Laser eye surgery is now considered a common procedure with about 100,000 people undergoing this treatment in the UK each year. Nevertheless, the concept of undergoing laser surgery to correct vision problems can still be a bit of a mystery to many, especially as it was once deemed risky and expensive.
If you’re looking into the possibility of undergoing laser eye surgery, chances are, the cost is one of your main concerns. Some patients find the wide range of advertised prices quite confusing, with some clinics claiming to charge as little as £600 for a treatment and other clinics charging considerably more. We will try and give some clarity on the typical costs of laser eye surgery and the types of treatments available. If you are interested you can also quickly compare prices of laser eye surgery near you by entering your postcode in the short form on this page.
The Typical Cost of Laser Eye Surgery
The cost of laser eye surgery varies according to a set of factors, foremost of which is the type of procedure. The current average prices for the most common procedures are as follows:
|Treatment Type (Prices are per eye)||From||To|
|LASIK / LASEK (Standard)||£1,195||£1,795|
These average costs are higher than the rates often quoted on the websites of the main laser surgery clinics in the UK because those headline costs are typically only available to a minority of patients with low prescriptions. It is more realistic to prepare for costs similar to above rather than think you will get something closer to the ‘From £X’ prices often quoted. There is so much variability in cost due to the factors explained below that it is worth getting 2 or 3 quotes from respected clinics near you which we can do for you if you fill in the form on this page.
Why Do Laser Eye Surgery Prices Vary So Much?
What determines how much you will pay for your laser eye surgery?
- The Type of Procedure: Non-standard procedures such as those that utilise wavefront technology are considerably more expensive than standard ones (see table below for an overview of the different types of laser eye treatments).
- The Patient’s Prescription: Some clinics ask for higher payments from patients with higher prescriptions.
- The Surgeon: Generally, the more experienced the surgeon is, the higher their professional fee will be.
- The Clinic: The reputation and size of a clinic will normally determine how much it charges its patients. Clinics with high success rates tend to charge higher fees compared to those with lower success rates. Larger clinics can afford to charge lower fees as they have a larger volume of customers coming in.
An Overview of Laser Eye Surgery Treatment Types
The first thing to understand is that there are different kinds of laser eye surgical procedures, depending on the problem that needs to be corrected and the patient’s prescription. Let’s take a quick look at the most popular procedures:
|Type of Procedure||What Is It?||Who Is It For?|
|LASIK (Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis)||This is the most common type of laser treatment and is relatively painless. It involves creating a flap in the cornea, peeling it back to expose the stromal layer. The cornea is then reshaped with a laser beam and the flap is replaced afterwards.||This procedure is suitable for people with common sight problems, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.|
|LASEK (Laser-assisted epithelial keratomileusis)||In this procedure, the epithelium (the thin layer of cells that cover the cornea) is peeled back, exposing the Bowman’s layer. This is then reshaped with a laser beam and the epithelium is replaced.||This treatment is the most viable option for patients with thin corneas, and is a good alternative to LASIK surgery.|
|Wavefront||Wavefront is a type of technology utilised in LASIK and LASEK procedures. Special software creates a map of the patient’s eye to give an accurate picture of the aberrations to be corrected. The map is then loaded into the computer that controls the laser to let it reshape the cornea exactly to the patient’s specific requirements.||This customised treatment is designed to be an alternative to standard LASIK and LASEK procedures. This is perfect for people who rely on perfect vision for their jobs, such as airline pilots.|
|PRK (Photorefractive Keratoctomy)||This is the oldest type of laser eye treatment and involves the removal of the epithelium in order to access the cornea. The cornea is reshaped with laser and the patient will then have to wear a protective lens during the recovery period.||This is rarely used these days, but is a good alternative to LASIK and LASEK for people with very thin corneas who would otherwise not be considered as candidates for laser eye treatment.|
Things to Think About
Cost is an important element in your decision-making process but should not be your main consideration when choosing a laser eye surgeon and/or clinic. When choosing a clinic, look for one that has a high success rate and a reputation for providing patients with the best possible care. Make sure that your surgeon meets the standards set by the Royal College of Opthalmologists for laser eye surgeons. Many good clinics will have financing options allowing you to pay for the surgery over several months so you don’t need to go with the cheapest.
It will be very wise to refrain from going to the first clinic that offers you an unbelievably low rate. Most of the time, the advertised fee doesn’t include other costs such as screening tests, eye exams, post-op medication and aftercare appointments. Always be aware of hidden costs.
Good research is essential to help you make the right decision. After all, laser eye surgery is a life-altering procedure. It requires a lot of serious thought to make sure that you will have no regrets afterwards.