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Laser Vision Questions

How can I find out more about laser vision correction?

VSP offers many members the option of laser vision correction surgery to correct vision problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. For more details, go to How to Use My Laser Vision Benefits.

Why should I see a VSP Laser Vision doctor as a first step?

VSP Laser Vision doctors are experts in caring for you before and after your surgery. They’ll help you decide if you’re a good candidate for the surgery by:

  • Evaluating your eye care needs and providing a thorough eye exam
  • Discussing your vision correction options
  • Helping you understand the benefits and risks of each option

If you decide to have laser vision surgery, your VSP Laser Vision doctor will coordinate your surgery through a VSP Laser Vision Center and:

  • Test your eyes and evaluate the results before the surgery
  • Give your test results, eye health history, prescription, and any recommendations to the laser surgery center and surgeon through their co-management process.
After your surgery, your surgeon will have you receive post-operative care from your VSP Laser Vision doctor, who will continually monitor the healing and health of your eyes.

Why should I go to a VSP-approved laser center?

You'll get quality care through a VSP Laser Vision Center. They're chosen carefully based on certification, their specialization in the delivery of laser vision correction surgery, and technology. Plus, our members receive discounts at participating centers as well as guaranteed "not to exceed" pricing. You won't pay more than the following amounts:

  • $1,500 per eye for Conventional PRK
  • $1,800 per eye for Conventional LASIK
  • $2,300 per eye for Custom LASIK, Custom PRK, or IntraLase (bladeless LASIK)*

*Custom PRK and IntraLase are available for no more than $2,300 per eye at most, but not all, locations.

When should I talk to a VSP Laser Vision Center?

After you've met with your VSP Laser Vision doctor for your free pre-operative screening, they'll coordinate your surgery with a VSP approved center and surgeon. After surgery, you should return to your VSP Laser Vision doctor for postoperative and ongoing care.

What if another laser surgery center offers me the same price?

Other laser centers may offer to match our discounted prices, but there's no guarantee their services will meet our high quality standards.

My plan provides me with a discount on laser vision surgery. Can I see a provider other than a VSP Laser Vision Center?

If your VSP coverage allows services from providers other than VSP Laser Vision Centers, you can use your allowance with any provider. However, your discount is only available from VSP Laser Vision Centers (contracted centers). You should see a VSP Laser Vision doctor to see if laser vision correction is right for you before choosing to have laser vision surgery. If you choose to see a provider other than a VSP Laser Vision Center, you'll pay the provider in full and submit a claim to VSP for reimbursement.

If you decide to see a non-VSP provider, your benefit is less. If you have non-VSP provider benefits, we'll reimburse you up to a specific amount according to your plan, if applicable. You'll get more from your benefit with a VSP doctor.

To find out if your plan allows services from providers other than VSP Laser Vision Centers, log in to your vsp.com account. You may also contact your human resources representative for information.

What kinds of laser vision correction surgery are there?

Our Laser VisionCareSM program covers the following types of surgery:

Conventional LASIK: For this procedure, the patient’s prescription is measured using the same traditional tests that would determine their prescription for glasses and contacts. The information provided from these measurements guides the doctor in reshaping the patient’s cornea. The surgeon makes an incision (with either a laser or a blade) in the cornea to create a flap of tissue, which is lifted so the laser can be applied to reshape the inner layers of the cornea. The computer-controlled surgical laser carefully reshapes the layers of the cornea to repair imperfections in curvature that lead to distorted vision. The corneal flap is then put back in place and heals over the reshaped part of the cornea in a few days.

Custom LASIK: Unlike Conventional LASIK, Custom LASIK uses wavefront technology to measure the way light travels through the eye. This digital technology performs a detailed analysis of the eye that examines the entire optical system. It identifies and measures imperfections 25 times more precise than Conventional LASIK and creates a customized map for each individual eye. This data is then used to guide the laser during the procedure for optimal results.

IntraLase (bladeless LASIK): When performing bladeless LASIK, the LASIK surgeon uses a gentle laser to create the corneal flap. This technology allows the LASIK surgeon to better customize the corneal flap for each patient. As the name implies, no blades are used in this kind of laser eye surgery.

Conventional PRK: Like LASIK, PRK reshapes the curvature of the eye and treats nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. PRK differs from LASIK in that it is performed on the surface of the eye and no flap is created during the procedure. Instead, the outer layer of the cornea is removed to expose an area for a laser to reshape. This makes PRK a better choice for people whose eyes meet certain criteria, such as having thin corneas or chronically dry eyes.

Custom PRK: This procedure mirrors conventional PRK except the surgeon uses customized wavefront technology to gather an additional level of data about the patient’s vision. This data is then used to guide the laser during the procedure for optimal results.Recovery from either type of PRK procedure takes longer than from LASIK because the outer layer of the cornea needs time to heal.

Who can benefit from CustomLASIK?

This advanced technology is suitable for those requiring higher levels of precision and accuracy than Conventional LASIK can provide.

Who can benefit from LASIK?

It is suitable for basic vision errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.

Who can benefit from PRK?

It is suitable for people with larger pupils, thin corneas, dry eyes and those who have other corneal issues.

Is it painful?

The surgery is painless because the surgeon puts drops in your eyes to numb them. After the surgery, your eyes may be irritated for a few days. Any discomfort can be treated with medication.

What are the risks?

All surgical procedures have some risks, including laser vision correction. These may include some minor pain or discomfort after surgery, night glare, regression (a gradual decrease in visual sharpness over time), scarring, under or over correction and infection. Be sure to discuss your concerns with your VSP Laser Vision doctor.

Are both eyes treated the same day?

It's common to have both eyes treated the same day. Your VSP Laser Vision doctor and your laser surgeon will help you decide if this is best for you.

How long does it take?

Allow two to four hours for the entire process. The actual surgery takes 10 to 15 minutes per eye.

What is the recovery time?

Many people return to work one or two days after surgery. If you have a higher prescription, you may recover more slowly.

What if I'm not happy with the results?

Talk to your VSP Laser Vision doctor. Laser centers in the VSP network offer enhancement procedures at no cost to you, if necessary. However, it is important for you to talk about your expectations with your VSP Laser Vision doctor before the surgery.