Lens replacement surgery is an increasingly popular treatment. It works by replacing your natural lens with a permanent artificial lens. This artificial lens can be used to correct both distance and near vision – it can even help people with cataracts. Typically, the surgery takes just 20 minutes per eye.
This article will help you understand what you get for your money, and decide whether permanent lens replacement is right for you.
How much does lens replacement surgery cost? Depending on the type of treatment you go for, most people end up paying between £3,000 and £4,000 per eye (prices based on nearly 9,000 independent reviews on our site). Unfortunately, the NHS won’t cover this, but there are affordable pay monthly finance options to help you spread the costs.
Below we break down the full cost of eye lens replacement, not only based on quotes from leading eye surgery clinics in the UK, but also from what patients told us they actually paid.
You can also find out if there are any top-rated clinics for lens surgery near you , and book a free consultation for a tailored quote using our simple tool.
In this in-depth guide to the cost of lens replacement surgery we will cover :
- Lens replacement surgery costs
- Any hidden costs
- Eye lens surgery on the NHS
- Pay monthly finance options
1. Lens Replacement Surgery Cost
Lens replacement surgery costs between £1,995 and £6,500 per eye, depending on the type of surgery you choose, the clinic, and the experience of the surgeon. Monofocal lenses tend to average £3,500, whilst a multifocal lens replacement costs closer to £4,500.
Beware of any prices you see that are much cheaper than this range – quality eye lens replacements are designed to stay in your eyes your whole life, and should not be cheap. Plus, the more complex the task of helping your eyes focus (as in trifocal or toric lenses), the more you can expect to pay.
|Lens Replacement Surgery Type
|Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)
|Phakic Intraocular Lens Implantation (PIOL)
Here are the prices you can expect for at the leading eye clinics in the UK:
What is included in these costs? Most eye clinics today offer a free consultation to talk you through your options and test whether you are eligible, but in private eye hospitals you can pay between £200 and £295 extra for an eye surgery check-up.
Apart from that, this price should include the surgery and any aftercare needed for at least the first few months, but always check what the price covers before going ahead.
Want a more exact price estimate? Just answer three questions in our simple quote tool to find out the real lens implant surgery cost at a top-rated clinic near you.
2. What Are the Full Costs?
These lens replacement surgery prices are for the three main types of eye operation: refractive lens exchange (RLE) surgery, implantable contact lens (ICL) surgery (also called phakic intraocular lens (PIOL) surgery) and cataract surgery, which we explain below.
1. Refractive Lens Exchange Cost
What is it? In RLE surgery, the surgeon removes your natural lens through a small opening, and replaces it with an artificial one. You can choose between a monofocal or multifocal lens implant.
How much does refractive lens exchange cost? RLE costs between £1,995 and £4,155 per eye, depending on whether you have a monofocal or multifocal lens.
Who is it for? RLE is suitable for older patients who have a high eye prescription, and because of this, the risks of serious complications are higher with RLE than with PIOL surgery – around one in 500 patients have vision loss following this surgery. However, around 95% of patients are satisfied with the outcome of RLE, and for many it is a completely life changing experience.
2. Phakic Intraocular Lens Cost
What is PIOL surgery? PIOL surgery is also sometimes called ICL (implantable contact lenses) or simplified to IOL (intraocular lens implants). It works like permanent contact lenses that sit on top of your own natural lenses. The surgeon slips this artificial lens through a small incision in your eye’s surface – enhancing your natural lens and improving your vision.
How much does IOL cost? Phakic IOL costs between £2,495 and £3,595, depending on your prescription. The most basic monofocal lens is the cheapest, whilst multifocal lenses are more expensive because they allow you to focus clearly at a number of different distances.
Who is it for? According to the Royal College of Ophthalmologists PIOL is suitable for younger people who cannot yet have laser eye surgery, or those suffering from astigmatism. You need to have enough room at the front of your eye to accommodate the PIOL. This is normally determined at your first consultation.
3. Cataract Surgery Cost
What is it? Cataract surgery is a type of RLE surgery to treat cloudy lenses specifically. Just like with RLE surgery, the procedure involves removing the eye’s natural lens and replacing it with an artificial clear one.
How much does cataract surgery cost? Cataract surgery can cost anywhere between £1,195 and £7,500 per eye – and this price includes the consultation, surgery, and aftercare.
Who is it for? Cataracts affect 50% of those over 75 years old, and this is one of the most elective surgeries in the UK.
Watch David Gartry, senior consultant at Moorfields Eye Hospital, discuss the difference between RLE surgery and cataract surgery.
3. Can I Get Lens Replacement Surgery On The NHS?
Sadly, lens replacement surgery is not widely available for free on the NHS. Since many of the problems it fixes can be corrected using glasses or contact lenses. If you would like to correct your vision at a private clinic, you’ll have to pay for the procedure yourself.
However there is an exception for those who suffer from cataracts (cloudy lenses). As long as your vision is significantly affected (that means you have trouble carrying out your daily tasks), you can get free lens replacement surgery on the NHS. You will just need to first get a referral from your optician.
4. Can I Get Lens Replacement Surgery On Finance?
The cost of lens replacement surgery can be too much for many people to fund up front. So many clinics now offer finance packages that allow for the payment of a deposit followed by monthly amounts over a set period to help spread the cost.
This cost comparison table shows the price per eye for monofocal refractive lens exchange (RLE) surgery at different clinics. These finance options have been obtained from the top eye clinics in the UK.
|Shortest Payback Period
(cost per month)
|Longest Payback Period
(cost per month)
|Advanced Vision Care
£94.44 (0% APR)
£70.83 (0% APR)
|Centre for Sight
|£720 - £1,610
From £220 (0% APR)
From £94 (0% APR)
£270.83 (0% APR)
£131 (11.5% APR)
|London Vision Clinic
£392 (0% APR)
£131 (0% APR)
|£0 - £360
£207.91 (0% APR)
£62.66 (9.9% APR)
£149.50 (0% APR)
£28.40 (11.5% APR)
From £172.80 (0% APR)
From £51.49 (11.5% APR)
£166.25 (0% APR)
£41.56 (0% APR)
But be careful. There are some factors that you should take into consideration when purchasing your lens replacement surgery through finance:
- Initial deposits are usually 10% of the full price of surgery so it is important to make sure you have enough funds to cover this.
- Monthly financial instalments typically come with a fixed interest rate. For the shortest payback periods, this is often 0% meaning you only pay back the cost of your surgery. With longer payback periods however, the fixed interest rate typically increases, meaning you will pay back more than the cost of the surgery.
- Paying for things on finance may affect your credit score, so it is important to keep up with your payments.
- Make sure you read the terms and conditions of any financial agreement carefully to avoid any surprises.
Read more: Laser Eye Surgery on Finance
You can receive a personalised quote by using our free tool.
5. Lens Replacement Surgery FAQs
- What exactly is lens replacement surgery?
- Recovery time
- Lens replacement surgery complications
- Am I suitable?
- Where can I get a tailored quote?
1. What is lens replacement surgery?
Lens replacement surgery helps correct long or short sight using an intraocular lens (IOL). There are two main types: refractive lens exchange (RLE) or phakic intraocular lens (PIOL).
RLE replaces your natural lens with an artificial one, or PIOL surgery places new lenses in on top of your own ones, depending on what the surgeon suggests.
The lenses are meant to last a lifetime, but if problems do arise they can be easily removed and replaced without causing permanent damage to the eye.
So how does lens replacement surgery work? Here are five key facts about lens replacement surgery:
- The surgery takes about 20 minutes to complete.
- The eyes are operated on separately – usually week apart.
- Aesthetic eye drops will help to numb the eye that will be undergoing surgery.
- The surgeon will make a tiny incision to the edge of your cornea to insert the artificial lens.
- The surgery is usually completed without stitches, as the tiny incision heals by itself.
2. How long does it take to recover from lens replacement surgery?
Recovery from lens replacement surgery is quick, and most people can return to work within a week. You’ll be able to drive from two weeks after the procedure, but just make sure someone is there to pick you up from the surgery itself.
Here is the recovery timeline you can expect:
- Within two days: You should experience visual improvement
- From one week: It’s time to go back to work
- After two weeks: Patients are allowed to drive
For the best recovery, make sure you follow all the instructions given to you by the clinic after surgery – you’ll receive a hand-out which you can take home with you.
3. Can any complications come from lens replacement surgery?
Most people experience some side effects from lens replacement surgery, but they don’t tend to last more than a few days or weeks. The main ones are blurred vision, light sensitivity, eye halos, or sore eyes, or cloudy vision that may need further surgery to correct.
Common side effects include:
- Blurred vision: Can last a few days
- Increased sensitivity to light: Can last a few weeks
- Halos or rings around lights at night: Avoid night driving until this stabilises
- Sore, red or irritable eyes: Can last between six and eight weeks
- Posterior capsule opacification (PCO): Months or even years after the surgery, the back of the lens can thicken and cause cloudy vision. You can treat PCO with a YAG laser
The Royal College of Ophthalmologists found that risks are higher after refractive lens exchange than laser eye surgery or permanent lens implants.
Rarer side effects include:
- Eye infection, which is treatable with antibiotics
- Retinal detachment, which occurs when the membrane at the back of the eye becomes detached after surgery. Further surgery can correct this, but the quality of vision may not be as it was before the detachment
- Cystoid macula oedema (CMO), which refers to when the macula (the part of the retina which provides detailed central vision) swells following surgery. Mild cases resolve themselves or eye drops can treat it
4. Am I eligible for lens replacement surgery?
Only an eye specialist can tell you that for certain, so it’s worth getting a free consultation to talk through your options. Lens replacement surgery is used to correct numerous visual problems. Those who are eligible for the surgery include people with:
- Hyperopia (farsightedness)
- Presbyopia (an age-related condition which causes farsightedness)
- Myopia (nearsightedness)
- Astigmatism (blurred vision)
- Cataracts (cloudy lenses)
As with any surgery, an expert will need to decide whether you are suitable or not. Before your lens replacement surgery, your ophthalmologist will assess your eye health as well as your overall health.
Read more: Lens replacement surgery reviews
5. How can I get a quote tailored to me?
Click here to find the top-rated clinic near you, and book yourself a free consultation with a surgeon or eye consultant who can answer all your questions.