Eye-Popping Expenses


I’ve worn glasses all of my life, and I’ve never felt great about it. I’m used to them, sure, but I hate the way they make my face look. Other people look great in glasses, which I get, but the sad truth is that people like me--who really need glasses--never look as good, because the lenses distort our faces! I’ve tried contact lenses, but I hate they way they feel in my eyes. What I really want is laser eye surgery.

But there’s a problem there, too: laser eye surgery is super expensive! I want to get it now and pay with a loan or an installment plan, but my parents say that’s a bad idea and that I should wait until I’m out of school. Do I really have to live with glasses until after I graduate?

Laser eye surgery is a popular choice. About 596,000 people had the surgery in 2015, and the overwhelming majority of them enjoyed great results. Patients with mild to moderate nearsightedness can expect to gain vision of 20/40 or better after surgery, and may even reach 20/20. Experienced surgeons see complications rates as low as less than 1%.

But it’s absolutely true that laser eye surgery can be pricey. Costs average at about $2,000 per eye, though it’s worth noting that your individual situation and the region in which you live will both affect the price you get.

While health insurance policies do not typically cover laser eye surgery, the experts at Eye Consultants do say there there are other ways to make the process a bit more affordable. For instance, you could use a health savings account (HSA), which is a tax-advantaged account designed to help people pay for medical expenses. And some specialists allow you to pay for the procedures with an installment plan.

But once you commit to paying for the surgery, you’ll be on the hook for the cash--so make sure that you have enough saved. That may mean waiting until you have a steady income, but if that’s what it means for you, then that’s how it will have to be: as your parents wisely point out, now is not a good time to be ruining your credit. Credit experts say that, while good credit records can only be built up slowly, a bad credit score can be created fast--and with 35% of your FICO score being determined by your payment history, one surefire way to wreck your credit is to start missing payments on a loan or installment plan.

So go get that surgery the moment that you can afford it--but make sure not to do so until then.

Love at first sight? Let me just put on my glasses.-- Ljupka Cvetanova

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