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Is Laser Eye Surgery Worth the Cost in the UK? (Pros & Cons)

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Tired of fumbling for glasses and dreaming of 20/20 vision? Laser eye surgery might be the answer, but is it worth the hefty price tag?

Whether you're a lifelong glasses wearer or a seasoned contact lens veteran, navigating the world of laser eye surgery can be confusing. This blog post will delve into the costs, potential benefits, and drawbacks to help you decide if ditching your specs is the right choice for you.

Is Laser Eye Surgery Worth the Cost in the UK (Pros & Cons)

Laser Eye Surgery UK: Worth the Cost? Pros, Cons & Prices You Need to Know

Join me as we delve into:

  • Why I’m personally considering laser eye surgery

  • The financial investment (UK-specific!)

  • The potential benefits like freedom and improved confidence

  • The drawbacks like dry eyes and uncertain outcomes

  • Why the cheapest surgeon isn’t always the best option

  • So, is laser eye surgery worth the cost?

Personal Journey: Considering Laser Eye Surgery for Improved Vision and Quality of Life

In recent years, laser eye surgery has gained popularity as a solution for vision correction.  Being able to ditch the glasses and contact lenses is a huge draw, although more tempting is the promise of 20/20 vision without using any aids.  

Being able to wake up and see everything like the average person, being able to drive without glasses, go to a cinema without glasses, see across the road without glasses, watch TV without glasses… OK, those are my personal reasons for considering laser eye surgery!

Since moving to the coast a few years ago, I’ve been considering laser eye surgery more and more.  I am short-sighted, not terribly bad, but enough that I am not legally allowed to drive without glasses or contact lenses, and if you were across the road from me on the other pavement, I wouldn’t recognise you or be able to make you out!  

Taking long hikes across the coast in my new home is one of my favourite things to do, yet because I dislike wearing my glasses and only tend to wear them for driving and the cinema, I spend my time mostly squinting at the sea trying to work out if it’s a seal, a dolphin or a porpoise I can see in the distance! 

With my glasses on, it’s as if my vision transforms from an old fuzzy-edged TV picture into the clearest of HD with crisp edges and full detail everywhere I look. Being able to see clearly and in HD 24/7 is certainly appealing.

As I approach 40 years old, I’m heading towards the upper age limit of being accepted for LASIK laser eye surgery and my time is running out to make my decision, for this type of laser at least.  As a fan of long term beauty treatments that save me hassle and money over time, and with the prospect of 20/20 vision, I’m certainly tempted.

However, like any medical procedure, with its benefits come considerations, particularly surrounding its cost and any drawbacks. So, as I delve into research of whether laser eye surgery is right for me, perhaps it will help you to decide if it’s right for you.

In this blog post, I’ll delve into the question: Is laser eye surgery worth the cost? I’ll explore the expenses involved, weigh the pros and cons, and perhaps help us both make an informed decision!

The Price Tag: Understanding the Costs of Laser Eye Surgery

Let's start with the financial aspect. Laser eye surgery in the UK varies considerably depending on several factors, including the clinic, the surgeon’s expertise, the technology used, the type of procedure, and your individual prescription. 

Having explored the internet in February 2024 to get an idea of the current prices of LASIK, expect to pay between £1300 and £3000 per eye. 

Some clinics base their costs on the varying factors mentioned above, however, I was able to find clinics that offered a fixed price of £1995 per eye.  Don’t forget, this is per eye, so most people will require both eyes corrected so the price is doubled.  If you need both eyes corrected, you need to be thinking in the range of £3000 to £6000 for laser eye surgery.

There could also be additional fees for pre-operative assessments, post-operative care, or enhancements.  Many clinics offer free consultations, so these can be a great way to find out all the answers to your questions from the experts to help make an informed decision, even if you decide to choose a different clinic at a later date.

A commonly searched query is whether you can get laser eye surgery for free on the NHS. The answer is most commonly no, you cannot, unless you have a medical condition which could lead to the complete loss of your vision without laser intervention, then you will need to pay privately yourself for LASIK or a similar treatment. 

Unless you already have a large amount of savings or will be saving for the surgery, the cost is high for most people and is likely the most off-putting factor.  Some clinics offer finance options, but remember, this is a significant investment that requires careful consideration.

So is the cost worth it?  Let’s continue to explore why millions of people take the plunge and go ahead with laser eye surgery, regardless of the high price tag.

Life Without Glasses: The Pros of Laser Eye Surgery 

Let's explore the potential benefits that might make the price tag palatable! One of the main draws is the freedom from glasses and contact lenses. Imagine waking up and seeing clearly without fumbling for your specs, swimming without worrying about losing lenses, or enjoying hassle-free makeup application. 

Laser eye surgery can enhance your convenience and spontaneity.  I can’t remember the number of times I’ve forgotten my glasses when attending a cinema or theatre and it’s ruined my experience as everything is fuzzy and unclear.

Studies show that most patients achieve significant vision improvement, often reaching 20/20 vision or close to it. This can translate to improved confidence and self-esteem in social and professional settings. I know it would reduce my social anxiety about meeting people in busy places when I can’t make out who’s who until I’m pretty close by!

Also, the procedure can enhance athletic performance by eliminating the limitations of glasses or contact lenses during sports.  So if you’re a keen swimmer, runner or team sports player, having improved vision and not needing to wear glasses or contacts can make sports a lot more enjoyable and hassle-free.

Here are some of the main benefits of laser eye surgery: 

  • Improved Vision: One of the primary benefits of laser eye surgery is enhanced vision. Many patients experience significantly reduced dependence on glasses or contact lenses, if not complete freedom from them.

  • Convenience: Following the procedure, most individuals find daily activities more convenient without the hassle of glasses or contacts. Activities like sports, swimming, or even simple tasks like waking up to clear vision can significantly improve quality of life.

  • Long-term Savings: While the upfront cost may seem substantial, many people find that the long-term savings on glasses, contacts, and associated expenses outweigh the initial investment.  Also, once they have a 20/20 vision, many people report it being worth the cost for the improved quality of life alone.

High Satisfaction Rate: 96% of LASIK Customers Recommend the Procedure

As I’ve been researching laser eye surgery myself, I have stumbled across no end of customer reviews with a resounding theme of “I only wish I’d done it sooner” and “It’s the best thing I’ve ever done”.  Hearing about people's experiences and how it has positively impacted their lives is truly inspiring.

This sentiment is supported by LASIK, which boasts an unprecedented 96% patient satisfaction rate – the highest of any elective procedure (Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery, Vol. 42, Issue 8, August 2016, Pages 1224-1234).

Understanding the Cons of Laser Eye Surgery

However, before taking the plunge, it's crucial to understand the potential downsides. While rare, complications can occur, such as dry eyes, halos, or glare. It's important to discuss these risks thoroughly with your ophthalmologist (a specialist in eye and vision care) and understand that perfect vision isn't guaranteed. You might still require reading glasses for fine print, and your vision could gradually change over time.

Another crucial aspect to consider is the suitability of your eyes. Not everyone is a candidate for laser eye surgery. Age, the shape of your cornea, and your overall eye health play a significant role. A comprehensive consultation with an experienced ophthalmologist is crucial to determine if you're eligible and what procedure is best suited for your needs.

Here are some of the main drawbacks of laser eye surgery:

  • Cost: While laser eye surgery may save money in the long run, particularly for contact lens users, the initial cost may simply be too much for some. It's essential to weigh this against the potential long-term benefits.

  • Risk of Complications: As with any surgical procedure, there are risks involved, including dry eyes, glare, halos, and, in very rare cases, loss of vision. Choosing a qualified surgeon and undergoing a thorough pre-operative assessment can mitigate these risks.

  • Not Suitable for Everyone: Not everyone is a candidate for laser eye surgery. Factors such as age, prescription stability, and eye health play a significant role in determining candidacy. Consulting with a qualified ophthalmologist is crucial to assess suitability.

Chance of Complications with LASIK

It’s reassuring to know some of the figures around the risks and St Paul’s Laser Vision explain in their FAQs.  They share how 50 million procedures have been performed worldwide, making laser eye surgery one of the safest options for vision correction.

They go on to say how less than 3% of LASIK procedures result in any complications with the chance of a serious complication being less than 1% and this chance reducing to less than 0.3% if you choose an expert and experienced surgeon.

Before taking the plunge, you should thoroughly research the costs, benefits and risks and undergo a comprehensive consultation with an expert in laser eye surgery.

Beyond the Cost: Additional Factors to Consider 

Remember, cost isn't the only factor when deciding on laser eye surgery. While affordability is important, the cheapest option may not always be the best. Prioritise quality, safety, and long-term outcomes over immediate savings.

Choose a reputable clinic with experienced surgeons and advanced technology. Thorough consultations, clear communication, and transparent pricing are essential. Beware of low-cost offers that may compromise quality or safety.

While clinics abroad may offer appealing rates, consider the implications if complications arise afterwards. Opting for a clinic in your own country ensures easier access to follow-up appointments and aftercare, providing peace of mind.

Ultimately, the decision should consider the surgery's impact on your life. If you believe it will significantly improve your everyday life and you can afford it, even with a finance plan, then the price tag may not be a regret. Prioritise your vision and overall well-being above mere cost considerations.

Is Laser Eye Surgery Worth the Cost? Making the Decision 

Ultimately, whether laser eye surgery is worth the cost depends on individual circumstances. For some, the benefits of improved vision and convenience outweigh the financial investment. Others may prefer to stick with glasses or contacts due to cost considerations or personal preferences. It's essential to weigh the pros and cons carefully, consult with a qualified eye care professional, and make an informed decision based on your unique situation.

In conclusion, laser eye surgery offers a potentially life-changing solution for vision correction. While the cost may be a significant consideration, the benefits of improved vision and convenience can be invaluable to many. By understanding the costs, pros, and cons outlined in this guide, you can make an informed decision about whether laser eye surgery is worth it for you.  Your eyes are precious, so treat them with the care and consideration they deserve!


Remember, this blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Always consult with a qualified ophthalmologist to discuss your individual needs and suitability for laser eye surgery.