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cost issues

By Andrew Holzman on March 17, 2010

Many times I am asked if the price of LASIK is going to come down if patients just wait a few more years.  There is no history to suggest that prices come down over time. In fact the cost of LASIK is actually higher now than it was a decade ago.  There are some reasons for this, and they are all based on the cost of newer and better technology.  It is the same reason that our health care system costs more today than it did 10 years ago-- the cost of providing high quality care with the newest and best devices is higher than providing inferior care with older technologies from years back.   In just the last 6 years we have seen the advent of iLASIK, with the bladeless flap created by an INTRALASE and the vision correction done with Custom VUE VISX STAR S4 lasers.  These devices cost providers a lot more to acquire and use, but they are so worth it!     By using an INTRALASE, we decrease the incidence of dry eye, and virtually eliminate significant flap complications that used to occur on occasion with bladed devices.   The flaps are more secure and it is better for the structural stability of your eye in the long term. lLess risk of flap striae and less risk of cellular ingrowth.  There is also much less risk of flap movement or dislocation.  In fact, the procedure is now incredibly safe and much more accurate!   It is for these reasons and several more that NASA and the MILITARY have approved their personnel to have iLASIK done with INTRALASE.
Custom treatments are also more costly to provide BUT they were designed to treat larger areas of your cornea and have larger blend zones -- this decreases the risks of having glare and haloes which were the biggest problems with older technology.   It is extremely rare that we see significant glare that is long lasting these days.  On top of this, it gives us our best chance in giving you the very best outcome -- many times better than you've ever seen before.   It is truly 100 percent customized to your vision abnormalities-- This allows a more precise and accurate correction.
So, now you know why it costs more today than 10 years ago-- but why do some docs cost more than others?
Well, as most of you know from your normal consumer spending---- many times the finer things in life sometimes cost more.    Many times, the more expensive provider uses better technology, or has more technology options available for them to use.  For instance, I have both the Allegretto Wavelight and the VISX CustomVUE in the office at TLC Tysons Corner.   Patients come from all over the region, from Woodbridge to Leesburg, from Alexandria to Falls Church, in order for us to correct their vision.  Because I have both devices at my disposal, I am able to tailor the treatment to your eyes better.  If I only had 1 laser device, then I would not be performing optimal surgery for approximately 15% of patients.  Since we have the two best lasers available, and they work slightly differently on different kinds of eye aberrations, I am able to optimize ALL my patients vision to the best we can by deciding which laser platform to use.
Of course, when choosing a surgeon, cost is not the only issue you should consider. Experience counts very much.  In fact, if you want the very best outcomes, then cost should be a secondary concern ---  Do your homework!  Look for su rgeons that are Corneal Specialists and that have performed thousands and thousands of these procedures. You want a very good outcome--- this is a surgical procedure! Find a quality laser center, like TLC Tysons, where the staff is highly qualified and the experience you have there is positive and comforting.   Ask friends and colleagues for recommendations.    Above all, visit the center and see where you feel comfortable and relaxed.   Our setting in TLC Tysons provides the best experience in the industry.  We coach you through the process.  We care about your eyes and your total experience.  We want you to have the best vision possible in the easiest, most comfortable manner possible.  
Meet the surgeon and see if you feel confident that he or she will do the very best job.   
For all of these reasons, we feel that we have the best overall experience in the industry.  We are also told every day that it was the BEST MONEY that the patient ever spent.  We are a good VALUE for you and over time you will save money on glasses and contacts that you no longer need.  Hard to put a price tag on this.  It is a life changer!

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