Laser eye surgery: home or abroad?

24 Jul 2020

What could be better: going abroad and getting some sun, while and at the same time, saving money on a treatment you’ve been wanting to have for ages?

With the increase in low-cost treatments and flights abroad, more and more people each year are seeking treatments outside of Ireland.

Laser Eye Surgery and refractive lens surgeries make up a decent percentage of this “medical tourism”. As a treatment that can improve your vision permanently and be performed in just a matter of minutes, it’s no surprise why.

There’s no doubting there are many attractions to heading abroad for treatment. But the big question is, is it worth the risk?

The cost of Laser Eye Surgery Abroad
There’s no denying that the actual price of Laser Eye Surgery itself can be lower if you travel to popular medical tourism destinations such as India or Thailand.

In the cheapest countries, you could even pay as little as a third of what the treatment may cost back home. And you don’t have to go too far for it—some European countries like Hungary and the Czech Republic offer very cheap Laser Eye Surgery.

The reasons for the lower costs are many. For instance, at a glance, such countries often have a lower cost of living, as well as a beneficial exchange rate.

However, on closer inspection, lower prices may also reflect the lack of training and experience of surgeons, as well as old or outdated technology, and substandard safety protocols.

But sticking to cost, even though the actual price of the treatment may be lower, when you have Laser Eye Surgery abroad, soon the costs can begin to stack up.

As you begin taking into account extra costs, you can find the total cost of having Laser Eye Surgery abroad exceeds that of even the higher cost treatments here in Ireland

Here are some of the main additional costs to consider when having Laser Eye Surgery abroad:

Flights: A return ticket could cost you upwards of €500 per person. And we say per person because it’s recommended to have someone accompany you home from the clinic. This also excludes any repeat visits, such as aftercare check-ups.
Accommodation: As you need to put yourself up while you’re there, you could pay up to €200 per night for accommodation. You also may need to be there for a week if not two, as you need to arrive in the country a few days before your treatment. It’s also advised not to fly until you’ve been signed off as fit to do so by your surgeon.
Insurance: Standard medical insurance doesn’t cover medical treatment abroad. You’ll need to take out additional medical insurance. This is important as if complications do arise from your treatment, you will not be covered unless you declared you were having it abroad.
Days off work: The cost of time spent off work will vary from person to person, especially if you work for yourself or use accumulated holiday days. But if you need to take unpaid leave to fit around flights and treatment times, then you could lose more than you save.
Follow-up appointments: As mentioned, you may be required to return to the clinic for follow up aftercare appointments with your surgeon. The costs of flights, accommodation, insurance, and days off work may therefore not be just a one-off expense. This should be factored into your overall calculation of costs.

The risks of having Laser Eye Surgery abroad
Many people have gone abroad for vision correction treatment and have come home happy.

However, research shows there is a higher risk of complications if you do have Laser Eye Surgery outside of Ireland.

One of the main reasons for this is that there tends to be fewer healthcare regulations in the destinations where Laser Eye Surgery is cheaper. On top of this, language barriers and exclusions of services that are considered as standard in many clinics in Ireland, such as a comprehensive screening and aftercare support, can complicate things further.

Here are some of the key questions to ask the clinic when having Laser Eye Surgery either at home or abroad:

What are the surgeon’s qualifications?
There is no universal regulatory body for laser vision correction. This means, when having treatment abroad, it’s not only difficult to know the standard of a surgeon, but difficult to find out their exact training and who accredited their skills.

Will I meet the surgeon before the treatment?
When travelling abroad for surgery, there are many cost and time constraints that mean most surgeons only offer online consultations prior to your treatment.

Not being able to meet your surgeon face to face before the day of the treatment is a big warning sign. Laser Eye Surgery stays with you for life. And so you want to know you can build a relationship with your surgeon, not only to put your mind at ease before the big day, but for the months and years ahead.

Do the clinic and surgeon have good reviews?

Today, it’s easy to check the reviews of clinics online before you choose a clinic or surgeon. However, reviews that are verified by an independent body may be more difficult to come across.

The next best thing is a personal recommendation from someone you trust. This is rarer for clinics and surgeons abroad, with many people returning and not being satisfied with the level of care they received. You can read all of Optilase customer testimonials by clicking here.

Does the country have healthcare regulations?

As mentioned, some countries have much looser regulations and lower standards of healthcare when compared to the UK.

This affects not only the level of training of surgeons and the quality of equipment, but also the care and attention of the clinical staff. All of these factors mean that more complications—such as corneal ectasia, epithelial in-growth, and dislocation of the flap— arise from Laser Eye Surgery abroad.

Find out more about Laser Eye Surgery with Optilase or book your consultation today by getting in touch with our friendly team of clinic coordinators.

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Patient Reviews

Thelma Scanlon
September 23, 2023

Great experience and great after care. Had 2020 vision within 24 hours with very minimal pain.

Amanda Mulligan
September 23, 2023

Amazing experience , amazing staff, amazing eye sight . I had lens replacement 3 months ago and would highly recommend.

Mr. O’Flynn Education
September 23, 2023

I got my laser eye surgery done on April 20th and couldn’t be happier. I had one hard day of recovery, followed by dry eyes for a small while. Sleeping with the protective goggles is the hardest part, but you’re helped throughout the process by experts. I couldn’t recommend this enough and Optilase were a dream to deal with. Even if you can’t afford the treatment now, you can always talk about a payment plan and get the vision you’ve always wanted.

Holli Burgon
September 18, 2023

I could not rate high enough, consultation was extremely informative and the staff were amazing, very friendly and answered all my questions with ease.

Roisin Byrne
September 15, 2023

I had a wonderful experience in Optilase in Ely Place, the staff were so kind and helpful and made me feel really comfortable. Would absolutely recommend

PAULA Moriarty
September 7, 2023

Couldn't rate Optilase high enough. I had Lens Replacement Surgery. My experience from the first phone call to the procedure itself and the aftercare was fantastic. All of the staff from the call centre to the staff in Carrickmines and the theatre were so helpful and friendly. Would definitely recommend .

September 5, 2023

I had my PRK done on both eyes , and im happy with the result. The post operation pain was extreme but it settled down after 4 days. Now i feel great after 2 weeks post operation no complications what so ever , other than blurry vision now and then, but its improving every day

Rebekah Lowry
August 25, 2023

Got LASIK in Ely Place only yesterday and officially had 20/20 vision just 24 hours later! Cannot recommend Optilase enough from my initial consultation with Aisling in Athlone to my trips to Carrickmines and Ely Place. The staff really look after you from the moment you walk in the door and make you feel so at ease from start to finish - 10 out of 10 experience!

Kate Oto
August 21, 2023

I highly recommend this place, reliable information and care, full professionalism.

Lisa Simcox
August 21, 2023

LASIK was so easy and pain free. It’s one week post surgery and my eye sight is wonderful. I couldn’t recommend enough.

Declan Wynne
August 21, 2023

I no longer need glasses,absolutely life changing.Great aftercare,lovely staff.

Poliana Oliveira
August 9, 2023

I have been wearing glasses for over 20 years. I always hated wearing contact lenses and I got to a time in my life that I needed a change. A friend recommended optilase, I went for the free consultation and the person that did all the exams was really nice and I felt safe and confident enough to go ahead, I was recommended the PRK. I Put on a piece of paper how much I spent and would still spend on glasses for the next 10 years, and the surgery was for sure cheaper than that. My prescription was very high, both eyes, myopia and astigmatism Optilase provided all the information I needed, in clear manner. And they always made clear that there was nothing wrong with my eyes, it was my own choice to go for the surgery. The day of the surgery I was a bit nervous, who wouldn't? But then, from the reception to the surgeon, they were all so nice and welcoming. Hernandez performed the procedure, lovely surgeon, again all information was provided the way it should. I was instructed in what I should and should not do. The actual procedure took less than 15min, I felt nothing, no discomfort or anything. The whole process is very well done by the team, if I remember well around 3 people supporting the surgery plus one other girl providing pos surgery instructions. Right after the procedure I could already see much better than before without glasses! I couldn't believe it, I cried, thanked everyone and left the clinic knowing that I made the best choice. The recovery for PRK is a bit longer, I stayed for 2 full days no phones, or any screens. In the dark. If you have a little one, I would recommend to have someone minding them, as you are very limited in what you can do for the day of and day after surgery. It is hard to open the eyes, the second day after surgery was the toughest, I thought all went wrong as the vision got worst, but again I was advised it could happen. Note that this was my experience and could be different for other people. The 3rd day I felt nothing and could see much better already. Light sensitivity was very high, and still, 6 days after surgery, but nothing that a sun glasses would not help. My vision still blurred, but I need no glasses to see, my eyes feel dry sometimes, but the eye drops provided helps with it and and am very happy with the results already, even knowing it takes a bit longer to fully recover the vision. I'm back to work (screen at 200% to make sure I dont force my eyes too much) and I have had no headaches or anything, which I would have all the time looking at screens for most of my day. I cannot recommend Optilase enough, they are amazing! If you want to do something for your self and want a place you can trust, go for it, choose Optilase. Thanks to the whole team for one of the best things I did for my self!

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