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Lazy Eye Treatment Cost

How Much Does Lazy Eye Treatment Cost?

average costWith Health Insurance: Copays + 10%-50% Coinsurancehigh costWithout Health Insurance: $1,000-$15,000+
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Lazy eye, or strabismus[1] , is a condition in which the eyes are not correctly aligned, often because an eye muscle is too weak or too strong, so the eyes may point in different directions. It is common in children, but also can occur in adults, in whom it commonly causes double vision.

Typical costs:

  • For patients with health insurance, out-of-pocket costs typically consist of doctor visit copays, prescription drug copays or coinsurance of 10%-50%. Lazy eye treatment typically is covered by health insurance, and is not considered cosmetic.
  • For patients without health insurance, lazy eye treatment typically costs less than $1,000 for glasses and monitoring. It can cost up to $2,000 or more for vision therapy, which attempts to train the eyes to align properly. Surgery typically costs about $5,000-$15,000 or more for a complex case in which the patient has scarring in the eye from a previous surgery or has another eye issue that makes surgery more challenging.
  • At The Vision Therapy Center Inc., in Wisconsin, vision therapy[2] costs $139 per session. For the 12-24 sessions typically needed over several months, the total could range from $1,600 to more than $3,300.
  • According to a University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, study[3] , strabismus surgery typically costs about $4,250 per case. And at Baptist Memorial Health Care, in Tennessee, strabismus surgery[4] costs about $5,500, not including doctor fee, which can add several thousand dollars to the total cost. If the patient has scarring, such as from a previous surgery, the hospital charges about $5,000 extra for a total of more than $10,500. And at Saint Elizabeth Regional Medical Center, in Nebraska, strabismus surgery[5] costs about $14,000, not including doctor fee, when the patient has scarring from previous surgery.
Related articles: Eyeglasses, Eye Exam, Health Insurance

What should be included:
  • After a patient is diagnosed with strabismus, the eye doctor will determine the best treatment based on the individual case and whether the patient is a child or adult. For children, doctors sometimes prescribe special glasses or vision therapy to try to correct the problem, considering surgery only if those treatments fail. Prompt treatment in children is important to avoid development of amblyopia[6] , in which vision does not develop properly in one eye.
  • Glasses are often prescribed first for children with mild strabismus, or for adults. The glasses typically have prism lenses that change how the light hits the eyes and can often improve the condition.
  • In vision therapy, which is sometimes used for children with strabismus, the therapist, usually supervised by an optometrist, uses activities and tools to try to train the eyes to operate correctly. has a guide to vision therapy[7] . According to, vision therapy is somewhat controversial as not all doctors see it as a valuable treatment.
  • It is common for adults to require surgery, and some children do as well. In strabismus surgery, the doctor makes a small incision in the eye and detaches, then reattaches one or more of the muscles that move the eye. The procedure is typically an outpatient procedure that requires general anesthesia for children, while adults in some cases receive sedation or local anesthesia. The American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus offers an overview of strabismus surgery[8] .
  • The American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus offers a guide to strabismus in adults[9] .
Additional costs:
  • Antibiotic eye drops are sometimes required for patients who have strabismus surgery. At, prescription antibiotic eye drops cost from less than $10 for generic to more than $75 for brand-name drops.
  • Very young children who need surgery sometimes require several procedures. In adults, the surgery also sometimes needs to repeated. A second or third procedure can cost at least $5,000 more than a first procedure if there is scarring from the previous surgery.
  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers a locator[10] for clinics that provide discounts on an income-based sliding scale.
Shopping for lazy eye treatment:
  • For adults, the American Academy of Ophthalmology provides an ophthalmologist locator[11] , and patients can verify board certification by contacting the American Board of Ophthalmology[12] . For children, the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus offers a pediatric ophthalmologist locator[13] .
  • WebMD offers a guide[14] to choosing an eye doctor.
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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