How much can you save by undergoing the multifocal lens RLE abroad? Is it really worth it?

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RLE (refractive lens exchange) is a vision correction procedure whereby a patient's natural lens is replaced by an artificial lens. There are three types of lenses: monofocal which correct a patient’s a near or distant vision only, multifocal (bifocal) which correct a patient’s near and distant vision and the trifocal lens which improves a patient’s vision at all distances.

If we take a look at the UK market, the average price for RLE with a multifocal lens ranges from £2995 (€3400) to £3575 (€4050) per eye, resulting in a total price range of £5900 (€6800) to £7150 (€8100)  for both eyes. This price covers everything including 90 days' postoperative care. Trifocal lenses are rarely offered and are very expensive.

If we look at neighbouring Ireland, then the average price for RLE with a multifocal lens is €3500 for one eye and for both eyes the total price is €7000. Again, this price covers everything including 90 days' postoperative care.. Trifocal lenses are not commonly offered.

You can save up to 50% by going to Prague for RLE

With Praga Medica in the Czech Republic, the price is €2280 for both eyes. This is less than the cost for one eye in the UK and Ireland. The price includes Alcon / Zeiss multifocal lenses, no hidden costs and all postoperative examinations for up to 1 year after surgery. The price also includes all medication and the procedure itself. The price does not include the preoperative assessment which you can undergo in your home country free of charge or in Prague. Trifocal lenses are offered at €1300 per eye.

Staying in the UK and Ireland does away with the expense of traveling abroad. However, even after factoring in the cost of accommodation and flight tickets, the price of the procedure in Prague is still lower than in the UK or Ireland. In addition, the patient has the option of choosing RLE with trifocal lenses and enjoying other services such as personal assistance and help with booking flights and accommodation.

How come there is such a difference between the price in the Czech Republic, United Kingdom and Ireland?

One of the main reasons is the fact that the cost of living in the Czech Republic is much lower than in other countries. Education is free of charge and thus doctors do not accumulate debt while studying. The Czech Republic also has a plentiful supply of ophthalmologists, unlike the UK and Ireland, so it is almost impossible for clinics to establish oligopolies (when a few companies dominate the market and can therefore determine the price). There is a high volume of procedures carried out in the Czech Republic, the clinics usually get better deals with suppliers and as there is a lot of competition this cost saving is reflected in the price of the procedure.

Is the quality of the treatment better or worse?

The Czech Republic is a world leader when it comes to ophthalmology. This is not only due to its illustrious history in the field, but also thanks to the amount of research currently undertaken in the country. Some procedures are very rarely done in the UK and Ireland due to a lack of specialists, yet in the Czech Republic, these procedures are done routinely.  The doctors are board-certified and meet European standards.

Reviewed by Dr. Lubomír Továrek