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Laser Photorefractive Keratectomy

Volume 227: debated on Wednesday 23 June 1993

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people have been treated in the NHS for (a) myopia and (b) other eyesight disorders by laser photorefractive keratectomy; and what information she has on the extent of the use of this treatment in the private sector.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on her assessment of laser photorefractive keratectomy as a treatment to correct myopia; and what plans she has to make it available free of charge to patients at NHS hospitals.

Different types of laser are now being used in the national health service for the treatment of various eye conditions, including glaucoma. The use of photorefractive keratectomy, or excimer, lasers for treating myopia—short-sightedness—is still subject to research. An evaluation study is currently under way and is not expected to report before 1994. The evaluation is important, particularly as most people who are short-sighted and seek laser treatment do not have an eye disease and wish only to avoid wearing spectacles or contact lenses.The form of treatment of myopia is, therefore, currently only available to NHS patients as part of ongoing research.