Laser Eye Surgery: Private vs NHS

19 July 2022

By Author: Alex J Shortt

Medically reviewed on 11-June-2024

If your eyesight has recently deteriorated and you’ve started considering laser eye surgery, you might be feeling a little perplexed.

Perhaps you’ve heard rumblings. Can you get free eye laser surgery on NHS? Or maybe you’ve been told that you’ll have to go private? We realise that the road to laser eye surgery can be fraught with confusion and worry – and we understand it is unsettling when you don’t know how to proceed.

At Optegra, we’re here to help. Read on as we explain whether it is possible to get laser eye surgery through the NHS – and break down the pros and cons of private and public laser eye surgery.


Is Laser Eye Surgery Available on the NHS? 

First things first: is it possible to get laser eye surgery through the NHS?

Generally, you will only be eligible to receive laser eye surgery through the NHS in exceptional circumstances for example if you have a physical impairment that means that you are unable to wear glasses or contact lenses

There are many reasons to choose a private, world-class provider with renowned surgeons, like Optegra when opting for laser eye surgery. One of the biggest reasons is the possibility of advanced laser eye treatments not available on the NHS. There are also options such as Presbyond, which can correct vision for those over 40 who may not be ideal candidates for treatments like LASIK or LASEK.

Which conditions can be treated on the NHS?

In rare circumstances, the NHS may approve laser eye surgery in cases where a patient’s overall quality of life would seriously improve with treatment. Examples of this include patients who would struggle to put on or remove contact lenses or glasses without assistance – such as sufferers of Parkinson’s, quadriplegia, or tetraplegia

Remember that in most cases, laser eye surgery is typically only available privately.


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    What Type of Eye Conditions Cannot Be Treated by Laser Eye Surgery on the NHS?

    The vast majority of patients wanting laser eye surgery for vision correction will not be eligible for free treatment.

    The NHS does not approve laser eye surgery for conditions including:

    The NHS does not offer laser eye surgery for cases based on mental health grounds.

    I’m not eligible to receive laser eye surgery through the NHS – what are my options?

    If you’re ready for laser eye surgery but aren’t eligible for NHS treatment, there’s no need to worry.

    Most patients go private – in many cases, private clinics can offer facilities and services that NHS practices cannot match.

    Optegra is top-rated on Doctify and Trustpilot and has several  dedicated eye hospitals nationwide. You can book a free virtual consultation, during which our experts can advise you in minutes on your suitability for laser eye surgery.

    Some of our nationwide locations include:







    While there are many laser eye surgery providers, there are many reasons why people who do their research choose Optegra for their vision correction.

    For those suffering from conditions like cataracts, Optegra also offers first-class cataract surgery paid for by the NHS—all you need is a referral to become an NHS patient.

    What Are the Advantages of Private Laser Eye Surgery? 

    Opting to undergo laser eye surgery at a private practice does offer several benefits over NHS treatment. These include:

    • World-class facilities: When you choose Optegra, your laser eye surgery will be performed at a specialist eye hospital – boasting the latest technology and state-of-the-art facilities.
    • Tailored treatment: At Optegra, we understand that every patient is unique and always endeavour to provide a solution that suits you. We offer laser eye surgery via LASIK, LASEK, and ReLEx SMILE. An expert consultant will talk you through the options, make sure you’re comfortable, and support you every step of the way.
    • Comprehensive aftercare: While the NHS’s resources are extremely stretched, Optegra can offer comprehensive aftercare to all its patients. When treatment is complete, you can relax in our recovery lounge until you’re ready to return home. Our service does not stop there: we will also schedule a follow-up exam to ensure that you are not experiencing any complications from surgery.
    • One surgeon, start to finish: At Optegra, we ensure that patients see the same ophthalmic surgeon from their first appointment through aftercare. This helps guarantee the highest degree of customer satisfaction and ensures that you’re treated by someone who fully understands your needs.


    Arrange Your Free Consultation Today! 

    If you’re considering laser eye surgery, Optegra will be able to help determine your suitability. Arrange a free consultation with us to learn more.

    Alex Shortt Headshot

    By Author: Alex J Shortt

    Mr Shortt is a leading ophthalmic surgeon and an expert in the fields of cornea, cataract and refractive surgery.

    Medically Reviewed Date: 11th June 2024


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