Lasik eye doctor in the Chicago area
November 17, 2006 7:00 PM   Subscribe

Hi everyone. My first question even though I've been reading for quite awhile. My wife is looking into Lasik in the Chicago or the Chicago suburbs. She is nearsighted with stigmatisms. She heard a commercial on our NPR for a Michigan Ave. laser clinic and called. They told her it would be $2,500-3,000 per eye. Her vision is precious to me and I certainly don't want to go to a cheap place but that seems insanely expensive. We're looking for recomendations of good doctors in the chicago area and information about whether this price is as high as it sounds to me. My feeling is we're paying for a posh Michigan Ave. location not for great doctors and service. Thanks everyone.
posted by elkton to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Sorry what she has is an astigmatism not a stigmatism. I have been corrected.
posted by elkton at 7:13 PM on November 17, 2006

That seems high, here in New Orleans there is a very good Dr that does it for $750 an eye. Maybe worth the trip!
posted by JujuB at 8:06 PM on November 17, 2006

Do some research on-line. $2500/eye seems quite high. $750/eye may be a little low. The tradeoff is that low prices guarantee some shortcuts. Around $1000-$1200/eye sounds right to me---but do the research for current prices. You also might consider having her evaluated by a LASIK place that is told in advance that you want only the evaluation, and that if it is done, it will be done elsewhere, so that they don't have the conflict of interest inherent in evaluating her suitability with the idea that if they find her suitable for the surgery, they'll do the surgery. LASIK isn't the right answer for everyone.
posted by LeisureGuy at 8:23 PM on November 17, 2006

Check to see what kind of technology they're using for the procedure. Many practices perform LASIK using Wavefront procedures like CustomVue that offer superior results over "standard" LASIK, and some practices, on top of that, offer "blade-free" LASIK by using a second (IntraLase) laser to create the initial flap on the cornea, instead of using a metal microkeratome blade.

These technologies are fairly advanced, offer some tangible benefits, but also add a premium to the cost of the procedure per eye. But, as you mentioned, do you really want to go cheap when your vision is the issue at hand?
posted by wubbie at 9:38 PM on November 17, 2006

I went to a talk by one of the guys who invented the technology underlying LASIK surgery, David Williams. He said 'People often ask me what I think of LASIK, and I just point out that I'm still wearing glasses'.

A lot of people report serious problems with night vision and dry eyes after LASIK. This page describes some of the risks, and gives some advice on choosing a doctor.
posted by beniamino at 9:58 PM on November 17, 2006

I got mine done at Pacific Laser Eye Surgery by one of the two guys who pioneered the processs and have been continually refining it. It's the place that eye surgery people go to get their eyes done.

$1,250 CDN per eye.

However, there was a sliding scale. Extremely poor eyesight or extremely complicated astigmatism raised the price up to (I think the maximum range they gave was $3000 CDN per eye).

Also, does that price include pre-operative testing and aftercare? I had to go to an independent optometrist for pre- and post-op and that cost $500 (all inclusive).

Additionally, taking care of your eyes after the surgery is just as important as the surgery itself.

(almost 6 months out and I'm extremely happy with both the procedure's outcome [a little better than 20/15 {better than 20/20} in right eye, just shy of 20/20 in left eye. I don't know what the 20- rating was but I was -2.25 right eye and -1.75 in left eye] as well as the lifestyle change. However, LASIK cannot correct age-related sight degeneration. If I'm going to need reading glasses anyways, I'm still going to need reading glasses as that degeneration has to do with muscle tone rather than the lens itself.)
posted by porpoise at 10:01 PM on November 17, 2006

About 3 years ago I paid $1500 an eye here in Orlando for LASIK with one of the best/most experienced practitioners in the country. I was nearsighted with astigmatism also; about 4.5 in one eye and 5.75 in the other. Prices have dropped about 20% here since then, So unless your wife has an extremely rare situation I think you're paying for the address.
posted by white_devil at 6:40 AM on November 18, 2006

Do not let money dictate the choice of the doctor. These are EYES we're talking about. Interview many doctors. Ask them questions. If they say 'trust me', drop them. Find out what technology they are using. Study the different kinds of technology available.
posted by allelopath at 9:20 AM on November 18, 2006

Had LASIK performed by Dr. Robert Feder at Northwestern Hospital in 2002 -- $1800/eye. Great results (I had moderately severe myopia and thin corneas, so it was a bit tricky.) This year, Chicago magazine named Feder one of Chicago's top doctors.

Also, if your employer offers it, consider using flex benefits or a medical savings account to pay for it.
posted by CMichaelCook at 10:08 AM on November 18, 2006

I don't recall the commercial, but it wouldn't surprise me if the place she contacted was the Kraff Eye Institute. They're pretty well regarded in the LASIK field -- I think they were some of the people who pioneered the technique. They've done the procedure for the Bears and for Oprah, among other Chicago famous people. It doesn't necessarily mean that they're worth that price, but they do have a good reputation. It may be something to keep in mind when you shop around -- that price tag for one of the gold standards in the area.
posted by penchant at 12:20 PM on November 18, 2006

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