Laser eye surgery: does health insurance pay?


Many people in Switzerland have poor eyesight and need glasses or contact lenses, or opt for laser eye surgery. But your general health insurer won’t pay anything unless you have the right insurance.

Basic insurance: cost coverage for laser eye surgery

Laser vision correction is a good, permanent solution for your eyesight, but one that costs a lot of money. Your health insurer’s basic insurance will pay for treatment in the following cases:

  • If you have a visual impairment of at least +/- 10 dioptres and are unable to wear contact lenses.
  • If the difference in vision between the two eyes is at least +/- 3 dioptres and you're unable to wear contact lenses.
  • If you have a visual impairment but are unable to wear either contact lenses or glasses for compelling reasons.
  • For cataract removal – in this case, a monofocal lens can also be surgically implanted.

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What happens during laser eye surgery?

The actual procedure doesn’t take long and is painless. Your eyes are examined first to gather precise diagnostic data. They are numbed before the procedure. After the procedure, the eyes will take a few days or weeks to recover. Your vision will improve rapidly, but it may take several months before it finally stabilises.

When does laser eye surgery make sense?

Do you want to permanently correct your visual impairment? If you’d like to be less dependent on glasses or contact lenses, then laser eye treatment makes sense. Remember that every operation carries certain risks. Discuss these in detail with your ophthalmologist.

Who is laser eye surgery suitable for?

Whether you’re short-sighted, long-sighted or have astigmatism: anyone wishing to permanently correct their poor eyesight may potentially benefit from laser eye surgery. However, there are certain conditions that must be met:

  1. Stable vision: Your vision should have remained more or less the same over a period of at least one year before you undergo treatment.
  2. Eye health: Your eyes should be free of infection, inflammation and other eye diseases.
  3. Age: Most eye doctors recommend that you are at least 18 to ensure that your eyes have fully developed.
  4. Thin cornea: The thickness of the cornea is an important factor.

Glasses, contact lenses or laser eye surgery: it’s worth having supplementary insurance

As a rule, mandatory basic insurance doesn't cover any costs for glasses, contact lenses or laser eye surgery for adults. Your health insurer’s basic insurance will pay an annual flat rate of CHF 180 towards glasses or lenses until you turn 18. So it’s worth taking out the right supplementary insurance. That way, CSS will pay something towards glasses and contact lenses.

Reasons for choosing glasses

Almost everyone can wear glasses. Spectacles come in various shapes and colours, with something to suit every taste. The Balance and Premium levels of myFlex Outpatient Insurance supplementary insurance pay a share of the cost of glasses. But glasses can be a nuisance when it rains, when you're doing sports or in general day-to-day life as they can restrict your field of vision.

When are contact lenses better?

Contact lenses are discreet and don’t change your natural appearance. They often provide better peripheral vision and are ideal for doing sports. And there’s no mirror effect such as with glasses. But, for various reasons, contact lenses aren't for everyone, and the costs are usually higher.

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