Suppose you’re one of the millions worldwide who suffer from vision problems and have been considering laser eye surgery.
In that case, you may be wondering if getting the procedure done abroad is a viable option.
With the lure of potentially lower costs and the opportunity to combine medical treatment with a holiday, it’s understandable why some people might be attracted to the idea.
But before deciding, carefully weighing the pros and cons is essential.
Why Get Laser Eye Surgery Abroad?
Some reports and anecdotal evidence suggest that having laser eye surgery abroad can save you up to 50% on your treatment bill, a huge saving on the face of things.
Treatment on the NHS here in the UK is only fully funded if you face a long-term condition leading to extreme vision loss and blindness.
This means those who use corrective measures for conditions such as myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism don’t have access to NHS-funded treatment, leaving them with two options – have treatment here in the UK or fly to other countries in Europe or further afield where the advertised cost can be anywhere up to 50% less than the UK.
How Much Does It Cost To Have Laser Eye Surgery Abroad?
Prices for laser eye treatment abroad fluctuate depending on which country you visit.
At Focus, LASIK surgery is £4,800 for most common prescriptions and £5,600 for more extreme cases.
This can seem like a huge difference compared to some other countries, where prices can be significantly lower. However, going abroad comes with additional costs, which you need to factor into your budget to ensure you are truly getting value for your money.
Cost Of Surgery
Prices for laser eye treatment vary depending on which country you visit. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular overseas destinations:
- Poland – Prices for laser eye surgery in Poland are around £1800 for both eyes.
- Turkey – A popular place for other cosmetic procedures, Turkey offers laser eye surgery for £1200 for both eyes.
- Lithuania – Another popular European country to visit offers laser eye surgery for £1600 for both eyes.
Flights can be the biggest expense when going abroad for laser eye surgery, sometimes costing more than the procedure itself.
You can check for cheap flights regularly to reduce the cost as much as possible, but this will take a lot of time and patience.
Accommodation & Food
You’ll need to organise somewhere to stay before and after your treatment, and you’ll be looking at at least a 7-night stay in a hotel.
Alongside food costs for the week, it can prove to be an expensive option.
Just like when you’re going on holiday, you must have the correct medical travel insurance. As you travel for a medical procedure, standard travel insurance will only be valid if everything goes right.
Like here in the UK, you’ll be expected to attend follow-up appointments to ensure your eyes heal well and that the procedure has worked as expected.
This may mean that you’ll have to return to the country where you had your laser eye surgery, which raises further costs on flights and accommodation.
Loss Of Earnings
Having laser eye surgery abroad means you could take longer off work.
You won’t be able to fly home immediately after your procedure, with guidance recommending that you wait for at least a week, meaning you’ll have to stay there until you get the green light to fly home.
Your employer might allow you to use holiday entitlement to cover this period off work; however, if you do, you’ll likely lose money taking time off work.
Risks To Consider
To make sure you make the correct decision for your situation, you must consider all of the options, including any risks from having surgery abroad.
The most important factors may be which country you consider safe and which practices have positive customer reviews. However, other factors are just as important.
Here in the UK, it’s easy to find out who has the qualifications and skills to carry out specific procedures.
However, you might need help finding this information or fully understanding what the report tells you when going abroad.
You must do your own research, discovering as much as possible about the clinic and the surgeons who carry out the procedure.
The Language Barrier
Going abroad means you’re likely to go to a country where English isn’t the first language.
Are you confident enough to understand the language spoken in your chosen country, or are you happy that you may have to translate some information?
Some countries are used to having foreign patients, so English is widely used in the clinical environment. However, you must check if this is the case before travelling there.
Lack Of Aftercare
Aftercare is just as important as the procedure itself.
You’ll want to ensure that the clinic offers some post-op consultations to ensure the laser eye surgery has worked as expected.
Ensure you are confident that any issues will be rectified, and find out how to report any concerns when you’re back home.
It’s also important to note that UK laser eye surgeons may not be able to assist you if you have any issues with laser eye surgery you had abroad. You should contact your surgeon and have them rectify the problem.
Is It Worth Going Abroad For Laser Eye Surgery?
As you can see, there are pros and cons to having laser eye surgery abroad. Ultimately, the choice is in your hands.
Although the price of the surgery in other countries can appear to be significantly lower, once you consider the cost of flights, accommodation, food, and loss of earnings from work, you can see how quickly the savings disappear. The overall cost is very close to getting treatment in the UK.
But if you have some worries or concerns after surgery, you won’t have the reassurance of being able to visit your local UK clinic for a quick check.
If going abroad for treatment is still something you want to explore, our advice is to research and find former patients to discuss things with, especially those who had issues afterwards and needed additional help.
Find the clinics and surgeons with good results; don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Having your surgery in the UK means you stay within familiar territory, have confidence in the healthcare regulations, and have access to a high standard of pre and post-procedure care.