The cost of laser eye surgery varies according to a number of criteria, including: the type of procedure, the chosen clinic and whatever equipment is used. In fact, if you shop around you'll find that some clinics charge twice the going rate (and the service won't necessarily be ‘twice as good'). However, your eyesight is one area where you are unlikely to want to budget.
Currently there are three main procedures used in laser eye surgery: the oldest is PRK, which is becoming less and less commonplace in favour of LASIK and LASEK . All three procedures use lasers to re-shape the cornea, but vary as to the exact mechanisms by which they work. PRK involves removing the top layer of the cornea, which means that it can be painful. LASEK partially removes the top layer of the cornea and then re-shapes the remaining cornea beneath. In LASIK procedures the surgeon cuts a flap in the cornea and then targets the tissue beneath with the laser. As a rule of thumb you can expect LASIK to be more expensive than LASEK, while PRK is the cheapest but least popular option.
The equipment used by the particular surgery will also have a bearing on the overall price. A good example would be the financial premium paid by anyone undergoing wavefront surgery (a type of mapping system that refines the laser operations on the cornea). Naturally all clinics profess to owning; ‘state of the art' kit, and unless you are an expert on laser technology (unlikely), it's worth asking exactly what they mean. Another factor which will affect the cost of the operation is the surgeon's experience and expertise. Clinics often use a number of different surgeons and you won't necessarily meet them until the day of the operation itself. Clearly it is better to go to a clinic where you can meet the surgeon beforehand.
So what is the actual cost of laser eye surgery? The cheapest clinics offer laser surgery for about £600 per eye, but it can cost as much as £2000 per eye. When you're quoted a price make sure that it includes all medicines and follow-up appointments. Remember that the most important factor isn't financial, rather that you have total confidence in the surgeon carrying out the procedure.