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I’ve always hated my glasses. Even after I got over the typical stigma of having frames grace my face, I still hated them. I find them cumbersome and annoying, while failing to provide me with that “sophisticated” look or gravitas that has so many people purchasing “fake” glasses for purely aesthetic purposes these days. The only thing that keeps the old coke bottles on my face is my absolute refusal to use contacts. I tried them once for a couple of weeks, but I must confess that I am a creature of habit and I didn’t like the time it took to fiddle with them day-in and day-out. Plus, as a personal finance writer I couldn’t help but notice the price tag on every box. These realities have led me to the conclusion that I want eye surgery. I think I would pay a fair amount for the service just as a personal luxury, but the interesting revelation when I started looking into the costs was that getting laser eye surgery is likely a decent investment as well.
To Each Their Own
Now before I come to any specific conclusions it is important to remember that no two people’s eyes are the same. LASIK eye surgery (which has become the dominant name in the field where I live) costs are heavily how much damage there is to repair within the eyes. Their advertisements that state, “Starting at $490 an eye,” with the tiny asterisk beside are exactly what a cynic might think they were – misleading scenarios. I’m sure somewhere out there, an individual exists who got LASIK eye surgery done on both eyes (I always wonder who gets one eye done? I know times are tough but…) for under $1,000 before taxes and extras were included, but I couldn’t find evidence of this online. One thing that thankfully seemed fairly consistent was the fact that as a young person with minimal problems related to being nearsighted I was a fairly ideal candidate for the surgery. There were a large range of “average prices” that I came across for LASIK surgeries, and this is likely due to prices coming down in recent years as the service has become more affordable, as well as geographic differences. One average figure was $3,425, while an AllAboutVision.com price report in 2010 stated the average was just under $4,300 for “a pair”, while USA Eyes recently put the average right around $4,000 in 2012. We’ll use that round figure just for argument’s sake. As I said before, everyone’s eyes are different. When doing a personal calculation I have reason to believe my personal treatment would be closer to the bottom end of the range than the top end.
Count Your Dollar Bills With New Appreciation
That number does seem high at first I grant you, but think about all of the costs you currently need to take into account for your eye care. If you have glasses and/or contacts you likely have to go for check-ups every so often to make sure your prescription is right. While your insurance might cover part of that, there is still a premium to be placed on your time and transportation costs. If you rely solely on your glasses, chances are you have a couple pairs lying around, and you buy another pair every couple of years either for fashion purposes, lost pairs, or damage inflicted according to Consumer Reports. They stated the average glasses-wearer goes through roughly 15 pairs in a lifetime. My glasses that have Nike frames and great guarantee were over $300 several years ago. From what I read, the average cost per pair of glasses today in Canada is about $250 (although there was significant money to be saved if you merely got your prescription and ordered online). Consumer Reports also stated that a box of contacts from your local Costco cost roughly $25, while upper-end Night and Day lenses from LensCrafters were $69.99. Ten boxes a year seemed to be a fairly agreed upon average from a few different sources (I’ll have to take their word for it, because again, I have very little personal experience). If we go with an average yearly cost of $300 to get our numbers, it would take roughly 13 years to break even on your surgical investment. Glasses come in as a bit cheaper option and would average $3,750 over a lifetime.
For me personally, I’ll have to go in for my free consultation, but I assume I’ll be around $2500-$3000 considering what the relative range is and my relative mild eyesight problems. Since I’m a young optically-challenged person I would guess that over the course of my lifetime I would spend higher than average amounts on glasses and/or contacts. When I crunch the numbers that way this seems like a no-brainer for me. Popular perception is that there is some degree of danger inherent in having a laser that close to your eye, but from what I read, I think there is more danger in having glass less than an inch from your eye your entire life.
Overlooked Tax Credits
According to H&R Block, medical tax credits are the most underutilized part of most tax returns. The federal government gives a non-refundable credit of 15 percent on allowable expenses (of which eye surgery is eligible). There are a couple other little caveats you or your accountant should be aware of when applying for this tax credit. For example, if you have to travel more than 40km to attain medical treatment, mileage costs are applicable as well (yay for us rural folk).
Have any of our readers ever had eye surgery before? How was the experience? Did you think about the monetary side of things before making your decision, or was it purely for your own enjoyment? From what I read you should ask your surgeon what specific expenses are covered in the quote you are given, but that LASIK is pretty upfront with their costs. It would be great to get a few Canadian examples to compare.
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