Britons Adding Laser Eye Surgery to Their Vacation

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A YouGov survey of 4,209 adults conducted by Simpson Millar reported that more than one-in-five eyeglass wearers and contact users consider going abroad for a laser eye surgery. Both cost effectiveness and unusually long wait-times for procedures are the two most significant motivating factors.

While Britons are able to get the surgery they seek at a lower cost at a clinic abroad, they still need to consider the costs of travel, including airline and hospitality accommodations, which is why many opt to couple laser eye surgery with their scheduled vacation.

According to Sandra McAngus at the Vistalaser Oftalmologia, the facility usually receives calls from three to four patients a week from the UK. These individuals generally call ahead to schedule a consultation and can usually have results back from their eye tests within one week. McAngus states that on occasion patients may even “walk-in” the clinic while on vacation to investigate the specifics of undergoing a procedure.

Laser eye surgical procedures are usually relatively quick – about 20 minutes in the operating room and approximately ten minutes post op, and the majority of patients are able to resume their vacations shortly thereafter. Customary post op instructions include the application of eye drops; wearing of special eyeglasses, and swimming is prohibited for a period 15 days after surgery.

According to the report by YouGov, 57 percent of the nation wears glasses; three percent wear contact lenses and ten percent wear both. Three percent of people who wear one or the other have had prior laser eye surgery and another 30 percent say that they would consider medical travel it in the future.

With more than half the nation in need of some type of vision assistance, and a portion of those individuals interested in travelling abroad, the Simpson Miller article offers guidelines for items to consider before traveling abroad.

1. Ensure that the physician is fully qualified to do laser eye surgery. Do not make your decision based on a favorable, more affordable cost of procedure. In the UK, the Care Quality Commission ensures that facilities meet certain standards, however, this type of regulation is not necessarily enforced in other countries.

2. In the event that a patient develops surgical complications, it may be difficult to claim compensation due to certain restrictions in place, and it may be impossible to prove negligence.

3. Determine how often the surgeon has performed the procedure and his/her complications rate.

4. It is recommended that the patient be adequately insured and confirm that the clinic has liability insurance.

General Medical Council (GMC) in the UK recently published patient guidelines detailing things to consider when going abroad for cosmetic surgery. These guidelines are specific for incoming patients to the UK, but are recommended for outbound patients to consider these guidelines as well. One main focus of the guidelines is for the procedures not to be marketing in a false or misleading method.