10 years.

Mrs. Frugalwoods

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #42 on: August 07, 2014, 02:18:16 PM »
YES! I got Lasik over a year ago and it's one of the best things I've ever spent money on. Definitely the best health/personal care thing I've ever spent money on. I was miserable in contacts (hurt my eyes, constantly blurry, endlessly cloudy, painful) and glasses were a gigantic hassle when hiking, doing yoga, etc. I am amazed and grateful every day that I wake up and can SEE!

Payment info: I have "vision benefits" through my insurance, which was basically a small percentage off the total cost. Then, I asked what kind of deal they could cut if I paid upfront in cash (they did a double take) and they offered to take off another percentage. So, you might see if you can swing a deal via the all-cash offer. Apparently a lot of people do a payment plan for their Lasik.

My Dr: I did extensive research on doctors and chose a slightly more expensive doctor with an excellent reputation, publications, affiliation to Harvard medical school, etc. I did not feel it was worth it to save a couple hundred bucks and go with the second best Dr in town. Might've been unnecessary, but I felt much more confident in my decision. AND, all of my follow-up appointments are free.

davef

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #43 on: August 07, 2014, 04:28:09 PM »
Yes, I'd also love to hear if anyone knows about long-term studies, or if anyone here had LASIK awhile back, how it's stood the test of time for them.

So surprised by the overwhelmingly positive response! Just to clarify, I typically only take my contacts out one night a month--I throw the old pair away at night and put the new pair in in the morning. I wear them when I swim, with goggles for serious swimming, or just closing my eyes when I go underwater if I'm just horsing around. So a lot of this "see-all-the-time benefit" I already have because I'm blessed with very contact-tolerant eyes. Of course, it's not 100% the same (and who knows if I'll be able to get away with this forever?), but I don't anticipate it being the huge, life-altering change it was for many of you guys.

I had it done with TLC Lasick last year. best 3,600 I ever spent. I am a pilot, so I looked into it in detail there is an FAA Study out there that while old was quite detailed.
There are no guarentees, and your Eyes will continue to deteriorate, if you get the package I got it does have a lifetime warranty, that is, If my eyes deteriorate they can do it again later on for free. Note, depending on the thickness of your cornea and how bad your vision is you may not be able to do it multiple times. They said the FDA will allow them to go down to 300 microns but their company limit was 350. My corneas were 505 microns and they only had to take off 15 microns to fix mine. I Went from 20/50 to 20/15 in a day. 3 days later I went to a football game and could clearly see the field from the upper deck. Other than the drops, I was 100% by day 3.

I work with 16 pilots. More than half have had it done. None regret it. most have no side effects. some of the guys that had it done 10-15 years ago have night halos.

Freedom2016

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #44 on: August 07, 2014, 04:47:32 PM »
Course11. Before you do anything else, have your ophthalmologist check the thickness of your corneas. I, too, am very nearsighted and have astigmatism in both eyes.

Here's my one of my favorite stories: Every year, I would ask my doctor (an eye surgeon) if the technology had improved enough to have the surgery. She knew I had the money saved and was just waiting for technology to improve enough to pull the trigger. One year, she did a couple of extra tests, then sighed. She said "You know that money you've saved for eye surgery? Spend it on another body part." I about fell out of the chair laughing. Turns out my corneas are very thin, making me not a good candidate. She says not everyone screens for this, so you could seem like a likely candidate but end up with poor results.

Since then, I have become farsighted and eventually developed glaucoma. (No surprise, my dad has it and my eyeballs look just like his.) I am glad I did not have the surgery after all. And no, I did not spend the money on another body part. Elective plastic surgery is about the most anti-mustachian thing there is.

All of that said, if you are a well-screened candidate and can afford it, I'd do it when I was young so I could enjoy the results for as long as possible. Realistically, you should amortize the cost over about seven to ten years and then decide if it's worth it. Many people discover that with aging, additional correction is once again required.

Was this meant for me or the OP? If me, I consulted two different opthalmologists some years ago who both rejected me as a candidate. Several factors work against me: I already have dry eyes, I would be at risk of keratoconus, and they couldn't fully correct my astigmatism.

Cpa Cat

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #45 on: August 07, 2014, 06:20:38 PM »

Was this meant for me or the OP? If me, I consulted two different opthalmologists some years ago who both rejected me as a candidate. Several factors work against me: I already have dry eyes, I would be at risk of keratoconus, and they couldn't fully correct my astigmatism.

These are the exact reasons that my surgeon recommended PRK over Lasik. Maybe something to revisit if it's been awhile since you had a consultation.

Dicey

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #46 on: August 07, 2014, 08:20:32 PM »
Was this meant for me or the OP?

It was for the OP, course11. I fixed it. See, I really can't see shit. Yours was a good answer to the OP's question though. Sorry for the boo-boo.

MsRichLife

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #47 on: August 07, 2014, 09:35:11 PM »
I had Lasik done when I was 30 (7 years ago). My eyes are still good, but I know that I will need glasses again (probably reading glasses) as my eyes deteriorate with age.

Honestly, it is the best money I've ever spent.

 

Ralphus27

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #48 on: August 07, 2014, 10:13:30 PM »
Received LASIK as a college graduation gift ~10 years ago.  Had vision similar to yours.  Would recommend it to anyone that wears contacts.  Greatest gift I've ever been given. 

Michael792

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Re: Should I get LASIK?
« Reply #49 on: August 08, 2014, 03:18:39 AM »
I'd love to do this as well. Y'all think it makes sense to do this in Korea? Should be cheaper. (I currently live here).