Do you trust your eyes to the lowest bidder?

Today's Crowdcut deal is Lasik surgery by Joffe Medicenter for $250 per eye, regularly $500. I've never seen a cheaper price on Lasik. It's an amazing phenomenon. Some opthalmologists are still charging about $2,000 per eye. Anyone considering Lasik might wonder if eye surgery is not the best time to economize, but they might also wonder if some opthalmologists take advantage of our fear and keep their prices high for "suckers who believe you always get what you pay for."



When I wrote about Lasik in 2001, Dr. Gary Schwartz at Associated Eye Care in St. Paul said that many people don't qualify for the lowest price surgery. Some clinics charge more for a higher refractive error correction, for example.

That's true at Joffe. After talking to a Joffe screener (1-877-895-6333) I found out that the majority of patients do not qualify for the $495 per eye price ($250 per eye with the coupon).A  stronger correction, a thinner cornea, larger pupils, astigmatism, or a combination of several of those factors bumps up the price to $950 per eye ($1,195 minus $495 coupn credit plus $250 for the Crowdcut deal). Still, that's a comparatively good deal since many clinics are charging twice that amount or more. (For the Crowdcut deal, you can buy two coupons, one for each eye.)

Another difference between Joffe and some higher-priced Lasik centers is that enhancements (further tweaks or adjustments if your eyes change) are covered for 12-18 months at Joffe. Some centers offer a lifetime period for enhancements. Joffe said that most people who need enhancements do them within one year.

If you buy the Crowdcut coupon and Joffe decides that you are not a good candidate for surgery, your money will be refunded, but if you back out for any other reason, refunds are not allowed.

The Joffe Medicenter uses Wavefront technology. According to Schwartz, ask the surgeon how many Lasik surgeries he/she has done in the last three years, but it's also important to ask how many surgeries the doctor has done with the machine(Wavefront) being used on you. The Council for Refractive Surgery Quality Assurance said that at least 250 surgeries should have been done by the surgeon in the last 12 months.

Want  to read some reviews on Joffe? Look here. One more consideration: the surgery must be done by Dec. 22, 2011, so if you're planning on using flex spending dollars for 2012, you won't be able to.

For a list of 50 tough questions to ask your surgeon, check the Council's website.

The Crowdcut deal expires Wednesday. What's your opinion? Good deal or coupon for disaster?