denver laser eye correction by marcusbuggs

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                                           The price of lasik eye correction surgery
                                 reported by: Mark Koebrich (9NEWS Consumer Reporter)    and Quynh Nguyen (9NEWS
                                         Reporter/Producer)   posted by: Jessica Roe (Executive Producer)

                                        Created: 2/10/2005 6:44 PM MST - Updated: 2/11/2005 8:17 PM MST

                                          DENVER - More than a
                                      million people choose
                                      laser vision correction
                                      every year, most of them
                                      opting for Lasik. But
                                      they're not all paying the
                        same price.
                                                                                         RELATED LINKS
                        An informal survey of metro area
                                                                          Lasik Vision Institute - (303) 758-1034
                        practitioners found prices ranging from
                        $4,600 to about $1,400 for both eyes.           or (877) 998-5274
                        9News examined outcomes at two                    Hines-Sight Lasik - (800) 626-2156
                        different price points, following Ziantha         Spivack Vision Center - (303) SEE-2020
                        Helm, 24, who traveled to Denver from           or (888) 898-2020
                        Kansas for Lasik, and Erin Zahradka,              Dishler Laser Institute - (303) 793-
                        27, who lives in Broomfield. Both have          3000 or (800) 90-LASIK
                        worn glasses for as long as they can              CU Health Sciences Dept. of
                        remember.                                       Opthalmology (720)-848-2020
                                                                          Health Grades Doctor Research
                        "I'm very excited," said Helm, before
                        her procedure last month. "I can't wait
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                        "I'm really sick of wearing my glasses,"
                        said Zahradka.

                        For her procedure, Helm chose Hines-
                        Sight, an eye center that offers Lasik
                        and other types of vision correction.
                        It's a mid-priced operation, at $1,250
                        per eye.

                        "There are a lot of less expensive
                        places," Helm said. "But, when it
                        comes to my eyes, personally, I'm not
                        going to bargain shop. This opportunity
                        for me is really priceless."

                        Zahradka paid less, $718 per eye at
                        the Lasik Vision Institute.
                                                                         9NEWS Consumer reporter Mark Koebrich
                        Lasik Vision is a chain with 35 centers       takes a closer look at the different options for
                        across the country. They say they               lasik surgery. Feb. 10, 2005. 9NEWS at 10
                        charge less because they own their                                  p.m.
                        lasers and because they do Lasik only, 2/14/2005                                                                                            Page 2 of 3

                    offering no other services. The
                    company used to be known as the
                    Laser Vision Institute, and settled
                    false-advertising claims with the
                    Federal Trade Commission. It has since
                    changed owners and its name.

                    Zahradka was comfortable with what
                    she paid.

                    "I would have paid more if I didn't feel
                    comfortable here. I would have paid
                    $10,000 if I had to, but this was
                    affordable so I went with this place."

                    Both women did a lot of research before they made their selections.

                    As part of her inquiry, Zahradka tapped, which compiles information
                    about physicians from dozens of sources, including all state medical boards. For $7.95,
                    the report she got on Dr. Paul Cutarelli showed his medical education, years since
                    graduation, certification by the American Board of Opthalmology, and clean disciplinary

                    HealthGrades, which is based in Lakewood, gets two million hits per month from
                    consumers like Zahradka, looking for information, according to Scott Shapiro, vice
                    president. He said it's part of a broader trend, based in part on higher deductible health
                    care plans.

                    "It had been true that consumers researched new cars more than they researched their
                    physician or their hospital or a potential nursing home," he said. "Now they can find
                    high-quality healthcare providers very easily."

                    "They're looking around for price but you have to shop around for quality as well,"
                    Shapiro said.

                    "I don't think price should be your top priority," said Dr. Richard Davidson of the Rocky
                    Mountain Lions Eye Institute, with the University of Colorado School of Medicine. "The
                    top priority should be your comfort level with whoever is doing the surgery."

                    Davidson is a cornea specialist and he says it's important to figure out what you're
                    getting for the cost. The price for some physicians may include just one exam.

                    Others offer follow-ups for up to a year.

                    "If physicians are offering guarantees of 20/20 vision or other things like that, I would
                    be a little skeptical," he said. "Guarantees come with refrigerators and freezers. They
                    don't come with eye surgeries."

                    New technology is one reason for the wide range in prices. The most expensive eye
                    surgery in the 9News survey: the Intra-Lasik procedure from The Dishler Laser Institute
                    at $2,295 per eye. They say they're unique because the incision to the eye is made with
                    a laser and not a razor.

                    Also on the higher end is the Spivak Vision Center's conventional Lasik procedure for
                    $1,895 per eye. 2/14/2005                                                                                                  Page 3 of 3

                         For both of these patients, it came down to their comfort level with their doctors.

                         Zahradka paid less and says she's extremely pleased with her results.

                         Helm's surgery cost more, but being able to see the clock on the wall moments after the
                         procedure brought her to tears.

                         She says it was worth every penny.

                         9News Consumer Reporter Mark Koebrich can be reached at 303-871-1499 or

                         9News Consumer Producer Quynh Nguyen can be reached at 303-871-1499 or

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