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Implantable Contact Lens Cost

Compare the costs of contact lens implants, and find a top-rated clinic near you

How much do lens implants cost? Implantable contact lenses or ICL surgery costs between £1,400 and £2,300 per eye, depending on the type of lens you opt for and the strength of your prescription.

All in, the average cost of lens implant surgery is between £2,495 and £3,495 per eye. That amounts to more than lens replacement surgery using monofocal or multifocal lenses because ICL surgery enhances your natural lenses without removing them.

It also costs more than laser eye surgery because the best lens replacement surgery clinics use a high quality permanent contact lens that performs a complex task, and is designed to last forever.

Phakic intraocular lens implants (pIOLs) – otherwise known as implantable contact lens (ICL) surgery – is the most common procedure for younger people who are outside the recommended age range for laser eye surgery, or for patients with medical dry eye conditions.

Getting permanent lens implants usually takes around 15 minutes under local anaesthetic, and patients can generally return to work the next day.

Want a personalised quote? To see if you are eligible and find a top-rated eye clinic near you, just use our simple tool.

In this full-fat guide to the cost of lens implants you will learn all about:

  1. Implantable contact lens costs
  2. Phakic intraocular lens cost
  3. Financing options for ICL surgery
  4. Lens implant surgery on the NHS
  5. FAQs

1. Implantable Contact Lens Cost

implantable contact lens cost

The average cost of contact lens implant surgery in the UK is between £2,495 and £3,495 per eye. Most people end up paying around £3,000 per eye, depending on the lenses they choose, the technology used in the surgery, and the experience of the surgeon.

Implantable contact lenses are often priced more than lens replacement surgery and cataract surgery because your natural lenses are kept, and what’s more, this innovative surgery can be reversed.

The table below compares the ICL surgery costs from some of the best eye surgery clinics in the UK:

ClinicPrice Per EyeConsultation Cost
Advanced Vision Care£3,350Free
Centre for Sight£2,975Free
Optical Express£3,395Free

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2. Intraocular Lens Cost

intraocular lens cost

Phakic intraocular lenses cost between £1,400 and £2,300 just for the lens itself, depending on whether you opt for visian or verisyse implants. The stronger your prescription, the more advanced the contact lens you’ll need, and the more it will cost you.

The term ‘phakic’ just means your natural lens remains untouched, as with permanent contact lens implants. These lenses are priced differently from the standard monofocal and multifocal implants used in lens exchange surgery.

The table below shows you how much you could expect to pay for the most common types of phakic IOLs used in ICL surgery:

Type Of Phakic IOL Price Per EyeTreatment
Visian£1,400Better vision to treat short sightedness.
Verisyse£2,300An advanced lens to correct severe short sightedness.

Phakic intraocular lens (IOL) costs explained

There are two main types of phakic IOLs:

  1. Visian: this lens is positioned behind the iris and in front of your natural lens. It provides you with high definition vision, and corrects moderate to severe myopia while eliminating the need for glasses.
  2. Verisyse: this lens is positioned in front of the iris, and is used to treat moderate to severe myopia. Like the Visian IOL, you do not need to wear glasses with the Verisyse IOL.

What affects the cost of implantable contact lenses?

The price you will pay for ICL surgery will vary from clinic to clinic. This can be down to a number of factors, including:

  • The experience of the surgeon: the more experienced a surgeon, the higher the fee they will be able to charge. Those who are members of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists will have carried out in excess of 300 surgeries.
  • The size of the clinic: larger clinics are often able to see a higher number of patients, meaning they can squeeze profit margins and offer lower prices than smaller clinics.
  • The competition: in urban areas where there is a greater number of clinics, competition can lead to more competitive and cheaper prices.

It is important to check exactly what is included in the advertised price and what isn’t, as some clinics do not include essential services such as consultations and aftercare in the initial quote.

These additional costs can quickly add up, meaning the actual amount you will pay for ICL surgery can be more than you had anticipated. We recommend that you shop around various clinics to get the best price for your budget.

The price of ICL surgery is also influenced by the type of lens that is inserted into your eye. The table below shows the price you should expect to pay for visian and verisyse lenses. As you can see, verisyse lenses are more expensive, which will drive up the cost of your ICL surgery.

Want a more accurate quote? Get a tailored quote from a top-rated eye clinic near you by answering three questions on our simple quote tool here.

Read more: Phakic Intraocular Lens Implantation Leaflet from the Royal College of Ophthalmologists

3. Can I Get ICL Surgery On Finance?

icl surgery cost

ICL surgery is available on finance at many of the leading eye surgery clinics in the UK. For many, finance packages – which allow you to pay an initial deposit followed by small monthly payments over a pre-agreed time – are the only way that they can afford to undergo the surgery. These packages allow you to spread the cost of the procedure rather than needing to find the full cost up front.

The table below shows the finance deals available for ICL surgery at different eye surgery clinics:

ClinicDepositShortest Payback Period
(cost per month)
Longest Payback Period
(cost per month)
Advanced Vision Care£1,250 - £1,90018 months:
£224.44 (0% APR)
24 months:
£70.83 (0% APR)
Accuvision£50012 months:
From £220 (0% APR)
24 months:
From £94 (0% APR)
Centre for Sight£91012 months: 
£256 ( 0% APR)
24 months: 
£86 (0% APR)
Optegra£349.50 - £69912 months:
£262.12 (0% APR)
48 months: 
£58.24 ( 9.9% APR)
Optical Express£50010 months: 
£249.50 ( 0% APR)
72 months: 
£47.39 per month (11.5% APR)
Optimax£50012 months:
£251.49 (0% APR)
48 months: 
£64.40 (11.5% APR)
Ultralase£50012 months:
£266.25 (0% APR)
48 months:
£65.56 (11.5% APR)

When making the decision to use finance options for your surgery, there are a few factors you should take into consideration:

  • An initial deposit is typically 10% of the overall price of your surgery. Since ICL surgery is a significant investment, it is important to make sure you have enough money to cover the deposit.
  • Monthly payments have a fixed interest rate. This is typically 0% for the shortest payback period meaning you only pay back the cost of your surgery. However, it increases significantly the longer the payback period meaning you will pay back more than the cost of your surgery.
  • Your credit score can be affected by paying for things on credit, so it is important that you keep up with your payments. If you default on any payments you may find it difficult to enter into any financial deals in the future.
  • Read the terms and conditions of your finance agreement carefully to make sure you avoid any nasty surprises.

4. Can I Get Lens Implant Surgery On The NHS?

Sadly not. The NHS only offers eye surgery to individuals who suffer from serious vision problems such as cataracts, that could lead to blindness if left untreated.

Free eye surgery on the NHS is not available for conditions which can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses, such as myopia. This means that you will have to undergo ICL surgery at a private clinic, and pay for the procedure yourself.

5. Implantable Contact Lens FAQs

1. What is an implantable contact lens (ICL)?

An implantable contact lens (ICL) is also called a phakic intraocular lens, and is a clear artificial lens made of plastic that is used to correct moderate to severe myopia (nearsightedness).

ICLs work just like contact lenses, except that lens implants sit within your eye rather than on its surface. Unlike refractive lens exchanges, an intraocular lens is surgically placed into the eye between your cornea and iris, without removing your eye’s natural lens.

Once in the eye, an ICL cannot be felt or seen, and is designed to last for a lifetime. If problems with the ICL do occur, it can be easily removed and replaced without causing permanent damage to the eye.

2. Am I eligible for ICL surgery?

For those with mild nearsightedness, ICLs may cause an ‘over-correction’ of your vision problem, so they’re not deemed appropriate. ICL surgery is carried out in patients who are not appropriate for laser eye surgery, but who no longer want to continue to wear glasses or contact lenses.

There are certain requirements that must be met in order for you to qualify for ICL surgery. Your ophthalmologist will assess your eyes and overall health, and will deem you an eligible candidate for the surgery if you:

  1. Are between 21 and 45 years old. If you are younger than 21 there is a chance that your eyes are still growing, and ICL surgery could lead to complications with your eyesight further down the line. If you are older than 45, ICLs could speed up the onset of cataracts.
  2. Have had an unchanging eyesight prescription for a minimum of 12 months.
  3. Have corneas which are too thin for laser eye surgery.
  4. Have a healthy eye with no significant eye disease such as glaucoma.
  5. Have a good general health.
  6. Are not allergic to anaesthetic eye drops used in the surgery.

You will not be an eligible candidate for the surgery if you:

  1. Are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  2. Have diabetes, hepatitis C, or herpes virus.
  3. Suffer from an autoimmune disease such as lupus or HIV.
  4. Have experienced serious eye trauma or retinal detachment.
  5. Are taking immunosuppressant drugs.

3. What are the best implantable contact lenses?

There are two main types of phakic intraocular lens used in ICL surgery to correct moderate to severe myopia: visian and verisyse. Both permanent contact lenses eliminate the need for you to wear glasses following surgery, and the right one for you will depend on your preferences and your surgeon’s assessment.

  • Visian: this lens is made from flexible collamer, a bio-material that the human body does not identify as a foreign body, therefore allowing the surrounding tissue to accept it more easily. Once inserted into the eye, it sits behind the iris and in front of the eye’s natural lens. It helps you enjoy sharper, clearer and more vivid vision, with greater depth and dimension.
  • Verisyse: this lens is made from a rigid plastic called polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA), and is inserted into the eye in front of the iris rather than behind it. This allows the eye to make much smoother modifications between objects.

4. What happens during ICL surgery?

  1. The surgery takes around 20 minutes to complete.
  2. Only one eye will be operated on at a time, with approximately a week’s gap between the surgery on either eye.
  3. You will be given a mild sedative and anaesthetic eye drops, which will make your eye numb to minimize discomfort.
  4. The surgeon will make a small incision on the edge of your cornea, and implant your permanent contact lens.
  5. You should experience an almost instant improvement, and healing should take just a few days.
  6. You should be able to return to work within a week of surgery.

For the best recovery, you should carefully follow all instructions given to you by the clinic after surgery. These will be provided in a handout which you can take home with you.

5. What risks come from implantable contact lenses?

Whilst ICL surgery is extremely safe, any surgery carries the risk of complications. The main side effects following lens implant surgery are infection or eye pressure, which can be treated with medication. On rare occasions, the intraocular lens shifts, and requires a quick outpatient procedure to correct it.

Here Mr Ali Mearza – Clinical Director of Ophthalmology and lead consultant ophthalmologist at London’s Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust – discusses how safe ICL surgery is.

If you experience any problems after your surgery, you should consult your surgeon immediately.

6. What are the pros and cons of implantable contact lenses?

The drawbacks of lens implants include:

  • The eye’s natural lens can become damaged during surgery, and would need replacing with an artificial lens.
  • RCO research has found links between ICL implants and early onset cataracts, which would need treating with cataract surgery.
  • Retinal detachment can occur when the membrane at the back of the eye becomes detached after surgery. Although less than 1% of patients experience retinal detachment, if diagnosed, it can be corrected with surgery.

Here are the benefits of non-laser eye surgery:

  1. Lens implant surgery does not cause dry eye syndrome, which can occur in up to 20% of patients who undergo laser eye surgery.
  2. The procedure does not remove any tissue from the eye surface, unlike other types of vision correction, which can weaken your eye, and lead to complications.
  3. ICL surgery can be reversed if necessary, which is not possible with laser procedures. If your eye health changes or new technology become available, you will be able to remove the lens and discuss further treatment options with your optical surgeon.
  4. Implanting contact lenses is a non-invasive procedure: it only takes half an hour or so, and recovery is quick.
  5. 85% of patients who have no other eye problem are able to see with 20/20 vision after ICL surgery, while 95% can see to driving standard or better.

7. Where Can I Get a Quote?

To find out more about the factors which can affect the cost of ICL surgery, visit our eye surgery pricing page.

Or, if you’d like to cut to the chase and get a personalised quote for ICL eye surgery from a trusted clinic near you, just use our quote tool below.

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