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Laser Eye Surgery Cost Review

Spend any amount of time on the internet looking at different laser eye surgery websites and you will soon discover that the laser eye surgery cost comparison can vary dramatically. Why is that? What is so different about these clinics?

It can be confusing, and although the cost for laser eye surgery is not always the primary motive for choosing your clinic, it is an important factor to consider.

We have looked at the different prices and treatment types and will explain in simple terms, what it all means. That way you will be able to make an informed choice when it comes to your laser eye surgery.

What are the different laser eye surgery treatment types?

LASIK is the most popular treatment with bladeless technology and a quick recovery time (you will be able to start living your glasses/contact free life almost immediately). 

Costs for your LASIK treatment are on average between £1,495 – £1,895 per eye. However, some private clinics in London can charge as much as £2,100 – £2,400 per eye, sometimes even more. We will go into further detail about the differences in costs for your laser eye treatment below.

LASEK is the alternative treatment for those who are not suitable for LASIK. Also a bladeless treatment, prices are typically between £1,695-£3,250 per eye.

You may have seen some laser eye surgery prices advertised for as little as £595 per eye, this treatment is for a LASIK, and is likely for those who do not have high prescriptions.

Laser Eye Surgery Prices - Treatment Types

The table shows average laser eye surgery prices per eye nationwide. Different clinics offer different versions of 3D scanning technology. This has different names depending on the clinic and technology i.e. Optimax use Intralase and Optical Express use iDesign. 

For the purpose of comparing the laser eye surgery costs, we have called this “3D Technology” in the below table. This technology gives even better results than standard procedures. 

So even though the average cost for this is more expensive, it can give patients better than 20/20 vision. So for many this small investment is worth it.

Treatment Type (Prices are per eye) From To
LASEK
£595
£1,795
LASIK
£1,195
£2,700
LASEK (3D Technology)
£1,495
£2,450
LASIK (3D Technology)
£1,695
£3,250
ReLEx SMILE
£2,495
£3,250
Company Treatment Name Consultation Price Per Eye
Optical Express
LASIK with iDesign
Free
£1,495
Optegra
LASIK (3D Technology)
Free
£1,795
Optimax
IntraLase® LASIK
Free
£1,795
Ultralase
Wavefront LASIK
Free
£1,795

Laser Eye Surgery Prices - Clinics

We compared prices for LASIK 3D technology laser eye surgery from clinics all over the UK to show you an average of what you should expect to pay. This is based on an average prescription. As you can see there is some difference between the prices for the laser eye surgery methods. Optical Express is the cheapest for laser eye surgery at the time of our search.

Laser Eye Surgery Prices - Extra Costs

If the costs for your laser eye treatment are a little more than expected, you’ll be happy to know that most clinics do offer some level of finance, including some that offer interest-free. If you can finance your laser eye surgery cost is dependent on usual checks. 

It is worth noting that a selection of independent and private clinics may not have the same variety of payment options for your laser eye surgery cost. Taking finance will allow you to pay for treatments over a longer period of time. 

We collated examples of what finance options may look like to give you an idea of typical rates.

Treatment Type (Prices are per eye) Deposit 10 Months 24 Months
LASIK
10% or £500
£70 (0% APR)
£23 (11.5% APR)
LASEK (Wavefront)
10% or £500
£153 (0% APR)
£50 (11.5% APR)
LASIK (Wavefront)
10% or £500
£153 (0% APR)
£33 (11.5% APR)
ReLEx SMILE
10% or £500
£188 (0% APR)
£94 (9.9% APR)

If you are looking for an interest-free option, at the time of research this was on offer from various clinics including Optimax and Optical Express. As finance offers change, we would recommend you check your finance options at time of enquiry.

Laser Eye Treatment - Extra Costs

Some clinics may not include everything in the initial cost you are quoted. It is worth checking with the provider from the start, and ask if there are any additional fees that you may have to pay. When doing research we found that some clinics asked for payment for things that you may assume would be included. Here are some examples of things you should look out for:

High Prescriptions

Although many clinics charge a fixed price for your laser eye surgery, some clinics may charge different costs depending on your prescription. With a higher laser eye surgery price quoted for those with a higher prescription.

Other Circumstances

You may also find that if you have had previous surgery or there are any other unusual ocular considerations to be made treatments may incur an additional fee or costs.

Consultation Costs

Commonly, your first consultation for laser eye surgery will be free. There are a few clinics who charge a small refundable deposit on booking, this is to deter people from not attending their appointments. These fees can sometimes be higher on weekends, for example, Optimax charge £10 for Monday-Friday appointments and £30 on Saturday and Sunday. Some London based clinics charge a much higher premium, this can be up to £500. This is deducted from the cost of your surgery, but if you are attending a London clinic we would recommend you look at their terms before you book your consultation appointment.

Aftercare Costs

It is normal for most clinics to include all the aftercare that you need for around 12 months post-surgery. Rarely, this would not be included in the quote you are given for your laser eye surgery. After the initial 12 months if you do need aftercare the prices can vary from clinic to clinic. This can also vary depending on who you would like your appointment with, for example, an appointment with an ophthalmic surgeon will often cost more than with an optometrist. Again, we would recommend that you ask these questions at the start so you do not have unexpected costs.

What else affects the cost of laser eye surgery?

There are some other factors to consider when looking at different prices. Laser eye surgery costs can be influenced by things such as location and aftercare. Let’s have a look at what these can be:

Prescription

Remember that your level of prescription may affect your price. You will find out exactly what the cost for your laser eye surgery will be when you attend your consultation appointment.

Location & Company Size

You may find that clinics that are located in London only, have higher prices. National clinics who have locations in London offer a fixed price so you do not pay a premium (apart from Optegra who charge a £100 premium for central London clinics). Nationwide companies that have clinics all over the UK can often charge slightly lower prices.

Technology

Remember, there is different options in terms of technology. The 3D imaging technology will give you better results but this may have a slightly higher price. Many patients feel that this extra cost is worth the investment.

Patient Care

Some clinics lower their prices as they do not include aftercare appointments. This is something to think about when looking at your refractive surgery options.

Is laser eye surgery cheaper than contact lenses and glasses?

On the face of it, the immediate cost for a pair of glasses or a box of contact lenses is going to be cheaper than laser eye surgery. However, if you look at the long term financial expenditure for your glasses and contact lenses, you may be surprised at how much you spend. The investment you make in your laser eye surgery may work out cheaper in the long run. How much do you spend on your glasses or contact lenses?

How often do you have this outgoing cost? A one-off payment or a finance option may be more beneficial and cheaper. Plus having the freedom of living contact lens and glasses-free is worth more than money to many, as the procedure can be life-changing. Not to mention kinder on the environment.

How does laser eye surgery work?

The prescription of your eye is derived from the power of your cornea (the outer clear part of your eye) and the power of the natural lens within your eye. To have 20:20 vision, these two components must work together to focus light perfectly on your retina. If you are long-sighted, short-sighted or have astigmatism, this is not the case. During laser eye surgery, the procedure aims to alter the shape (and therefore power) of your cornea. 

This ensures that the light entering your eye is focused perfectly on to your retina. When this is corrected you will no longer need to wear your glasses or contact lenses.

Understanding Laser eye treatment types

We already touched on the different treatment types, but if you are still unsure and would like more details on the different types of procedures, we have listed some of the most popular ones below with a brief description.

LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis)

The most popular type of treatment, suitable for people with common sight issues. So whether you are near-sighted, short-sighted or even have astigmatism you’ll be eligible for this treatment. The procedure itself is pretty much pain-free, it involves peeling back the cornea after a small flap is created. This reveals the stromal layer. The cornea can then be reshaped with the cool laser beam. The flap is replaced afterwards and heals extremely quickly.

LASEK (Laser-Assisted Epithelial Keratomileusis)

This treatment is another option for patients with thin corneas, and an alternative to LASIK. The method used in LASEK is slightly different from LASIK in that the epithelium (The layer of cells that covers the cornea) is removed which reveals the Bowman’s layer. The layer is then reshaped with the cool laser beam. The epithelium is then replaced. This particular type of treatment allows patients to return to contact sports quicker than LASIK.

PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy)

Advances in technology have meant this procedure is rarely used nowadays. However, the treatment is sometimes used for patients with a thin cornea and for those who would not be suitable for other treatment types. The epithelium is removed and the cornea re-shaped. A protective lens is worn by the patient post-surgery.

Laser eye surgery on the day

Now you know about the different types of laser eye procedures, you are probably curious about what happens on the day? 

The actual procedure itself only takes about 10 minutes on average to perform, and this is for both eyes. Before your laser eye surgery, you will typically see your ophthalmic surgeon for a quick consultation to check you are happy with everything. The surgeon will also check he/she is happy with all the measurements that have been previously taken during the laser eye surgery consultation. Once you are taken through for the treatment your eyes are anaesthetised (numbed) using eye drops. Once your eyes have been anaesthetised your surgeon then has to access the inner layers of your cornea to perform the corrective procedure needed. 

Following the treatment, your surgeon will assess the results and most clinics will have a separate recovery room so that you can rest and relax for a short period of time before you are released. Full aftercare instructions will be given and your follow up aftercare appointment booked. Depending on treatment type, some patients can see the difference in their eyesight immediately.

cheaper Laser eye surgery options

You may be attracted to a cheaper laser eye surgery treatment or clinic and although these options can look more attractive, bear in mind it may not be cheaper in the long run. You are choosing to have a life-changing procedure and it might end up costing you more if it is not carried out by a reputable provider.

Make sure that the clinic you are researching is well known and you have details on the surgeons they employ and patient satisfaction rates. Many of the large laser eye clinics employ some outstanding, experienced and well-renowned surgeons, and have full surgeon profiles online for you to read. These surgeon profiles give full details including procedure numbers, which is also worthwhile looking at. If cost is a real deciding factor, the best way to manage the laser eye surgery cost is to look at finance or wait until you have been able to save a little more. That way you will be able to have your laser eye surgery at one of the affordable, but highly reputable nationwide clinics.

The other cheaper option you may have stumbled across when doing online research is clinics that are located outside of the UK. There are a multitude of clinics based abroad advertising cheap laser eye surgery. There are some major factors to consider here, one glaringly obvious one, is that it is much harder to consider the standard of care. Regulations often differ from country to country and this can be difficult to research and understand, especially with a possible language barrier. What sort of aftercare would be provided? How easy would it be to do aftercare effectively if you are not in the same country? Secondly, there can be many additional costs, from flights, transfers, accommodation and a potential second visit abroad for an aftercare visit. This can add substantial costs as well as risks.

Laser Eye Surgery - Insurance

If you have private health insurance you may have already contacted them to enquire about the possibility of laser eye surgery. Companies such as Aviva, Vitality, Axa and Bupa all will have different terms and conditions but you will have discovered that they do not cover for laser eye surgery. This is because it is classed as elective surgery. There are some exceptions though, if you require laser eye surgery due to an injury or even an allergy then you may well be covered. If you have not already checked with your private health insurance provider to find out what they do cover, we would recommend you do so.

Laser Eye Surgery - NHS

Laser eye surgery is available on the NHS, however, this is dependent on the reason for treatment. NHS treatment will only be given for patients who have a condition which can lead to loss of vision without corrective refractive surgery. These conditions include diabetic retinopathy, some types of age-related macular degeneration and some specific diseases of the cornea. The NHS will not treat patients with conditions such as short- or long-sightedness. If your eyesight can be corrected by wearing glasses or contact lenses you will not be eligible for NHS laser eye surgery.

Suitability for laser eye surgery

Once you have decided you would like to undertake laser eye surgery and have looked over all your options, the next step is to book in for a consultation to check you are suitable. Whilst there are some variations between different clinics, the typical suitability rate is around 85%, meaning that 15% of people are unsuitable for the surgery. However, as technology in refractive surgery has greatly improved over the years the prescription range has widened. This means that if you have been told in the past you are not a suitable candidate, you may well be now. There are however certain medical conditions and eye conditions that may mean you are not a suitable candidate for the surgery. You will be advised of your suitability at your consultation appointment.

The cost of laser eye surgery

We have discussed in great detail how different types of treatment can cost different prices and the difference between those treatments. We have also done all of the hard work for you and looked at various clinics to compare the prices for your laser eye treatment.

This gives you all the basic information you need to make an informed choice. You have all the extra information and answers to questions that may arise when you are beginning to think about your corrective eye surgery. Now you have all of this information you are armed with everything you need to go and do your own research. When researching there are review websites that you can check to give you some additional information about your potential clinic.

Remember this is a life-changing procedure and it is better to go with a reputable clinic and have the very best treatment.

“I saved £300 on my laser eye surgery at Optical Express when I booked through Right Clinic and now I never have to wear glasses again. Thank You!"
Jayne Blake
Cardiff
"After comparing all the clinics I decided to just go for it! I booked my consultation through Right Clinic and got a better price than if I'd gone direct."
David Flynn
Manchester

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