|With Health Insurance: Copays or 10%-50% Coinsurance||Without Health Insurance: $50-$650+|
Dry eye happens when the eyes do not produce enough tears for lubrication or the tears evaporate rapidly. It usually is a result of aging, but also can be caused by a dry environment, some autoimmune diseases or, rarely, a vitamin deficiency. Symptoms can include dryness, discomfort and burning in the eyes.
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- For patients covered by health insurance, out-of-pocket costs typically consist of doctor visit copays, prescription drug copays or coinsurance of 10%-50%. Treatment for dry eye typically is covered by insurance.
- For patients not covered by health insurance, an initial doctor visit to diagnose dry eye can cost from about $50 to almost $250 or more. Treatment can cost less than $25 per month for warm compresses and over-the-counter artificial tears. It can cost about $30-$300 or more per month for prescription eye lubricant medication. And it can cost $250-$650 for punctal occlusion, a procedure in which the doctor inserts tiny devices -- called punctal plugs -- into the tear ducts to prevent drainage of tears. For example, Drugstore.com charges about $10-$20 for preservative-free artificial tears .
- Drugstore.com charges about $35 for a bottle of brand-name FreshKote prescription eye lubricant. It charges about $300 for a one-month supply of the brand-name prescription eye emulsion Restasis , if applied twice a day. It also charges about $300 per month for the brand-name prescription eye lubricant insert, Lacrisert .
- Lakewood Family Eye Care in Florida charges $250-$500 for punctal plugs inserted into the tear ducts. Patients at HealthBoards.com report costs of $500-$650.
What should be included:|
- For mild cases, the doctor might recommend that the patient use moist warm compresses and artificial tears at home, and increase water intake.
- For moderate to severe cases, the doctor might prescribe a lubricant such as FreshKote or an anti-inflammatory eye medicine such as Restasis , which causes an increase in tear production.
- Or, the doctor might recommend punctal plugs , which the doctor inserts during a short office procedure that requires local or no anesthesia.
- AllAboutVision.com offers an overview of dry eye and treatment.
- Special sunglasses and other dry eye eyewear can help protect the eyes and help them retain moisture. These typically cost about $15-$150 or more.
Shopping for dry eye treatment:
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers a locator for clinics that provide discounts on an income-based sliding scale.
- Some drug manufacturers offer patient assistance programs. Any patient without prescription drug coverage who also is not eligible for Medicare typically qualifies for Together Rx Access , a discount card that offers 25%-40% off many brand-name drugs. Most companies also offer free drugs to patients who have no coverage and meet certain criteria. The makers of Restasis offer a $20 rebate that can be applied to the next prescription.
- The American Academy of Ophthalmology provides an ophthalmologist locator . WebMD offers a guide on how to choose an eye doctor.
- DryEyeZone.com offers forums in which members help others find a doctor , find reviews of specific doctors , and learn about others' experiences with over-the-counter treatments, prescription treatments and punctal plugs .
- The Dry Eye Shop offers dry eye eyewear.
| Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
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