Before you are scheduled for LASIK surgery, you’ll start with a consultation with your prospective surgeon. At your LASIK consultation, your eyes and vision will be assessed, determining your candidacy for LASIK.
You’ll also have the opportunity to ask any questions you have about the procedure, expected outcomes, and aftercare. It is best to come to a consultation prepared with a list of questions to ask your doctor, so you ensure you receive all the information you need to make an informed decision about receiving LASIK.
What to Expect at a LASIK Consultation
An initial LASIK consultation typically takes a couple hours.
During the consultation, your doctor will induce a dilation of the pupils in order to evaluate the inside of the eye.
The doctor will take your medical history. You’ll be asked about any health-related conditions you are currently experiencing or have experienced in the past that may influence your eligibility for LASIK.
Your doctor will also perform a series of diagnostic tests, in which every aspect of your eye will be examined. These tests are not painful and do not require any form of anesthetic.
Before you enter this consultation, it is best to come prepared. The following are some steps you can do in order to help you prepare for a LASIK consultation:
- Remove your contact lenses at least two weeks prior to the consultation. Contacts can alter the shape of your eye slightly, and this can impact the results of the diagnostic testing.
- Do not wear makeup to the exam.
- Make sure to bring your prescription corrective eyewear with you.
- Obtain your medical records from your primary care provider or have them sent directly to your eye professional.
- Prepare a list of questions you wish to ask your doctor.
Questions to Ask at Your LASIK Consultation
Each surgeon’s office operates differently. Ask these questions at your consultation to get an idea of what to expect:
- What risks are involved in the procedure?
- Why am I a good candidate?
- What should I expect prior to, during, and following the procedure?
- Who will be performing the operation? How much experience do they have?
- What type of improvements can I anticipate?
- How much does the procedure cost? Do you offer financing options? What is included in the cost, such as follow-up visits or medications?
- Are there any alternatives?
- How long will it take to recover?
- What is the likelihood of side effects or complications?
- What happens if I don’t get the results we expect? Are enhancement procedures included in the cost?
- Will I still need to wear glasses after LASIK?
- What is your office’s average success rate? Where can I read about other patients’ experiences?
The Pre-LASIK Exam
A preoperative LASIK evaluation will be performed. This procedure is essential for determining a patient’s candidacy for surgery. This evaluation will consist of a review of the patient’s medical history and records, a complete physical examination, and a comprehensive eye examination.
The eye examination will consist of the following:
- A posterior dilated exam: This dilation allows the doctor to view the interior of the eye.
- Tonometry: A diagnostic test that involves measuring pressure inside the eye (intraocular pressure). This procedure is also commonly used to diagnose glaucoma.
- Visual acuity: Your refractive error is carefully measured.
- Structure assessment: The eye is fully assessed, including eye movement, pupil response, and surface of the eye.
The results of this examination will be used to determine if you are a good fit for LASIK. Additionally, this information will help determine your specific risks, expected outcomes, and any potential alternatives that may be available.
If you aren’t a good candidate for LASIK, due to thin corneas or another issue, the surgeon may recommend alternative surgeries to correct your vision.
Cost for the Consultation
Often, a LASIK consultation is free and offered as a courtesy to determine a patient’s candidacy for surgery. Confirm with the specific office in question whether there is a fee for the consultation.
The estimated cost of a LASIK procedure is approximately $2,000 to $3,000 per eye. This procedure is not covered by most insurance providers because it is currently coded by insurance companies as a cosmetic or elective surgery and not essential. Some insurance providers offer LASIK discount programs where you can receive a certain amount off the total cost if you use their preferred providers.
Do I Have to Commit to Surgery Before the LASIK Consultation?
No, you don’t know if you’re eligible for LASIK until you complete your consultation. During the consultation, you’ll learn about the procedure and what you personally can expect. Some people find out they are not a candidate for LASIK during the consultation.
Once you have verified that you are a good candidate for LASIK and want to move forward, you’ll need to commit to the required pre-op and post-op specifics. This includes seeing the doctor for follow-up evaluations.
A LASIK consultation should not feel like a high-pressure sales pitch. If you are pressured to commit or pre-pay for the surgery on the spot, it’s a clear sign that you aren’t in the right office.
A good LASIK eye surgeon will present you with thorough information on the procedure, expected outcomes, potential risks, and other details. They then leave it up to you to decide if you want to proceed. If you feel highly pressured, seek out another office.
LASIK. (August 2022). American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Laser In Situ Keratomileusis. (July 2022). StatPearls.
Predictive Factors for Efficacy and Safety in Refractive Surgery for Myopia. (December 2018). PLOS ONE.
What Should I Expect Before, During, and After the Surgery? (July 2018). U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Outcomes of Refractive Surgery Consultations at an Academic Center: Characteristics Associated with Proceeding (or Not Proceeding) With Surgery. (March 2020). Journal of Ophthalmology.
Functional Outcome and Patient Satisfaction After Laser In Situ Keratomileusis for Correction of Myopia and Myopic Astigmatism. (January–March 2015). Middle East African Journal of Ophthalmology.
Refractive Eye Surgery: Helping Patients Make Informed Decisions About LASIK. (May 2017). American Family Physician.
How to Determine an Ideal LASIK Candidate. (April 2019). Optometry Times.
LASIK for Myopia and Astigmatism: Safety and Efficacy. (October 2021). EyeWiki, American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Last Updated November 11, 2022
Note: This page should not serve as a substitute for professional medical advice from a doctor or specialist. Please review our about page for more information.