Ophthalmology belongs to the category of medical services that Greece can offer through medical tourism with great success. This is mainly due to modern medical equipment, advanced surgical techniques and well-trained doctors combined with the great tourist interest.
In recent years, the concept of medical tourism has become increasingly relevant. It is no coincidence that many countries around the world pay particular attention to the creation and development of modern and effective medical tourism services. The reason has to do with the vital advantages – benefits that concern both the patients themselves and the countries that receive the “health travelers”
• The benefits for the patient when he chooses to travel to receive a specific medical service mainly concern: the cost of the service, the quality of the service and overall health care, the waiting time in his country of origin for the provision of a similar service and finally the opportunity to combine medical care with entertainment/travel.
• The benefits for countries that accept & “health travelers” are mainly financial. The economic activity developed worldwide by the most popular countries supporting the institution of medical tourism is worth mentioning. According to the Medical Tourism Association, approximately 14 million people in the world travel to other countries in search of medical care annually, and the global market size from this activity is worth 50 – 70 billion dollars.
In particular, regarding Ophthalmology, this belongs to the category of medical services that our country can offer through medical tourism with great success. This
is mainly due to modern medical equipment and advanced surgical techniques that have contributed to the fact that approximately 99% of eye surgeries are painlessand short one-day procedures that do not require hospitalization and an overnight stay in a clinic. They can therefore be combined with a few days of recovery at
tourist resorts in our country.
The hundreds of ophthalmological patients who daily undergo treatments for their eyes, can be a pole of attraction for medical tourism in Greece for operations such as: correction of refractive errors (myopia – hypermetropia – astigmatism) with laser, cataract – eyelid – eye socket surgery, etc. a. In addition, the foreign patient can continue his treatments for macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy with intravitreal injections outside his home country, thus having the opportunity to enjoy his holidays at the same time.
It is important to mention that in terms of infrastructure in Greece, in recent years the creation of modern private Day Care Units in Ophthalmology with high standards of organization and operation and with specialized medical and nursing staff, mainly in the big cities but also in smaller destinations is an important factor which essentially contributes to the development of medical tourism. The competitive advantages of Greece in the medical tourism market are many, including the great tourist interest, the many and well-trained doctors, the notable private health units, the competitive prices compared to many foreign countries, the developed hotel infrastructure and finally the very good climate, the Greek cuisine and hospitality.
Thus, the promotion of medical tourism in Greece could be the key for our country to win in the tripartite security-health-tourism. In this spirit, the Greek Ministry of Tourism announced last March that it is designing, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), a new legal framework that will set the conditions for the development of health and wellness tourism that will focus on the quality of care and patient safety. The Greek economy and local communities, according to the research and policy institute diaNEosis, can benefit significantly from the development of medical tourism. For example, attracting an additional 1 million elderly tourists who will spend approximately 1.5 billion EUR can boost GDP by EUR 3.7 billion and create 60,000 new jobs.
So the future of Greece from medical tourism can be bright. In the success of this purpose, Ophthalmology has an important share. The gathering of specialized ophthalmologists with extensive experience in high-precision technologies with the existence & operation of a modern and certified application framework successfully support the project for the promotion of medical tourism in Greece.