A guide to different types of eye surgery

10 January 2023

Author: Kate Green

Eye surgery guide

A guide to different types of eye surgery

We offer a number of different treatments here at Ultralase, from vision correcting laser and lens surgeries, to vision-stabilising corneal cross-linking, to cosmetic surgeries. This blog post covers each of our available procedures and provides an overview so that you can be fully informed about which treatment is the best choice for you. If you have any questions about our treatments, we’re only a phone call away on 0800 988 6390, or you can send us an email to enquiries@ultralase.com.

Please note that the recovery times given for each procedure are approximate and will vary from person to person.


LASIK Laser Eye Surgery

LASIK is our most popular type of laser eye surgery due to its quick results and short recovery. The process requires two lasers which are on your eye for a matter of seconds. Most patients are in and out of the treatment room within 10-20 minutes, and some say they even felt ready to go back to work the next day! The LASIK process is very simple: the surgeon uses one laser to create a flap which is then lifted before a second laser is used to treat the eye by reshaping the cornea. The surgeon replaces the flap which begins healing naturally immediately. Read more about LASIK.

Recovery time: Around 3 days

Cost: £1,995 per eye


LASEK Laser Eye Surgery

LASEK recovery takes a little longer than LASIK recovery due to the way that the top layer of the cornea is removed. Instead of a flap being created, the surgeon uses a dilute alcohol solution to soften the top corneal layer. This softened layer is then pushed gently to the side while a laser is used to treat the eye and reshape the cornea. The surgeon then places a bandage contact lens into the eye to help it heal, and this can be removed after 3-5 days. Unlike after LASIK surgery, after LASEK surgery your eye’s epithelial cells must regrow, which is why the recovery period is a little longer. LASEK is ideal for patients who play contact sports or who have astigmatism. Read more about LASEK.

Recovery time: Around 7 days

Cost: £1,995 per eye


Implantable Contact Lenses

Implantable contact lenses are a brilliant alternative to laser eye surgery. It’s potentially a more suitable choice for patients with strong prescriptions, dry eyes, thin corneas, or simply those looking for a non-laser-based treatment. This procedure is performed in around 20 minutes and simply involves inserting an artificial lens into your eye to sit in front of your eye’s natural lens, behind the iris. The lens is designed to remain there for the rest of your life, allowing you to live free from glasses and contact lenses. One small incision is made in order to insert the lens and this begins healing immediately, contributing to a relatively speedy recovery period. Read more about ICLs.

Recovery time: 3-7 days

Cost: £3,245 per eye


Refractive Lens Exchange

Refractive lens exchange surgery (RLE) is ideal for patients who are looking to correct their reading vision, as well as live without prescription glasses or contact lenses. Typically suitable for patients aged in their 40s onwards, RLE surgery prevents you from being able to develop a cataract in the future (as your eye’s natural lens is replaced with a clear artificial one) while also improving your vision. We offer a number of lenses to our RLE patients and you can choose which you would like to have implanted based on a number of factors like your prescription, eye health, and lifestyle requirements. Discover more about RLE surgery.

Recovery time: 3-7 days

Cost: From £2,995 per eye


Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery is the only treatment which can remove cataracts and restore youthful vision. Thankfully, cataract surgery is one of the safest procedures in the world and can be carried out in around 10 minutes per eye. Over 400,000 cataract surgeries are performed in the UK each year, and we’re proud to offer this life-changing surgery at Ultralase. The cataract inside your eye’s natural lens is broken up using ultrasound waves and then is removed, before your lens is replaced with a clear artificial lens. This restores your youthful vision, ending cataract symptoms such as dimmed colour vision, cloudy or blurred vision, and light sensitivity. Learn more about cataract surgery.

Recovery time: 3-7 days

Cost: £2,745 per eye


YAG Laser Treatment

When you have cataract surgery, the artificial lens is inserted into the posterior lens capsule at the back of your eye. However, when the old lens is extracted, some of its epithelial cells can remain in the capsule. Over a period of months or years following surgery, these cells can begin to clump together and form a secondary cataract by clouding the capsule. This stops the light from reaching the retina at the back of the eye, which is the part that actually allows us to see. In YAG surgery, the surgeon will, using a laser, create a small, precise incision in the lens capsule. The laser breaks up the secondary cataract, eliminating the clouded and blurred vision. This means that light can pass through the incision to the retina again, restoring clear vision. This is a very simple, quick procedure performed in just 10 minutes. Discover more about YAG surgery.

Recovery time: 1-2 days

Cost: £395 per eye


Corneal Cross Linking

Corneal cross linking (CXL) is a treatment for degenerative eye condition, keratoconus. Keratoconus occurs when your cornea begins to thin, forming a cone-shaped bulge, resulting in myopia, and in some cases, astigmatism. It is often quite challenging to correct with glasses, but contact lenses can help to an extent. Keratoconus can be serious if left untreated, causing loss of visual acuity, which can be classed as blindness in severe cases. However, CXL can easily halt the progression of keratoconus, and it’s the only known treatment to prevent it from worsening. At Ultralase, we use a combination of Riboflavin (vitamin B) drops as well as ultraviolet light that is encouraged to react with the collagen fibres in your cornea. The idea is to strengthen them by creating several more cross links, and replicating the natural corneal stiffening that you would normally get as you grow older. Learn more about CXL and keratoconus.

Recovery time: 3-5 days

Cost: £2,495 per eye


Cosmetic Eye Surgery

Cosmetic eye surgery, also known as blepharoplasty, is eyelid surgery to remove excess skin, muscle and fat from around the eyes. We offer upper and lower lid blepharoplasties at Ultralase. Upper lid blepharoplasty removes overhanging skin from the top eyelid, while lower lid blepharoplasty removes excess skin creating eye bags from underneath the eyes. While this is called ‘cosmetic’ surgery, lots of our patients actually find that excess skin on the top lid can start to push their eyelid down, impacting their vision and comfort. This surgery is more than just appearance-based for many people. Blepharoplasty surgery at Ultralase is performed under a local anaesthetic and usually takes 1-2 hours to perform, depending on the location and amount of excess skin and fat. Read more about cosmetic eye surgery at Ultralase.

Recovery time: 1-2 weeks

Cost: From £4,000


Get in touch!

Ditch your glasses and contact lenses for good by visiting us for a consultation. We’ll determine which course of treatment is best for you, and guide you on the path to new vision.

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