How much does PRK surgery cost?
The cost of PRK surgery usually ranges between $1,000 and $3,000 per eye — with an average of $2,300 — according to our survey of medical centers with upfront pricing. Like any elective medical procedure, your final price will vary from office to office.
You might be wondering why anyone would spend $3,000 per eye when they can spend as little as $1,000. But the age-old saying can apply to PRK surgery too — if a price seems too good to be true, it just might be.
Why PRK surgery?
There are several reasons why people choose PRK (photorefractive keratectomy, also called surface ablation) to correct their nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism over a similar procedure like LASIK. These can include high amounts of refractive error, thin corneas or severe dry eye.
PRK is a simpler procedure than LASIK, so it can be a little cheaper too. At most, PRK can cost about the same as LASIK, but it’s unusual for PRK to cost more.
SEE RELATED: Frequently asked questions about PRK
Different PRK surgery costs in different locations
Eye clinics that are part of major health systems, like the ones affiliated with regional systems and universities, are more likely to stick with upfront pricing or a single flat fee.
This makes it easier to calculate your final cost, but it isn’t your only option.
PRK surgery costs at a private surgical center can be lower or higher, depending on their location, reputation, available technology and more.
For example, well-known eye surgery centers regularly seen on billboards or commercials could be pricier than other practices. However, high-end centers can often back up their prices with high PRK success rates.
All of these factors are important to consider when you’re deciding where to have your procedure done.
Breaking down the cost of PRK surgery
Like the overall cost of PRK, the price breakdown can vary by location. Again, try to stay mindful of prices that seem unusually low (or high).
Some clinics may simply offer lower prices; perhaps they’re a newer practice and want to establish a patient base. Others may advertise a low price but add fees for exams, treatments or extra features to bring up the final bill.
It’s also possible that the lowest advertised price only applies to a select few patients, such as those with very minimal degrees of nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism.
Another example includes a location that advertises PRK surgery fees as low as $250 per eye — and as high as $2,500 per eye. That’s a pretty big difference, but not uncommon. With a bit of questioning, you should be able to get a more accurate cost estimate before you commit to anything.
A common added cost involves the optional use of Wavefront technology. Customized Wavefront PRK uses a guided laser to eliminate the “flap” process of traditional PRK, meaning a quicker healing time. This can add several hundred dollars per eye, and deciding if it’s worth the extra cost is up to you.
This doesn’t mean that private surgeons should be avoided, by any means. Some of the most highly regarded laser eye surgeons in the country have their own practices, and many also offer upfront pricing.
Most private facilities provide free consultations for people interested in their services. Researching multiple facilities and speaking with different doctors will give you a clearer view of which eye clinic is the best fit for you and your PRK procedure.
WANT TO FIND OUT IF PRK SURGERY IS RIGHT FOR YOU? Find an eye doctor near you and make an appointment.
Page published on Thursday, August 13, 2020