Cost of Laser Eye Surgery in New Zealand- 2020

Start a new decade with 20/20 vision in 2020. If you’re looking into having laser eye surgery in New Zealand, chances are that the cost is one of your main concerns. Along with considering the long term benefits of this life changing procedure compared to the on-going upkeep of glasses and contact lenses, you may wish to compare different clinic prices and what they offer.

Start a new decade with 20/20 vision in 2020.

If you’re looking into having laser eye surgery, chances are that the cost is one of your main concerns. Along with considering the cost of the long term benefits of this life changing permanent procedure compared to the on-going upkeep of glasses and contact lenses, you may wish to compare different clinic prices and what they offer.

1. Overview of Laser Eye Surgery procedures

Laser eye surgery means using a laser to permanently change the shape of the cornea (front surface of the eye) to correct focusing errors. There are different types of laser eye surgical procedures that can be offered depending upon your visual problem that is being corrected and your prescription.

Most clinics offer a flat rate regardless of the type of laser refractive surgery. Other clinics charge different rates for different procedures and different prescriptions.

LASIK (Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis)

This is the gold standard; painfree, safe and the most common type of laser eye surgery treatment. With over 30 million people having had the procedure the long term benefits are known. It involves the first laser, a femtosecond laser, using tiny pulses of light to create a flap in the cornea, this is lifted back to expose the stromal layer. The second laser, the excimer laser, is then used to reshape the cornea. The flap is then placed back in position. This procedure is suitable for people with common vision problems - nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.

LASEK (Laser-assisted sub-epithelial keratomileusis)

With this procedure the epithelium (the thin layer of cells that cover the cornea) is peeled back. The laser beam reshapes the cornea and the epithelium is replaced. This treatment is an alternative for LASIK surgery for people with thin corneas and is similar to PRK.

PRK (Photorefractive Keratoctomy or Surface Laser Ablation)

This is the original type of laser eye treatment and involves removing the epithelium in order to access the cornea stroma. The cornea is reshaped with the laser and a protective lens is worn during the recovery period. The surface cells then regenerate and recovery is a little slower. It is not the most common procedure used but is a good alternative to LASIK, LASEK and SMILE for people who have thin corneas and who should otherwise not be a suitable candidate for laser eye surgery.

SMILE (Small Incision Lenticule Extraction)

This is a new type of laser eye treatment. Rather than creating a flap in the cornea for the laser, this procedure cuts a disc in the cornea using a femtosecond laser that uses a series of pulses in the centre of the cornea. The disc is then manually removed by the surgeon. It is generally used for correcting high degrees of myopia without astigmatism.

2. Laser Eye Surgery costs by city

Prices vary between cities and in some clinics between the type of laser refractive surgery being offered. The higher procedure price doesn’t mean it is a better treatment, as different surgical procedures are best suited according to your unique vision requirements.

Some clinics offer a higher price for a single eye verses a discounted price for both eyes.

Some clinics offer a flat rate independent of the type of laser refractive surgery that is best suited for your eyes.

Here is a break down of the cost per eye and procedures by city.

Auckland: $2,850-$3100 for LASIK

Hamilton: $3580 for LASIK

Wellington: $3150-$3180 for LASIK

Christchurch: $3450 for LASIK

3. Finance available

All clinics offer affordable finance options for payment to suit all budgets such as Q-Card, Credit Card, Eftpos and cash. Some can offer interest free terms over 12 months.

4. Out of Town offers

Some clinics offer an out-of-town pricing package to assist with accomodation and flights for those who are required to travel to the main centres. When you are considering travel to a main centre, be sure to ask who will see you for your pre-assessment and all your follow up care. Often the discount is because your care is outsourced to an optometrist and you only meet your surgeon on the day of the procedure.

5. Will there be any additional costs?

Hidden costs are something to be aware of. Some clinics may require you to pay for your ‘free suitability assessment’ if you don’t proceed with the laser eye surgery. Check if there are any charges for prescription medication, aftercare appointments (and for how many appointments and how many months these are for) and any enhancement procedure if this is required. Have you factored in the cost of a taxi ride from the airport to the clinic and back?

6. Are there promotional deals?

Generally, running a promotion on certain procedures for a short time period is a price-matching competition approach and more likely to be found in a city with multiple clinics. Some clinics may cut their costs by outsourcing the aftercare to an optometrist. Many good clinics will have financing options allowing you to pay for the surgery over several months so you don’t need to go with the cheapest option.

7. Is Laser Eye Surgery covered by insurance?

Laser Eye Surgery is an elective procedure (i.e. not medically required) so as a general rule it is not covered by health insurance companies in New Zealand.

8. Will having Laser Eye Surgery save me money?

The cost of Laser Eye Surgery compares well against a lifetime of optometry costs. While the initial out lay may seem expensive, consider annual optometry appointments, upgrading glasses with fashion and prescription changes, lost or broken glasses being replaced, contact lenses and their on going care.

9. Is it cheaper to go abroad for Laser Eye Surgery?

Medical vacations may sound attractive but before you go abroad you should consider the add on extras; flights, accommodation, insurance, extra time off work. While this may sound attractive as part of the holiday, consider the aftercare follow up. What level of training has the surgeon had and what government healthcare regulation exist in the country to maintain safe operating standards. This might require a visit back to the overseas clinic. You need to weigh up the overall risk against the possible cost savings and decide if it is worth it or not?

10. Good research is essential to help you make the right decision

Talk to family, friends and colleagues, read reviews, meet your surgeon and feel comfortable trusting your vision in their hands and the clinic. At Bowen Eye Clinic we believe in continuity of care and transparency so you know exactly what costs are included in your treatment. Your total eye care is provided by Dr Reece Hall and includes:

Free suitability assessment including eye scans.

Pre-operative consultation to tailor your procedure to your individual requirements.

Laser eye surgery procedures are recommended to suit your visual requirements.

Your first follow up appointment in Wellington and then all other follow up care (second, month 1, month 3 and out to a year) at the nearest clinic of your choice, Wellington, Waikanae, Nelson or Palmerston North

Enhancement procedure within 12 months if necessary at not additional cost.

Out of town financial package for people coming from Nelson who will need to travel to Wellington and stay the night of surgery.


Enjoy 20/20 vision in 2020 by making an appointment for a free suitability assessment at Bowen Eye Clinic on 0800 69 2020 or email