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Laser eye surgery has come a long way since it was first introduced in the UK in 1990. These days, laser eye surgery makes up around 75% of all surgical procedures carried out in the UK. The technology behind laser eye surgery is constantly being developed and improved to make it even better, safer and more affordable.

Given the sheer number of laser eye surgery providers in the country today, the question of which surgeon and clinic to go to can be really daunting but doing your research is really essential to making the right choice. The guide below will hopefully help you determine if  laser eye surgery is right for you and which are the best clinics if you decide to take  the plunge and part with your hard earned cash.

Am I Eligible for Laser Eye Surgery?

Even though you’ll go through a selection process when finding your surgeon, you’ll also go through one, too, to make sure you’re an eligible candidate for laser eye surgery. Below we’ve put together some of the main criteria for those who are/aren’t suitable for these procedures:

You are Suitable If:

  • You’re fit and healthy.
  • You aren’t allergic to anaesthesia.
  • You’ve had stable vision for around 2 years.
  • You’re over 21. There is no upper age limit for laser eye surgery patients, although some clinics that will not operate on those over 70.
  • You have a refractive error, which tends to be in the following range:
    • Up to -10.00D of nearsightedness (myopia)
    • Up to +4.00D of farsightedness (hyperopia)
    • Up to +/-6.00D of astigmatism

You are Not Suitable If:

  • You have dry eyes.
  • You have cataracts or glaucoma.
  • You have thin corneas.
  • You’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • You’re taking immunosuppressant drugs.
  • You suffer from certain medical conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, hepatitis C, diabetes, the herpes virus and lupus.
  • You have a job that’s dependent on your eyesight (although not an exclusion per se, professional athletes, pilots and so on are told to consider the implications if the procedure does go wrong).

What Type Of Treatment Should I Have?

laser eye surgery prices

How Much is Laser Eye Surgery?

Treatment Type (Prices are per eye) From To
LASEK (Wavefront)
LASIK (Wavefront)

Typical Laser Eye Treatment Prices In National Clinics

Company Treatment Name Consultation Price Per Eye
Optical Express
LASIK with iDesign
LASIK (blade-free)
IntraLase® LASIK
Wavefront LASIK

Prices correct as of November 2019

Typical Laser Eye Treatment Prices In London

Company Treatment Name Consultation Price Per Eye
LASIK (blade-free)
£25-£50 *
£2,400 – £2,800
London Vision Clinic
LASIK (blade-free)
£2,600 – £3,250
Advanced Vision Care
Intralase Wavefront LASIK
£100 **
Centre for Sight
IntraLASIK Supracor
£500 ***

* Refundable Consultations are often called booking deposits  which are normally refundable after attending the consultation (weekday and weekend prices shown when applicable). 

**This deposit payment of £500 is deducted from the total cost of surgery if patient is found suitable. If a patient is found to be unsuitable for Laser eye surgery, this deposit payment will be refunded in full.

** In cases where a patient is found suitable but does not proceed with treatment, a 50% refund will be provided to cover the cost of the consultation.

*** Deposit deducted from the cost of treatment and if a patient is unsuitable this will be refunded in full. In cases where a patient is found suitable but does not proceed with treatment, a 50% refund will be provided to cover the cost of the consultation.

Key Questions To Get Answered At Your Free Consultation

Private Clinics in the UK vs. NHS Laser Eye Treatment

What Are the Alternatives to Laser Eye Surgery?

What Are the Possible Risks of Laser Eye Surgery?

What Are the Possible Side Effects of Laser Surgery?

How to Reduce Potential Side Effects and Problems

Getting Laser Eye Surgery Abroad

Whilst the cost of the surgery perhaps may be cheaper abroad, it’s important to take into account all of the additional costs you may face. These include return flights, accommodation, days off work and insurance (when travelling abroad for a medical procedure, you won’t be covered by your standard holiday insurance, meaning you will need to take out additional cover, which could cost over £100 extra). Also, don’t forget to allow for follow-up consultations with your surgeon, too.

Unfortunately, when it comes to laser eye surgery, there isn’t a compulsory regulatory body, which means it can be difficult to find out what training a surgeon’s had and where their skills have been accredited. However, in the UK, surgeons must be on the General Medical Council’s register in order to perform procedures, so there are far more rigorous checks in place.

As time is often limited when you’re travelling abroad for surgery, you might only be offered an online consultation with your surgeon prior to the procedure. This may mean you’re not 100% comfortable with the operation as you haven’t had time to build a relationship with the surgeon and ask all the questions you want to ask.

Even though most clinics offering international procedures will have some English-speaking staff, some do not. As you’ll need to communicate effectively with them before, during and after your surgery, you may want to check this so you don’t run into any communication problems further down the line.

Before choosing a surgeon or clinic you should be able to do some thorough research on them to see if other people would recommend their services. Previous (genuine) reviews will give you a good insight into whether or not these procedures are carried out well or not.

Sadly, some countries will have far fewer regulations than we do in the UK, which is why a lot of patients travelling abroad for laser eye surgery have been often been dissatisfied with a number of things, including the quality of care received and the empathy and reliability of the surgical team.

Even though some clinics will work closely with practitioners in the UK, some do not. Therefore, you may want to check you’ll be able to receive aftercare in the UK if anything does go wrong after your surgery. In some cases, you may need to go back to the country of your operation to receive the right aftercare.

Checklist for Patients

There are a lot of things you’ll need to consider before you proceed with laser eye surgery, and it’s inevitable you’ll have lots of questions for your surgeon. Be sure to write these down so you don’t forget anything in your initial consultation. To help you come up with some questions, here are a number of things you might want to ask:

  • Does the surgeon have a Cert LRS qualification or are they on the General Medical Council’s register for ophthalmology?
  • Is the surgeon fully insured to carry out this procedure in the UK (you’re entitled to see a copy of this insurance)?
  • Is the clinic or hospital regulated?
    • England - Care Quality Commission
    • Scotland - Healthcare Improvement Scotland
    • Wales - Healthcare Inspection Wales
    • Northern Ireland - Regulatory and Quality Improvement Authority
  • How many procedures has the surgeon carried out previously using the same laser they’ll use on your eyes?
  • Does the surgeon have any reviews you can read, or are there previous patients you can talk to?
  • What are your expectations, and are these realistic? Discuss what you want from the operation and whether or not the surgeon feels this is possible.
  • Do you feel comfortable talking to the surgeon? Have they given you enough time to talk through the procedure and answer your questions?

Other Common Questions

If you have other questions about refractive eye surgery we may cover it on our FAQs page.

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