The Financial Benefits of Lasik Surgery

I’ve been toying with the idea of having LASIK surgery. I’ve worn glasses or contacts for most of my life, and I’d very much like to not have to deal with smudged lenses or sticking my finger in my eye ever again. But beyond the scariness that is using a laser to reshape your eyeball, there’s the cost factor. LASIK is expensive! This Daily Worth article breaks down the costs of whether or not LASIK is worth it.

Writer Julia Sonenshein is like me: she’s had poor vision since she was a kid, and it's declining every year. After spending hundreds of dollars on glasses and contacts every year, she’s debating whether or not to take the LASIK plunge. To help her make her decision, she breaks down whether the one-time LASIK fee outweighs the fees she pays every year.

According to Julia, “Depending on location and your insurance coverage, eye exams run between $50 and $100, and most doctors recommend that you come in every two years.” She pays a whopping $580 a year on contacts, and about $100 on solution. (My contacts run me $130 a year and I thought that seemed like a lot! Damn.)

Sonenshein buys glasses twice every five years or so, spending around $100 a pair. I generally get one nice pair every five years and a couple cheap pairs when I’m feeling like mixing things up. So lets say I spend around $350 every five years on glasses.

Sonenshein adds everything together. “So in the last five years alone, I spent around $3,700 on my eyes," she writes. "Should I live to be 90 and my expenses somehow don’t go up, I’m looking at another $48,100 over my lifetime.” I spent about $1,350 in the last 5 years, which means I’m looking at adding another $16,470 over my lifetime.

Onto the LASIK. Sonenshein says, “Prices vary state to state, and the average cost in 2013 was $2,073 per eye, or $4,146 total.” A one-time cost of $4,146, or paying $16,470 over the next 60+ years: it seems like a no-brainer. Sonenshein points out one caveat though: “Most people over 50 require reading glasses, and you’ll still need to see an eye doctor in order to get that assessed. Then it’s back to buying glasses every few years—although reading glasses cost significantly less than a regular supply of contacts.”

Julia Sonenshein says she’s getting LASIK—and I’m thinking I’m going to, too.

Bonus info: LASIK is rarely covered by insurance, so check out Nerwallet’s list of the least expensive LASIK providers.