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“Committing to having laser eye surgery done is all down to making an informed decision. In this guide we’ll talk about what types of laser eye surgery are available and how much they could cost you.”

 

Around 100,000 people undergo laser eye surgery in the UK each year. While most of them are happy with the results, it’s not unusual to come across a few disgruntled patients who had somehow ended up paying more for their surgery than they anticipated.

How can this sort of thing happen? This is because some clinics advertise their treatments at very low prices, but fail to mention how hidden costs add up to a final price that’s much steeper than the advertised one.

To help you make an informed decision, we have compiled this handy guide to help you navigate the various treatments on offer.

Our Guide To Laser Eye Surgery Costs In 2015

Type of laser eye surgery Best suited to Approximate cost (per eye)
LASIK Most sight imperfections including short-sightedness (myopia), long-sightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism £1,200
PRK Those who aren’t suitable for other types of laser eye surgery due to thin corneas £800
LASEK Those with thin corneas, military personnel or those who play contact sports £800

Laser eye surgery price comparison

If you’re looking to compare the price of various procedures it is always worth remembering that the surgeon you visit will suggest the type of surgery based on your prescription and specific requirements. Although it is a good idea to have a rough idea about the price you might be paying for a procedure it is likely. The following list give you an idea of what the procedure does, who it may be suitable for and the approximate price. This is to give a quick comparison between the procedures and should not be taken as fact

Lasik

The most common type of procedure, accounting for 90% of treatments. This involves creating a tiny flap on the cornea which is peeled back and replaced after the procedure. The cornea is reshaped by a laser. This procedure is quick and generally painless and the recovery period is short.

Treats: Short-sightedness, Long-sightedness and Astigmatism

Suitable for: Most people.

Cost: £1,200 per eye

PRK

PRK was the very first type of laser eye surgery that was introduced over 20 years ago. It involves removing off the thin layer of cells (the epithelium) that protect the cornea. After this a laser is used to shape the cornea and a protective contact lens is placed over the eye for up to a week to protect it while the epithelium grows back. The recovery period is considerably longer than for LASIK, taking as long as 3 months for extreme cases.

Treats: Short-sightedness, Long-sightedness and Astigmatism

Suitable for: Those with thin corneas

Cost: £800 per eye

LASEK

Similar to PRK, but the epithelium is retained instead of being removed. The exposed cornea is subjected to the laser and then the epithelium is replaced, after which a protective contact lens is placed over the eye for up to a week in order to allow the epithelium to heal.

Treats: Short-sightedness, Long-sightedness and Astigmatism

Suitable for: Military personnel or sportspeople

Cost: £800 per eye

Intralase (bladeless LASIK)

Intralase is the same as LASIK, but uses a laser rather than a blade to create the corneal flap. The laser is actually used to create thousands of minute bubbles under the cornea so that the surgeon can create the hinged flap with much greater accuracy. As with LASIK the exposed cornea is lasered to correct the problem and the flap is replaced immediately afterwards. Normal vision returns within just a few hours.

Treats: Short-sightedness, Long-sightedness and Astigmatism

Suitable for: Most people.

Cost: £1,500 per eye

Epi-LASIK

Epi-LASIK differs from PRK and LASEK by virtue of the fact that a very thin layer of the epithelium is manually separated from the surface of the eye. After the cornea has been lasered to the required shape the epithelium is replaced and protective contact lens is placed over the eye for a few days to allow the epithelium to heal properly.

Treats: Short-sightedness, Long-sightedness and Astigmatism

Suitable for: Most people.

Cost: £800 per eye

Wavefront

Wavefront is computer technology that is used in conjection with either LASEK or LASIK procedure for more accurate and ultimately better results.

Treats: Short-sightedness, Long-sightedness and Astigmatism

Suitable for: Most people.

Cost: £1,500 per eye

Things to remember when considering laser eye surgery prices

Keep in mind that the final cost of your surgery will depend on a few factors:

1. Your prescription

The higher your prescription, the higher your treatment could cost. Not all clinics charge higher fees for high prescriptions though, so make sure to check this with the clinics that you’re looking into.

2. The type of procedure

The type of procedure is the main cost factor. As you saw in our price table, procedures such as Intralase and Wavefront cost more as they are presently non-standard treatments. You will find, however, a few clinics that offer these as standard procedures and will therefore charge a reasonable price for them.

3. The surgeon

Surgeons who have had greater experience in laser eye surgery will command a higher fee for their services.

4. The clinic

Clinics that have high success rates tend to charge more for their procedures than those with less outstanding surgery results. There are clinics that offer lifetime guarantees and laser re-enhancements but will charge a higher treatment price for these types of package.

Our conclusion

Whatever your prescription, it is always advisable to shop around when selecting a prospective provider for your laser eye surgery. The main UK laser eye surgery providers are fiercely competitive and thus offer regular incentives, deals and discounts for mild visual impairments—‘buy one, get one free’ offers are not unheard of.

If your surgical requirements are more complex, you’ll need to thoroughly research those laser eye surgery clinics that are able to provide the treatment you seek and assess which one offers the best level of experience, professionalism and aftercare for the price.

Ultimately the cost of laser eye surgery should not be the deciding factor in your search for a laser eye surgery provider. It should only be one factor to consider when you look for a clinic that can provide the best possible treatment, facilities and care for your particular needs.