Have eye surgery, will travel

Overseas refractive surgery clinics have seen a spike in enquiries from Brits


Twice as many British people showed their interest in getting laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) in an overseas country this year, according to new numbers from referral firm

The jump from 2015 figures may be due to the lower cost of the procedure in other neighbouring countries. Compared to LASIK’s £1605 average cost in the UK, the procedure cost £594 in the Czech Republic and just £319 in Poland, on average, the company highlighted.

Over all types of laser eye surgery, UK user enquiries at home and abroad through the site are up 17% from 2015, the company’s consumer matters head, Philip Boyle, told OT.

He explained that: "Medical tourism is often driven by price, but when it comes to laser eye surgery, price may not always be the main factor behind people’s travel. Many patients who are travelling for work or pleasure consider ‘adding on’ treatment when they are abroad."

"For example, many enquiries are being made to India, where the cost of travel really negates any savings made," he added.

Even for procedures such as LASIK where complications are relatively rare, it is important for patients to do their research before making a decision, Mr Boyle highlighted.

"Every surgery, home or abroad, carries risk – that’s why patients need to have all the information before they make any treatment decision, and make sure they’ve asked about risks and complications before choosing a clinic or having the procedure," he emphasised.

Centre for Sight medical director, Sheraz Daya, noted that the 18–35-year-old age group was particularly keen to have the corrective treatment.

"Due to peer pressure and high awareness of self-improving techniques available with cosmetic surgeries, there has been significant growth in demand for LASIK laser vision correction," he outlined.