Types Of Laser Eye Surgery Treatment

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If you are doing research in order to find the best laser eye surgery then you need to be aware that the best option for you will not necessarily be the best option for someone else. A lot will depend upon your particular eye condition as well as your budget and location. If money and travel is no option then it is not always the case that going to the most expensive clinic in London will give you the best outcomes – it will all depend on if they have carry out the type of surgery that brings the best success rate for your particular eye condition.

If you are on a budget, then you should be looking for the best clinics and surgeons that you are prepared to travel to that offer laser eye treatments within your price range. It is often advisable to travel a little further than compromise on the clinic or treatment type.

Therefore, the first thing to do is get an idea of the different types of treatments that may be suitable to treat your condition and then get quotes from different clinics which you will be able to do by filling in the form on this site. The clinics will be able to give you an idea of costs over the phone and normally give you a free consultation to clarify costs etc.

Overview of laser eye surgery treatments

Types Of Laser Eye Surgery


LASIK surgery (Photorefractive Keratoctomy) 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.

LASIK with Wavefront 3D imaging can provide the best results (see the Wavefront tab below).


LASEK (Laser-Assisted Epithelial Keratomileusis) involves peeling back the epithelium (the thin layer of cells that cover the cornea) exposing Bowman’s layer. This is then reshaped with a laser beam and the epithelium is replaced.

LASEK with Wavefront 3D imaging can provide the best results (see the Wavefront tab below).

Who is it for?

This procedure is suitable for people with common sight problems, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.


Wavefront is a type of technology utilised in LASIK and LASEK procedures. Special software creates a 3D ‘map’ of the patient’s eye so treatment can be customised to a patient’s particular eye shape and prescription.

This 3D imaging technology often has different names due to the variations on the machines & software used in different clinics (e.g. iDesign in Optical Express).

Who is it for?

This customised treatment is designed to be a superior alternative to standard LASIK and LASEK procedures. This is perfect for people who rely on perfect vision for their jobs and are happy and able to pay the extra (it is more expensive than standard LASIK and LASEK treatments).


SMILE surgery (Small Incision Lenticule Extraction) is a new, minimally-invasive laser eye treatment which offers a great alternative to LASEK and LASIK treatment. Rather than creating a flap in the cornea for the laser, this procedure involves making a small incision in the cornea using a state of the art laser, and then using the laser to create a small disc of tissue within your cornea. The surgeon can then extract the disc via the incision in your cornea.

Who is it for?

It is generally used for correcting higher degrees of myopia with or without astigmatism. More people are suitable for LASEK and LASIK treatment because SMILE cannot treat hyperopia.


PRK surgery (Photorefractive Keratoctomy) 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.

Who is it for?

This is less common these dats, 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. This is typically the cheapest laser eye surgery on offer.

Finding the Best laser Eye Company

Obviously when it comes to our sight we want the best treatment possible that we can afford and preferably from the top surgeon in the field. We’ve written a more detailed article on finding the best laser eye surgery company near you.

One way to gain reassurance is to check his or her qualifications with the registering board. The Royal Society of Ophthalmologists for instance will award a Certificate of Competence in Laser Refractive Surgery to only those members who have performed at least 300 procedures within a period of two years.

Similarly, it is also a good  idea to check the clinic’s credentials of course, particularly with regard to after care as this can vary quite considerably. Some clinics, for instance, offer a check up once a year for life while others only provide this for three to four years following surgery.

What are the potential risks of laser eye surgery?

Like any operation there are risks involved in laser eye surgery. However, these are very minimal in comparison to traditional surgical operations. Success rates for the best laser eye surgery clinics, and indeed for laser eye surgery in general, are currently cited around 95 per cent. The risks are less for operations using laser to cut the cornea flap because of the reduced possibility of infection that could be picked up from surgical instruments during surgery.

In some cases the operation may have to be performed again a decade or two down the line due to age-related deteriorated so there is no guarantee that the operation is a one-off (although this is the case for many individuals).

Other risks include problems with driving at night, although this usually goes after several months. There could also be a ‘halo’ effect and which should similarly reduce as the weeks go on. Dry eyes can be annoying but not particularly painful, especially as the condition can be relieved with the use of eye drops.

It’s possible the operation can actually exacerbate the patient’s long or short-sightedness but this easily be rectified via a second operation.  Occasionally the eye can become unstable following an operation, resulting in a bulging. This is due to the cornea being too thin following surgery.

How much will laser eye surgery cost?

Prices for laser eye surgery vary depending on the type of surgery performed and the extent of the patient’s short or long sightedness or astigmatism. The location of the clinic will also have a bearing as will the experience of the actual surgeon performing the operation.

Whilst you may see prices quoted from £600 per eye that will only be available to a minority of prescriptions and the PRK or LASEK treatment offered is inferior. You should should expect to pay £1,200 per eye or £1,600+ for those using the 3D Wavefront technology. In some of the more expensive clinics, can reach as much as £3000 an eye (although this is for particularly difficult cases with thinning corneas).