I’m interested in having my sight improved by laser eye surgery, and I’m wondering if this is something I can get done free of charge on the NHS. Some people say that I can, while others have said that I need to meet certain requirements first. Please can you let me know what these requirements could possibly be?

Laser eye surgery intended to correct standard refractive conditions such as long- or short-sightedness or astigmatism is not available free-of-charge on the NHS.

However, patients with more serious eye conditions, such as diabetic retinopathy or wet macular degeneration which could potentially lead to loss of vision or total blindness, can obtain free NHS laser eye surgery to treat these conditions. Unlike the corneal surgery involved with standard refractive laser eye surgery procedures, the eye surgeon treating diabetic retinopathy or wet macular degeneration will target blood vessels on the outer part of the retina. The aim is to prevent them from leaking fluid that is harmful to the retina and therefore to the patient’s sight.

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