You may often hear that Laser Eye Surgery is a convenient and preferred option for vision correction for many people, but others deem it to be too expensive. We want to weigh up the different options consumers currently have for correcting their eye sight – glasses, contact lenses and laser eye surgery. Could laser eye surgery be cost effective in the long run, for providing clear vision and convenience? In this article we will delve into the different options available on the market today, and see how they compare.
Glasses – Ongoing Costs
One option available on the market today to correct your vision is glasses.
For many, the daily reality of wearing glasses has been something they have learned to tolerate over time. Glasses are a simple and easy way to correct vision, but are they really cheaper than laser eye surgery?
Getting the script right
A pair of basic glasses may only cost you a few hundred dollars, however, often the vision issues we are trying to correct are not simple – you may need astigmatism correction, or your script may be quite small. If you have either of these, then the cost of your glasses can quickly ramp up to higher than the thousand dollar mark, even more so if you want to have lighter lenses. For many people, glasses prescriptions need to be updated as their eyes change with age.
Many people want their glasses to be progressive, and transition in the sunlight – both of which make wearing glasses that little bit more convenient. But not without the extra cost!
It is not uncommon for people to have multiple pairs of glasses, which could be due to a number of reasons. Some may want a pair at work and a pair at home. Others may want different pairs to match outfits they have. The downside of both of these factors? More money spent!
Glasses as an investment
Glasses are an expensive investment (depending on the level at which you need them). It is highly likely that you will need to invest in glasses on a regular basis when the frames inevitably break, when the lenses get scratched, or they get left on the bus (we have all been there).
The convenience factor
Glasses can simply be annoying in many situations.
Exercise is a situation where contact lenses or laser eye surgery are a better option, as glasses quickly become inconvenient. You could get away with wearing glasses for some leisurely forms of exercise such as walking but glasses are not well suited to intense exercise or movement. They fog up when it is steamy, raining, and when you are on the treadmill at the gym, making them virtually unusable. Some people even find that by the end of the day their glasses can feel so heavy on their face that they cause headaches.
Ultimately this shows that glasses can actually be an expensive investment. You could end up spending thousands of dollars in the long-term, only to potentially lose them, break them, or need to update your prescription regularly. So, is there a better option?
Contact Lenses – Ongoing Costs
Contact lenses can be perceived as being a convenient alternative to glasses and laser eye surgery. Contact lenses come in different shapes and sizes, and enable people to achieve the freedom of clear vision without needing to wear glasses. They don’t steam up, they are harder to leave on the bus, but how do they weigh in cost-wise?
Bespoke for your eyes
It is difficult to determine the cost of wearing contact lenses, as it largely depends on what your eyes require. Contact lenses come in many varieties, with different replacement schedules; ranging from monthlies to daily disposables.
If you have a frequent change schedule, purchasing contact lenses and cleaning solution can become a big expense – and one that doesn’t stop! If we assume the person wearing the contact lenses is young, a lifetime of contact lenses can reach well into the thousands of dollars. All while still having to administer them yourself. Over a number of years, that adds up to a lot of time in your daily routine.
Typically, you will also need to get regular check-ups and eye exams with your optometrist if you opt for contact lenses. There are more intricacies involved with contact lenses and assessing whether or not they are suitable for your eyes and lifestyle. These extra check-ups will further increase the amount you need to spend over a period of time.
The downside of contact lenses
So what do you get for your money? Exercising in them is easier than in glasses and you can wear them out and about when it’s raining, but what about the downsides?
Apart from the cost, contact lenses can take a toll on your eyes. It is easy to forget to take them out before you fall asleep, or to forget to clean them as often as they need; both of which leave your eyes at risk of getting an infection, which could permanently damage your eyes.
While a lot of exercises are fine to do with contact lenses in, swimming is a definite no. Wearing contact lenses in water, chlorinated or not, can result in eye irritation and infections, especially if swimming goggles are not worn and proper after-care is not undertaken.
There is also an environmental cost to contact lenses in that they are very difficult to dispose of in an environmentally friendly manner. There are some options for recycling them but these are few and far between. Disposing of contact lenses via a waterway, such as flushing them down the toilet can be detrimental to the marine environment and marine life. Due to their small size, they easily make their way into waterways and can be eaten. Research has been tied to this plastic then making it onto our plates when we consume seafood. Waterways aside, regularly replacing contact lenses is not the best for the environment. The packaging and disposing of contact lenses adds to our growing waste problem. From an environmental perspective, glasses or laser eye surgery would be a more environmentally-friendly option. Keep this in mind the next time you are ordering your contact lenses top-up.
Laser Eye Surgery Costs
While laser eye surgery has a higher upfront cost, when compared to glasses or contact lenses, laser becomes a much more cost effective option. Depending on your prescription you may find laser eye surgery significantly cheaper in the long run.
This is just comparing costs – one of the main benefits of laser eye surgery is not needing to endure the hardships of contact lenses or glasses post-surgery. No more having to buy new frames every other year, no need to worry about leaving your glasses on the bus, and no worrying about how to clean your contact lenses during a week-long camping trip. You will forget you ever tolerated the routine of glasses or contact lenses. Laser eye surgery has the ability to help with presbyopia and correct astigmatism, depending on age and original prescription – it’s worth getting a suitability assessment to find out if it is an option for you.
What types of laser surgery exist?
There are three types of laser eye surgery currently available in the market. The best choice for you will depend on a number of factors, including:
- What your current prescription is
- How thick your corneas are
- Your lifestyle and activities
- What your personal preference is
Your eye surgeon will determine the right procedure for your lifestyle during your medical assessment. Check out the table below for a snapshot of two of the three types of laser refractive surgery we offer:
Comparing SMILE® vs LASIK laser eye surgery:
|Flap-related complications||Non-existent||Very infrequent|
|Suitability for thinner corneas||Less||Less|
|Time to complete healing||7 Days||Months|
|Speed of visual recovery*||24 to 48 hours||24 to 48 hours|
*These are average recovery times. Recovery time can very between patients according to the size of correction and the individual’s healing response.
How much does laser eye surgery cost?
At the Wellington Eye Centre, we have an all-inclusive fee of $3,180 per eye, which is applied across all three procedures we offer. The cost of your medical assessment will be deducted from this fee. Given laser eye surgery is generally elective, as a rule insurance companies will not cover this type of treatment.
Laser eye surgery payment plans
The higher upfront cost can become more manageable when you look at our 12 months interest free finance option, which we offer through GEM Visa. For a limited time only we are extending this to 24 months – this works out to be just over $60 per week! Have a look at our handy surgery payback calculator to see how soon you can start saving money.
To find out more about laser eye surgery and whether it is a potential option for you, contact the clinic for a no obligation, free, initial laser suitability assessment today.
SMILE® is a registered trademark of Carl Zeiss Meditec.