Aparna had come to consult me for Lasik. We did a detailed pre-Lasik evaluation for her. All her parameters were normal, and she was suitable for all the different types of Lasik right from Lasik to Femtolasik to Smile Lasik. I explained everything to her, and she was very happy to know that she can finally get rid of her glasses. The comforts and pleasures of life without the burden of glasses is something only someone with glasses can understand! Her happiness was palpable. She wanted nothing but the best for her eye and she decided to go for SMILE Lasik. Soon after, she met my surgery counselor who explained her everything else including the cost of various types of Lasik. After getting the information related to the cost of various types of Lasik, she came back to me and expressed that that the cost is more than she expected! I empathized with her and explained to her the difference between the cost and the value!
So really what is the cost of LASIK? First of all, is this even the right question to ask? Is Lasik surgery which you get done on your precious eyes a commodity? Can you trade a good surgeon, a good hospital, a good machine with slightly higher cost to another one (lower on all these parameters) just because the cost is low? This is a question that troubles me personally as a Lasik surgeon. I would like to believe that when it comes to your eye health and safety, one would go for the best and not compromise just on some differences in the cost of the procedure!
I know many of you face this dilemma when deciding the right place and the right cost of the procedure. So, how do you decide? Let us understand some of the parameters which can help you decide the value you get in different situations!
Knowledge and experience of the Lasik surgeon: These according to me should be non-negotiable. You must ensure of this even before you visit your Lasik surgeon by doing an online search, reading patient reviews, and checking the surgeon’s profile. You can also judge this after your interactions with your Lasik surgeon. Whether he/she answered all your queries to your satisfaction. Also, particularly important is your own comfort with that hospital and the doctor. Before and after the Lasik laser you would be interacting with that eye hospital and the eye doctor many times. So, you must make sure that you feel confident and comfortable with the eye doctor who would be performing your Lasik.
Lasik surgery machines: It is especially important to understand which all different types of Lasik surgery the centre is offering. All the different types of Lasik like Conventional Lasik, wave front guided Lasik, topography guided Lasik (Contoura Lasik), Femtolasik, smile Lasik, require a different machine. You should not restrict your options just because that centre does not have the option to do the more advanced type of Lasik like SMILE Lasik etc
Location of Surgery: If the eye centre or the eye hospital does not have their own machines and the surgeon will be taking you to another centre, then you should enquire about the other Lasik Centre. If the surgeon is not involved in managing that another centre, then he has no control on their safety protocols and condition of the machines.
Cost of Lasik: Finally assuming everything else is equal, cost becomes an important parameter. Again, we need to compare apples to apples and not otherwise. Let us take the example of SMILE Lasik. Now the cost of Smile Lasik cannot be compared to Femto Lasik or Contoura Lasik. The technology is more advanced, the machine is more expensive, and the software licence required for the cost of the procedure is expensive.
So if Aparna will have to make a decision about her procedure, she needs to first find a surgeon who is good, eye hospital which is well equipped and have an option to do SMILE Lasik in that location itself and not somewhere else. If still cost of SMILE Lasik remains a limitation for her then she can always choose to go for Lasik or FemtoLasik. However, it is really time that we make our decisions based on the value we derive from getting a safe and effective Lasik and not just the cost of the procedure!