Hi, Dr Khanna here and today we are going to do some challenging questions on Lasik. They’re especially challenging for a physician like me because they deal with pricing.
And the first question is… and this might relate more to United States, but we’ll try to cover it for around the globe too.
First question is “Why is Lasik surgery considered as cosmetic?” Now this is a very tricky thing, because this was conceived 20 or 25 years ago, and it’s actually a misnomer. Lasik is not a cosmetic, it’s a visual surgery. Cosmetic is the way the world looks at us, so if you want the eyelids lifted, or face lift done, etc, then that’s cosmetic surgery. But visual is the way we look at the world, because when we go from glasses to Lasik, we can see more of the world. So it’s about vision, the colours are brighter, everything is more in focus.
But the insurance industry in the United States did not want to cover Lasik eye surgery, because it is more expensive than, let me say cataract, and also, there will be lot more people with the myopic, epidemic in the whole world right now, so it was conceived as cosmetic. So it’s a visual surgery, not cosmetic.
That leads us to the second question “Why isn’t Lasik covered by insurance?” And that’s the answer, because the insurance companies don’t want to spend money, they’d rather keep that money for themselves.
Then the third question becomes… also leads in… “Which are the insurances that do cover Lasik surgery?” Now the most commonly seen, are for like firefighters, their union benefits are there, then a get a portion towards Lasik eye surgery. There are some other insurances which do not cover, but negotiate a discount with the providers, like: VSP, like (INAUDIBLE – 2:27) does it through Blue cross, Blue Shield. They give discount price to the patient.
“Why is Lasik surgery so expensive?” If you look at it, and I quote Warren Buffet here, “There’s a difference between an investment and expense” When you go but a set of new clothes, that’s an expense. But when you go buy stock like Warren Buffet did, that’s an investment. So Lasik eye surgery is an investment. And when you invest in the best, you get the best outcomes. But let’s look behind what all of this required for that 10 seconds, or 2 minutes when the laser is reshaping your corneal, what expenses go in?
So first, we want to make sure you’re the best candidate. So for that, we’ll need a lot of expensive equipment which was not even existing 10 years ago. We need OCT Pachymetry Maps, we need colour corneal topography, we need eye designs via scan studio. These combined come to quarter million dollars, and I didn’t even add lensometer, and auto refractor, and tonometer, slit lamps. So that diagnostic part is very expensive itself. But now when we come to the actual laser, you will be surprised why it’s nearly costing half a million dollars.
When we first started 25years ago, the common thing was that Lasik would become so popular, that instead of the 8-10% penetration that we have right now, it would be 80% penetration and there’s half million dollars, machines would come down to price for $50,000. That never happened, so the machines are still expensive and it’s expensive to run them. Even if we have the state of the art laser, every time we use it, we have to put a debit card in, which debts the cost for each eye surgery. This is again coming from something called (INAUDIBLE – 4:41) going to the manufactures, and there are other expenses like gasses used. And if this was not enough, the companies also charged an exorbitant maintenance price to maintain it monthly. You don’t want to go to someone who’s using the local engineer to maintain the laser.
So when… let’s say Johnson-Johnson or Alcon… they charge a fair amount of money to make sure the laser runs precisely every monthly. And that’s your guarantee to good Lasik outcomes. Now what about the old lasers we had also taught that the technology will advance, the older lasers will become cheaper, and that has become. But you don’t want to trust your eyes to 15year old technology, just like you don’t go buy a computer which is 15years old, or a car which is 20years old. Because the more we progress, we want the best.
And there are also costs involved with the equipment sterilization and follow up. So when you take this, and let’s say you do financing over the 3years,( 36months), it just comes to a Starbucks coffee per day. So it’s how you look at it, if you’re just spending $5 per day on Starbucks coffee or on your eyes, you tell me which one is more expensive in the long run. Because Starbucks coffee is not an investment, but your vision is.
So keep using your vision to watch me, and send me more questions, and I’ll be happy to pick up tricky ones like these too. Have a wonderful day.
We all know that price is important! But think about it, is that all that is important? We get these phone calls that come in from all over Ojai, Santa Monica, Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, Fillmore, Santa Paula wherever it may be and the first thing that comes out a lot of peoples mouth is how much is it?
Well that’s a great question. But aren’t you also concerned about who the doctor is, how long has he been practicing, how is the facility, the equipment we use, what’s the quality of our machine, what’s the staff like, what’s the environment like in the office. Well the great thing about our office is we offer FREE consultations. In that FREE consultation you get to come into the office meet the staff, meet Dr. Khanna, most important of all find out if you are a candidate whether it be for Lasik, or Super Lasik!
You may even need a different procedure done such as intacs, or cataract surgery who knows until you come in and see us for your FREE consultation. We are also more than happy to go over the procedure with you, the cost and answer any questions you may have!
Los Angeles Lasik Surgeon Rajesh Khanna MD is a recognized pioneer in Presbyopic Implants for correction of aging eyes. He has popularized Cornea Cross Linking and Intacs forKeratoconus. He is an Expert Cataract, Pterygium Eye Surgeon, A Cornea Specialist he performs Laser Corneal Transplants, DMEK, DSEK and DALK. Rajesh Khanna MD is a well known medical writer. He has published the bestseller "The miracle of Pi in Eye".He is also a columnist for the newspaper Acorn. Dr.Khanna also hosts "Medical Magic". In his spare time he hikes with his family and German Shepard or does yoga. He also plays field hockey and loves swimming.