Free eye surgery in Holland for Irish patients

In the Republic of Ireland, there are long waiting lists for cataract surgery at public hospitals. Many people have been referred by their GP to an ophthalmologist at the local hospital. In several places waiting lists are up to two years and in some rural areas it is up to three.

In Ireland, under the EU Cross Border Healthcare Directive the Health Services Executive (HSE) reimburses the procedure and hospital stay after the treatment.

Irish Eyes, a medical travel subsidiary of approved charity Angels Wings Foundation, now offers to fund the treatment in Holland at one of Eyescan’s eyecare clinics. It has reached an agreement with Eyescan to take care of all the applicants from Ireland who have opted for surgery in Holland. Eyescan is one of the largest chains of specialised clinics in Holland with high patient ratings and low rates of complication.

Irish Eyes arranges cataract surgery for Irish citizens ‘in a matter of weeks’ at a clinic near to Schiphol airport in Amsterdam. It pays all the clinic fees and recovers the money from the HSE. Patients need a referral letter from their doctor that they have been referred to an ophthalmologist and are fit to undergo routine surgery. They also need a visit to an approved local optometrist to do an initial assessment, free to medical cardholders.

The patient must book and pay for their flight to Amsterdam and cover the cost of the bus from the airport to the clinic. If the patient wants to take a travelling companion they also have to pay for the flight and bus, plus pay an additional €60 for their accommodation for two nights. The Angels Wings Foundation covers the cost of breakfast for the patient and companion plus patient accommodation at the clinic. The patient pays for all other food, beverages and travelling costs.

Irish Eyes is a voluntary agency run by an approved charity, so charges no fees. To protect patients all applications are processed via solicitors Joseph Nolan in County Tipperary, and Irish Eyes pays the processing fee.