Comparison Of Laser Eye Surgery Costs In Ireland
As an independent journalist, I was asked to conduct a research project in order to make a comparison of laser eye surgery costs in Ireland. What I discovered was a wide gap in what clinics charge and how they price their service.
What follows is what I believe to be a realistic comparison (see table below) where I have attempted to compare like with like, showing the cost and quality for:
- Initial research call with clinic
- Suitability examination
- Laser eye Surgery prices quoted
- Aftercare included
- Guarantees offered
Significant Difference in Quality of Suitability Exam
You will need a suitability examination to determine not only if you are suitable but to establish what treatment will be right for you in terms of the outcomes you seek. A major difference I discovered is that while some clinics provide this from an experienced ophthalmic surgeon others just use a regular eye doctor who is not nearly as highly trained as a surgeon and who has never performed laser eye surgery.
This not only means you won’t be able to ask your actual surgeon questions, but also means your actual surgeon may change your outcome depending on his own examination on the day or the surgery. The medical council recommends that you see the surgeon who will personally perform your surgery before you have it i.e. not just on the day of your surgery.
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Summary Table for Laser Eye Surgery Costs in Ireland
Here is a summary table of comparison of laser eye surgery costs in Ireland i.e. the overal results of the research project. (If viewing on a mobile device you may have to swipe right to view the whole table.)
|Clinic Name:||Mater Private||Blackrock Clinic||Butterfly Vision||Wellington Clinic||Optilase||Optical Express|
|Cost of Laser Eye Surgery (both eyes) with aftercare||€3,870 to €7,300 range quoted||€3,590 or €5,400 range quoted||€2,995 Fixed Inclusive Cost||€5,000||€3,790||€2,390 to €6,390 range quoted with lots of non specific extras|
|Hardsell or Not?||Hard to get through to discuss it but no hard sell. Long waiting list at moment.||Very long waiting list currently. Three months wait for the assessment due to Covid-19 backlog. No hard sell.||Spoke directly to the consultant surgeon in a video appointment after booking in for this with reception. Really excellent.||Hard to get through to discuss it but no hard sell||Spoke with clinic manager. No hard sell. Very polite and informative||Not a hard sell but spoke to a call centre in UK. Wasn’t very informative.|
|Free phone or video consultation with an ophthalmic surgeon?||No||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|Cost of suitability assessment (usually takes at least one hour)||€180 non refundable||€125 non refundable||€100 refundable if not suitable or if you go ahead with laser eye surgery||€150 non refundable||Free of charge||Free of charge|
|Does a consultant ophthalmic surgeon carry out the suitability assessment?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Do you see your ophthalmic surgeon before the day of your surgery?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Is There a higher charge for a higher prescription?||No||No||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Is Wavefront Technology Included?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No (I had to ask and quoted extra €500)||Extra charged|
|Aftercare included||4 checkups and €120 each thereafter||One checkup or more if you want them||6 checkups but more if needed with no charge in first 2 years||Included for first year but pay after that||Included until discharged||Couldn’t get a straight answer to this question|
|Guarantee i.e. if you need further laser eye surgery||No||Yes within first year||10 Years||Only if you come for paid checkups every year||Lifetime but with conditions||Couldn’t get a straight answer to this question|
No hard sell
In fairness to all the clinics involved I was pleasantly surprised that no hard-sell pressure tactics were used whereas in the UK this is common practise. The one clinic that was not transparent on their pricing (Optical Express) is part of a UK group and the person I spoke to was working at a call centre based in the UK.
Some clinics suggested that laser eye surgery was not the best option and that lens replacement provided a better result. This is essentially like having a permanent contact lense surgically placed in your eye. The cost of this is roughly double laser eye surgery and accounts for the wide range in prices from individual clinics. My understanding is that these are only truly needed in around 1% of cases. For the rest it is far better to have your cornea naturally curved to improve vision than to have a foreign object placed on your eye which has the potential to be rejected by the body.
How this research was undertaken:
I first made a list of the main Irish laser eye surgery clinics that were showing up in Google’s search results, including paid adverts and organic results.
I then took a note of the information displayed on their website. Over the course of three days ending on 23rd July 2020 I rang each clinic and had a long discussion asking each one the same questions and noting their answers.
The questions I used were taken from a similar research project carried out in the UK by Which magazine a number of years ago.
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