Laser eye surgery is cheaper than lens replacement surgery. But that still doesn’t make it affordable for most of us. The good news is there are a number of options for the nifty shopper wanting to correct their vision safely without paying through the nose.
With the average cost of laser eye surgery between £595 and £2,495 per eye for standard LASIK or LASEK treatment, many people look to places like Groupon and the NHS for eye surgery discount vouchers and free promotions. The truth is these doors have now closed thanks to closer checks on advertising practices, and tighter budgets all round.
But there are still cheaper ways to pay for laser eye surgery at some of the best eye clinics in the UK. Read on to uncover all the different routes still available, as well as which ones are now dead ends.
4 Tips for Cheap Laser Eye Surgery
1. Talk To a High Street Clinic
You probably already know your best chance of finding cheap laser eye surgery is at a high street clinic, such as Optical Express, Ultralase, or Optimax. Private eye clinics like Moorfields, Focus Clinics and the London Vision Clinic count as some of the most expensive places to receive your treatment.
So is it worth paying more? Of course, that decision has to be yours. For value for money, a well-rated high street eye surgery provider will be hard to beat, although the world-renowned eye surgeons will.
But did you know that for LASIK eye surgery – by far the most common treatment – the success rates are often just as high whether you opt for a spa-like clinic or a value-for-money? Take Optical Express – this provider is offering 20/20 vision or your money back after surgery. That means you don’t need to feel obliged to going for a top-dollar laser eye treatment. You can care for your eye health, and make a practical decision to spend less on safe surgery from a CQC-approved clinic, if you would like.
2. Consider a Finance Option
The easiest way to make laser eye surgery feel cheaper – without signing up for anything unsafe – is to go for a monthly payment plan. Again, private eye hospitals generally do not offer this service, but many high street clinics are happy to provide a number of financing options. These can include 0% interest for the first year, meaning you don’t pay any more than the original cost of laser eye surgery, so long as you stick to your monthly installments.
So how cheap is the finance for laser eye surgery? That will depend on the treatment and clinic you end up choosing. To give you an idea, LASIK surgery costs £1,195 at Optical Express, which you can pay for with £500 deposit and interest-free monthly payments of £69.50 for 10 months. If you’re comfortable taking on 11.5% APR interest, you can pay as little as £13.20 a month for three years. You can compare costs for different finance plans here.
3. Find a Cheap Clinic Near You
With the sky-high costs of everything in London, if you’re not from the capital, it’s a good idea to look closer to home for an affordable eye surgery plan. That’s because the treatment prices will need to cover the higher costs for clinic space and surgeon salaries, – at Optegra, for example, you can expect to pay around 10% more for eye surgery treatment in London, compared with clinics elsewhere.
To help our readers find a cheaper clinic for eye surgery, we have a tool that matches you to the best independently reviewed eye clinics near you. To find a good value clinic in your area, use our simple quote tool here.
4. See If Your Medical Insurance Covers Eye Surgery
If you’re lucky enough to have private health insurance, you’ll be please to know a handful of providers sometimes cover some of the costs of laser eye surgery. But hold your horses: cheaper laser eye surgery is only available through healthcare insurance if an eye surgeon diagnoses a medical need for the treatment, such as eye conditions that may cause blindness if left untreated.
Just remember to check with your chosen clinic during your initial consultation which insurance providers it partners with – the usual suspects are BUPA, AXA PPP, Simply Health, and Saga. But, of course, this payment method will need to be agreed before the day of the surgery.
Where Won’t You Find Cheap Laser Eye Surgery?
1. Laser Eye Surgery Deals
The days of glittery laser eye surgery discounts on Groupon are long gone. Since 2016, the General Medical Council (GMC) has banned two-for-one discounts and prizes that may push people into cosmetic surgery, including surgical eye treatments.
Let’s face it, high pressure advertising for eye laser surgery special offers is at best irresponsible, and at worst downright misleading. Everyone needs time to digest the risks involved, and decide for themselves whether LASIK or LASEK procedures are right for them. And no one should ever feel pressured into paying for surgery, even if it seems cheap.
You’ll also want to be wary of any prices you see that seem too good to be true. Companies sometimes advertise rock bottom cheap eye surgery offers to lure you in, before up-selling a costlier plan to you. In general, the very cheapest laser eye surgery quotes are only available to the small number of people with very minor prescriptions.
2. Corporate Discounts
For the same reason, corporate discounts for vision correction surgery are also a no-go today. However, if you use screens for more than an hour at a time for work, your employer will need to comply with the Display Screen Regulations 1992, helping you maintain good eye health without surgery.
Leading clinics such as Optical Express and Specsavers are already on board, and you may like to check whether your employer is too. But this service focuses on eye tests and the like: don’t expect any corporate discounts on laser eye surgery any time soon.
3. Laser Eye Surgery on the NHS
Sadly, almost no one can receive laser eye surgery on the NHS anymore. If you’re itching to correct your short- or long-sightedness, the NHS will suggest you stick to the much cheaper alternatives of glasses or contact lenses. It’s only if you have a debilitating eye condition that can only be treated with surgery that you stand a chance, and even then the latest waiting times are around 15 months.
4. Going Abroad
Although the cost of the actual laser eye surgery may be cheaper abroad, in the long run, you don’t save as much as you might expect. The cheapest destinations for laser eye surgery tend to be Thailand, India, and Malaysia. But have you remembered to factor in the cost of the flights to these far flung spots, accommodation (the RCOphth does not recommended flying for a few days after surgery), expenses, and not to mention the cost of any care you may need in case you require enhancements?
Why Is Laser Eye Surgery So Expensive?
If you follow the three tips above, it can be much cheaper. But we know, overall, laser eye surgery surgery doesn’t come cheap. That’s because to correct your vision safely you’ll need to pay for a qualified and experienced laser eye surgeon, advanced laser equipment, and aftercare for up to a few months.
Legally, no specialist qualifications are required to perform eye surgery, other than being registered with the General Medical Council (GMC). But you can expect to pay more for eye doctors with significant experience in their field, and those who are Fellows of the Royal College of Opthalmologists (RCOphth).
Plus, with ongoing scientific advances in the field, equipment needs to be updated every two to three years to meet patient safety guidelines. That cost is, of course, ultimately passed on to you, the patient.
And finally, included in the price will be at least part of the aftercare you’ll need, from eye drops to a follow-up eye check. Many clinics also like to offer 24/7 support via a helpline, and in the rare case of seeking further enhancement surgery, this is usually covered in the first few months after surgery.
Find Affordable Laser Eye Surgery Near You
Based on over 8,000 user-generated ratings on Lasik Eyes since 2002, our independent review found that some of the best places for laser eye surgery in the UK also happen to be some of the cheapest.
You can see if there is an affordable, top-rated clinic near you in seconds, check your eligibility in minutes, and get a free tailored quote for your surgery in just three steps:
- Compare clinics: Answer three questions to be matched to the best value and leading eye clinics in your area.
- Book a free consultation: Find out if you’re eligible for surgery over the phone, and get tested for free with an eye consultant or surgeon (worth £800).
- Receive a personalised quote: Get a clear idea of what laser eye surgery would really cost you, and decide if you would like to go ahead.
☝ Click here to find the best value clinic near you, and receive an honest quote from a trusted provider.