How Much Does Laser Eye Surgery Cost In The UK

Written by Joy Watford

Medically reviewed by Dr. Matthew J. Miller, OD

1st March 2021

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Over 120,000 people receive laser eye surgery each year in the UK accounting for 75% of all surgical procedures carried out. This articles will cover the range of prices charged for laser eye surgery across the UK.

How Much Is Laser Eye Surgery In The UK?

The cost of laser eye surgery ranges from £1,195 to £3,750 per eye in the UK depending on the treatment type, clinic and prescription of the payment.

 Range of prices by treatment type

The range of costs charged by clinics for a the most popular types of refractive eye surgery are shown in the table below which illustrate that LASIK surgery costs and ReLEX SMILE costs are typically higher that other treatment types.

laser eye surgery TreatmentFromTo
LASEK£595*£1,795
LASIK£1,195£2,700
LASEK (Bladeless)£1,495£2,450
LASIK (Bladeless)£1,695£3,250
ReLEx SMILE£2,495£3,250

Prices per eye accurate as of March 2021.

In the price table above ‘Bladeless’ has been used to indicate the use of 3D scanning technology but this will often have a different name depending on the clinic and exact technology used (ie. iDesign for Optical Express, Intralase for Optimax, Wavefront for other clinics). Bladeless / Wavefront Surgery costs tend to be higher than standard surgery.

How Much Do Laser Eye Surgery Prices Vary By Clinic?

The table below illustrates the range of prices charged by popular UK clinics for different laser and lens surgery types (missing bars means the clinic does not offer that particular treatment type).  We’ve included lens surgery prices as they are sometime better options for those considering laser eye surgery. 

As you can see, laser eye surgery costs are cheaper at the nationwide clinics (Optical Express, Optegra and Optimax) than the ones based in the South East and London only (Centre for Sight, Focus and the London Vision Clinic).

It is also worth noting that whilst some of the national clinics offer fixed prices by treatment type, the other companies with fewer clinics often charge a higher price for higher prescriptions or more complicated cases. Where a range of prices is charged depending on the patient, we have displayed the lowest price.

CompanyTreatment NamePrice Per EyeDepositInterest Free
Credit (Months)
Optical ExpressLASIK with iDesignFrom £1,495£50010
OptimaxIntraLase® LASIK£1,79510%12
OptegraLASIK (blade-free)£1,79510%24
FocusLASIK (blade-free)£2,400 – £3,000£50012
Center For SightIntraLASIK Supracor£2,67520%24
London Vision ClinicLASIK (blade-free)£2,600 – £3,750£50024
Lens Surgery Treatment Consultation From To
Monofocal Lens Surgery Free – £350 £1,995 £3,995
Multifocal Lens Surgery Free – £350 £3,195 £4,500
Phakic IOL Free – £350 £2,495 £3,795
Cataract Surgery Free – £295 £2,495 £4,300

Is Payment Finance Normally Offered?

All clinics will offer some sort of financing for their refractive surgery treatments to make it more affordable. Many will offer 0% finance over 10-12 months and if you would like to pay off the balance over a longer period in order to reduce the monthly payments you should expect to pay a deposit upfront and be charged between 10%-12% APR.

Always check the total amount you are repaying if you are getting finance – the low monthly repayments are attractive but you can end up paying more than a third more than the amount owed due to the interest rate. Below are a sample of finance deals available for the different treatment types.

Treatment Type (Prices Are Per Eye)Deposit10 Months24 Months
LASIK10% 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 SMILE10% or £500£188 (0% APR)£94 (9.9% APR)

What Influences the Price of Laser Eye Surgery?

There are a number of additional factors that may influence the price you pay for laser eye surgery, including:

  1. Technology: If a clinic can offer the best state-of-the-art technology you can expect to pay more for these treatments.
  2. Type Of Procedure: Non-standard procedures such is the minimally invasive bladeless ReLEx SMILE are more expensive than standard ones. 
  3. Prescription & Complexity: Some clinics charge higher prices when patients have higher prescriptions or more complex cases. For example, Focus charges between £4,800-£5,400 for both eyes for most of its LASIK patients but £6,000 for a specialist that is required due to patients having “high prescriptions, referred enhancements or previous surgery elsewhere, or other ocular considerations requiring specialist correction“.
  4. Location: Those clinics that just have clinics in the South East and/or London have higher prices than the national clinics.
  5. Company Size: Clinics with branches across the UK  benefit from economies of scale and can often charge lower prices. Clinic’s with just one or two experienced surgeons will tend to be more expensive.
  6. Patient Care: When a clinic has an optometrist or optician carry out the initial assessments, this can reduce the costs compared to the surgeon doing this themselves. However, this doesn’t allow you to meet the surgeon and build a relationship with them prior to your surgery, which may make you feel less comfortable with the procedure.
  7. Aftercare: All clinics we looked at included are able to cut their costs by charging patients separately for their aftercare (this is something you’ll need to look out for when calculating the costs involved as it won’t be included in their headline price). See the table below for some example aftercare policies.
laser eye surgery costs

Advice On Trying To Reduce The Cost

Given the cost of laser or lens replacement surgery is substantial, it is understandable people often look at ways to reduce the price if possible. We look at some of the ways this may be possible and if it’s advisable.

If The Treatments Are The Same, Shall I Look For The Cheapest Price?

It’s tempting to opt for a clinic offering the cheapest prices for laser eye surgery but it is worth remembering that even if you are eligible for the cheapest treatment (many people will not qualify due to their prescription), it can cost you more in the long run physically and financially if it isn’t 100% effective.

Ensuring you’re being operated on by a fully-qualified surgeon in a renowned clinic is the safest way to make sure your surgery is high quality, safe and effective. If you really need to find cheap laser eye surgery, the best way is seeing if you can spread the cost out over several months or waiting until you have enough to spend at one of the more affordable national clinics

What are my cancellation rights?

Most clinics will offer a cooling-off period as recommended by the General Medical Council so you should be able to cancel after you’ve booked your treatment. There is no requirement that a clinic offers this cooling off period so it is very important you check their terms and conditions before booking. Also check if deposits can be refunded and under what circumstances.

When are the payments due? 

This will vary between clinics and the timings of payments will often be buried in the terms and conditions.

Should I Wait For Discounts or Special Offers?

The advertising guidelines for refractive surgery by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists (published in April 2017 and reviewed in May 2018) have stated that clinics should not be offering:

  1. Time-limited deals
  2. Financial inducements
  3. Package deals, such as ‘buy one get one free’ or reduced prices for previous patients’ friends and family.
Therefore, it is unlikely the prices you see published on a clinics website will be reduced – in our experience they creep up with inflation.

Is Refractive Eye Surgery Covered By Insurance?

As a general rule, private health insurance companies like Axa, Aviva, Vitality, Bupa, Cigna and Simply Health will not pay for laser eye surgery as it will regarded as elective surgery (i.e. not medically required). However, there are exceptions so it is worth checking with your provider. 

Some examples of where the costs may be covered by insurance include:

  1. If the refractive error (prescription) was due to a surgical procedure or injury.
  2. Where the refractive error is very high.
  3. If a lens intolerance or allergies prevent you wearing contact lenses or glasses.

If you are covered you may not get 100% of the fees paid for as there is likely to be an excess to pay and some policies will impose limits of the amount to pay out.

Can I Save Money Going Abroad For Cheaper Laser Eye Surgery?

A quick Google search for laser eye abroad will bring up various clinics in the Czech Republic, Turkey, Polad, Hungary etc that often advertise cheap laser eye surgery prices than the UK Clinics.  However, from a cost perspective you will need to add on the extras would you spend on flights, accommodation, insurance to make a more accurate comparison on price. Also, it is likely you’ll need to take more time off work. Any aftercare requiring a visit back to the overseas clinic should also be calculated as it may be necessary. In short, it may not be cheaper when all elements are added in.

In addition, it is more difficult to know the quality of the treatment and aftercare you will get. You need to do in depth research on the exact treatment you will get, the quality and qualifications of the surgeon who will be performing the surgery, the reputation of the clinic, the ability of the staff to speak English and the healthcare regulations of the country.

In the end, most people decide it is not worth the risk given the cost savings are often negligible or non existent.  

Furthermore, with potential language barriers and less rigorous quality checks in place, this can make the surgery far riskier. And, once you return to the UK, getting the right aftercare can be problematic.

Can I Get Laser Eye Surgery for Free on the NHS?

The NHS does not offer laser eye surgery for conditions that will be successfully treated through the use of contact lenses or glasses, e.g. hyperopia (farsightedness), myopia (nearsightedness) and astigmatism.

Eye conditions that are covered by the NHS for laser eye surgery include diabetic retinopathy (when blood vessels in the retina are damaged), some types of wet macular degeneration, thickening of the lens capsule which arises after cataract surgery and some specific corneal diseases, e.g. corneal erosions. You can get more information on laser eye surgery covered in the NHS here

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