The average cost of laser eye surgery in the UK is around £4,000 for both eyes. Of course, this price will depend on your prescription, as well as the treatment and clinic you choose, but most people can expect to pay around this figure. For a more accurate estimate for you personally, read on.
Does that surprise you? You may find jaw-droppingly cheap laser eye surgery pricing online (from £595 per eye), and these rates do exist, but just know that they often only apply to a select number of people with very minor visual impairment.
Luckily, pay monthly options are available for the rest of us, and this article will help you understand the full cost of laser eye surgery and lens replacement surgery, decide when and when not to seek cheaper laser eye treatment, plus, this is the only page out there to break down the prices at different clinics for you to compare.
Or, to get your very own tailored quote for laser eye surgery or lens replacement from a top-rated clinic near you, just click here to skip straight to our simple quote-finder at the top of this page.
Our no-nonsense guide to eye surgery pricing in the UK covers:
How Much Does Laser Eye Surgery Cost in the UK?
Most laser eye clinics will quote you somewhere between £595 and £2,495 per eye for standard LASIK or LASEK treatment. As you would expect, the higher your prescription and more complicated the procedure, the more corrective eye surgery is likely to cost you.
But how much does it really cost? In reality, laser eye surgery averages between £1,195 and £2,875 per eye. The cheaper starting prices you sometimes see only cover the select few people with very low eye prescriptions, and are not representative of eye surgery costs in the UK as a whole.
The table below shows what most of us can expect to pay for the most common types of laser eye surgery, and come from average costs for the leading clinics in the UK.
It is always worth shopping around and comparing the prices from different surgeries to find the one that best suits your budget, and these price guidelines should help guide you.
1. Laser Eye Surgery Costs
The average cost of laser eye surgery in the UK is £3,695 for both eyes, based on the average for the six most common procedures at the five most popular eye surgery clinics in the UK.
Here are the full costs for you to compare:
|Laser Eye Surgery Procedure||Prices From (per eye)||Prices To (per eye)||Average Cost (per eye)|
|LASEK / PRK||£595||£2,235||£1,665|
|Wavefront LASIK / LASEK||£1,695||£2,235||£2,225|
To help you understand this table, the “from” prices are the cheapest quotes we found for this treatment (generally from Optical Express), and the “to” prices are the upper limits (mostly at the world-renowned Moorfields Eye Hospital).
To calculate accurate average prices for lens replacement surgery, we averaged the quotes from the five most popular eye clinics in the UK.
Laser Eye Surgery Explained
- LASIK – The most popular laser eye surgery: a microscopic blade creates a flap in the eye surface (cornea), the other reshapes the cornea, and the flap smoothes over naturally.
- LASEK / PRK – The surgeon moves away the skin over the cornea (using an alcohol solution), uses a laser to reshape it, and replaces the skin for it to heal back, usually within a few days.
- IntraLASIK – This is the same as LASIK, but a laser creates the flap, rather than a blade.
- EpiLASIK – In this version of LASIK surgery, a small instrument called an epi-keratome (rather than a tiny blade) removes the corneal tissue.
- Wavefront LASIK / LASEK – This advanced technology maps precise measurements from your eye onto a 3D computer image, which guides the laser for the most accurate results.
- ReLEx SMILE – In this bladeless procedure, the surgeon reshapes your cornea with a small hole that self-heals.
2. Lens Replacement Surgery Costs
Lens replacement surgery costs on average £6,270 for both eyes. Here are the costs you can expect for the most common lens replacement surgeries in the UK:
|Lens Replacement Surgery Type||Prices From (per eye)||Prices To (per eye)||Average Cost (per eye)|
|Implantable Contact Lens (ICL)||£2,495||£6,140||£3,300|
|Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)||£1,995||£4,155||£3,050|
Since YAG is an optional treatment that may or may not be needed following cataract surgery, we have not included these costs in our averages to give you a more accurate idea.
Lens Replacement Surgery Explained
Lens replacement surgery is popular in the reading glasses age group or those over 45 years old. This is because the cornea (eye surface) tends to become weaker over time, and lens replacement is the recommended treatment in this case.
Because replacing or exchanging the natural lens is generally a more complicated procedure than reshaping the corneal tissue, this treatment often costs more than laser eye surgery.
- Implantable Contact Lens (ICL) – A special contact lens is implanted into the eye (between your iris and natural lens) to improve your vision.
- Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE) – In this surgery, your natural lens is removed and replaced with a synthetic one to correct issues such as cataracts.
- Phakic ICL – Also known as phakic IOL (intraocular lens), this type of ICL works just like a regular contact lens, but sits within the eye in front of your own lens.
- Cataract Surgery – Sometimes the eye surface may be thinner, and require natural lens replacement.
- YAG Treatment – This procedure may be required after cataract surgery to improve your vision further.
More information on the different types of laser eye surgery can be found in our guide.
3. Compare Laser Eye Surgery Prices
It is a lot of work trying to track down the costs of specific eye laser surgery treatments in the UK: trust us, we have done the legwork for you.
To give you a reliable idea of the real prices people really do pay for laser eye surgery or lens surgery, here is a table showing the costs from the UK’s most popular clinics: Optical Express, Moorfields Eye Hospital, Optegra, Optimax and Ultralase:
|Laser Eye Treatment Type||Optical Express Price (per eye)||Moorfields Eye Hospital Price (per eye)||Optegra Price (per eye)||Optimax Price (per eye)||Ultralase Price (per eye)|
|LASIK||£1,195 - £1,595||£2,190 - £2,235||£1,895||£1,695||£1,695|
|LASEK||£595 - £1,595||£2,235||£1,895||£1,695||£1,695|
|Implantable Contact Lens (ICL)||£3,195||£3,070 - £6,140||£3,595||£2,495||£2,495 - £2,995|
|Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)||£1,995 - £3,195||£3,475 - £4,155||£3,595||£2,995||£2,495|
|Cataract Surgery||£1,995 - £3,195||£3,475 - £4,155||£2,495||£2,995||£2,495|
|YAG Treatment||£595||£600 - £1,145||£550||N/A||£395|
To help you digest these numbers, there are a few factors to bear in mind:
- Some of these prices vary even within the same clinic, depending on the specific type of treatment you choose and your prescription. LASIK surgery with Wavefront technology or laser-assisted lens replacement technology, for example, will cost more, and are optional.
- The surgeons at Moorfields Private set their own prices, so these will vary, but we have provided a range for the most and least experienced consultants there.
- The cost of your lens exchange surgery will depend on whether you need a monofocal lens (suitable for patients with astigmatism) or multifocal lens (for long and short vision correction), which costs a bit more.
- Credit is often available to let you spread the cost of these payments. Depending on the treatment you opt for and how long you would like to pay it off, you can pay between £25 and £300 per month on average over a period of one to a few years.
4. What Affects The Cost Of Laser Eye Surgery?
Laser eye surgery prices vary considerably, so it is always worth getting a tailored quote at a surgeon-led consultation. Several factors will impact the cost of your treatment, and you should consider these when comparing quotes:
- The type of treatment: the procedure you need will affect the total cost of your vision correction surgery. In general, more sophisticated procedures such as PRK and wavefront technology will drive up the price.
- Your prescription: the higher your prescription, the more expensive your surgery will be. This is because higher prescriptions require a bigger change to the shape of the cornea to correct your vision, and different types of laser eye surgeries treat different prescription ranges.
- The surgeon: every laser eye surgeon in the UK must be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC). But many of the more reputable surgeons will also be certified by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, meaning that they will be able to charge a higher fee. Although these additional qualifications will cost more, many people find it worthwhile going for a more experienced practitioner.
- The technology: the newer the laser technology, the higher the cost of surgery. Whilst the most up-to-date technology doesn’t come as cheap as older equipment, it also means your treatment is likely to be quicker, less uncomfortable and more accurate.
- The competition: in urban areas with several clinics, more competition should lead to more competitive pricing. In more rural areas, local clinics may be in a position to charge more, so check if commuting for treatment would be cheaper.
- The size of the clinic: larger clinics like Optical Express and Ultralase are often able to see a higher number of patients, which allows them squeeze profit margins and offer lower prices than a smaller clinic.
- Patient care: with larger, busier clinics you may not see your surgeon face-to-face before treatment. Initial assessments for laser eye surgery will often be made by an optician or optometrist, and whilst this can lower costs, it may mean that you don’t get to build a relationship with your surgeon prior to the surgery.
- Special offers: laser eye surgery deals and discounts can be hard to come by, but they do exist and will reduce the cost.
Watch Alexander Ionides, consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields Eye Hospital, discusss why the cost of laser eye surgery varies so much.
5. What Additional Costs Should I Look Out For?
Always check what the laser eye surgery quote covers before going ahead. Choosing a clinic that promises ultra-low cost surgery may prove costlier than you think, as the advertised price often doesn’t include a number of additional, hidden costs.
Here are the main extra costs to watch out for when pricing up your laser eye treatment:
- Eye Test: the clinic will need to check your prescription as this may affect the type of surgery you need. If this is not included in your initial consultation fee, prices will range between £20 and £40.
- Consultation: whilst initial consultations are often free, they can cost up to £170.
- Medication: the price of your surgery often covers any medication needed, but it is important to check, as you may need to buy your own eye drops.
- Aftercare: aftercare is at the heart of any laser eye procedure to check it was successful and address any potential complications. Follow-up appointments can range in price from £50 with an optician to around £150 with an ophthalmologist or ophthalmic surgeon.
Another bottle of eye drops may not break the bank, but forking out for weekly check-ups with your surgeon could tip the cost of your eye surgery into a range you are less comfortable paying. Additional costs can quickly add up, so always consult with your laser eye surgeon what is included in the advertised price, and what isn’t.
6. Should I Go For The Cheapest Laser Eye Surgery?
With so many laser eye surgery clinics in the UK and reassuring success rates, it can be tempting to choose the cheapest laser eye surgery you can find. Whilst there are plenty of times in life when choosing the cheapest option will be fine, cutting corners when it comes to you sight is not one of these instances.
Is it worth it? Using an experienced surgeon and the latest technology from a well-known clinic is the best way to ensure that the surgery you have is of a high quality, effective and of course safe.
So, how can I save? You do not need to pay any more than you are comfortable with. If you are looking for cheap laser eye surgery, then you will be better off with a reputable high street clinic such as Optical Express or Optegra, rather than a premium eye hospital such as Moorfields Private.
You can also find cheaper treatment at clinics within more competitive postcodes, or ones where the technology is reliable, but not quite cutting-edge. Just remember that for some people with very high prescriptions and or complex eye conditions, the cheapest laser eye surgery will sadly not be an option.
7. Can I Get Laser Eye Surgery On Finance?
Laser eye surgery pay monthly options are often available for the number of people who are not able to cover the full cost of treatment upfront. By paying an initial deposit followed by small monthly payments over a pre-agreed time period, these payment plans help you spread the cost of your laser eye surgery.
The table below compares the financing options for the different types of corrective eye surgeries, from leading laser eye clinics in the UK. The information shows you the size of the deposit you should expect to pay, as well as the typical financial installments per month over 10 and 24 months.
|Type Of Laser Eye Surgery||Deposit||10 Months||24 Months|
|LASIK||From £100||From £49.50||From £23.06|
|LASEK||From £100||From £49.50||From £23.06|
|PRK||From £500||From £168.00||From £70.05|
|IntraLASIK||From £169.50||From £152.55||From £63.57|
|EpiLASIK||From £100||From £70.00||From £29.17|
|Wavefront Technology||From £169.50||From £152.55||From £63.57|
But don’t rush into any laser eye surgery payment plans, even if you can afford it. Here are the key factors to consider when using finance to purchase your eye surgery treatment:
- You must be at least 18 years of age and have a bank account from which you can set up monthly direct debits.
- You will need to have been in full time employment for at least 12 months, and to have been a UK resident at a registered address for at least 3 years.
- Initial deposits are usually around 10% of the overall cost of your surgery, so you should make sure you can cover this amount before entering into a finance agreement.
- Monthly payments come with a fixed interest rate. For shorter payback periods, this is typically 0% meaning you only pay back the price of the laser eye surgery. For longer payback periods, the interest rate is often larger meaning you end up paying back more than the cost of the procedure.
- Using a finance option may have an impact on your credit score.
- If you have had any defaults on previous payments, county court judgements, bankruptcy notices or an IVA in your credit history, you may find it difficult to enter into financial deals.
- Make sure that you read and understand the terms and conditions of any finance agreement before you commit to it.
8. Can I Get Free Laser Eye Surgery On the NHS?
These days, it’s rare. You are only eligible for free laser eye surgery on the NHS if you suffer from a medical condition that affects your vision, and could lead to partial – or even full – loss of eyesight if left untreated. Qualifying conditions include diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and certain corneal deficits.
In other words, if you can treat your vision difficulties with cheaper, non-surgical treatments such as glasses and contact lenses, you will not qualify. To check for yourself, take a look at the full criteria and find out more about laser eye surgery on the NHS using our guide.
9. Is Laser Eye Surgery Covered by Insurance?
Finally, some good news: depending on your private health insurance provider, you may be in luck. Generally your private health insurance will not cover refractive or laser eye surgery as a cosmetic procedure, but some companies will help you foot the bill.
Private health insurer BUPA, for example, accepts claims for corrective eye surgery to treat myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. You may also get help if you are with AXA, Simply Health or Vitality health insurance providers.
Even if you are covered, though, you may have excesses to pay, so just make sure you check your insurance cover before committing to the laser eye surgery costs.
10. Is It Worth Getting Laser Eye Surgery Abroad?
Many people consider having laser eye surgery abroad, but it’s worth thinking twice about this option if you are trying to cut costs and get what you think you’re paying for.
It may not be cheaper. The surgery itself may be cheaper, but you need to factor in the cost of travel, expenses and accommodation to the total price. Since the Royal College of Ophthalmologists does not recommend flying for at least a week after most eye surgeries, you could find tapping a week’s holiday onto the procedure even more expensive than seeking treatment in the UK where you are close to home.
It’s harder to know what you’re getting. Less stringent competence checks and language barriers can also make it difficult to find out exactly what qualifications your surgeon has.
After that, you’re on your own. Once you return to the UK, accessing aftercare can be more problematic, and in the rare case of complications, it will be difficult (and expensive) to correct.
11. Can Laser Eye Surgery Save Me Money?
Laser eye surgery may not be cheap, but it can be cost-effective. This is because the costs of all those eye tests, glasses and contact lenses will add up over your lifetime. So, if you spend around £200 on glasses every three years, £150 on contact lenses (including the cleaning solution) each year, and £20 for your annual eye check up, that makes £175 a year.
Laser eye surgery costs £4,000 on average all-in, so after 16 years or so, it can start paying for itself – and the younger you start, the more you can save. That said, deciding on ophthalmic surgery is a personal choice, and the prices (and savings) will vary from person to person. To see if it makes sense for you, find a tailored quote from a top-rated clinic near you, and explore all your options.