Professional indemnity (PI) cover for ophthalmic surgeons who perform corrective laser eye surgery has risen by as much as 182% as a result of increased claims.

The Medical Defence Union (MDU) provides PI cover for more than half of the UK's medical practitioners. An MDU spokesperson said that the membership fees of those surgeons who performed corrective laser eye surgery had risen from £6,550 in 2002 to £18,500 this year as a result of a "significant" increase in the number of claims.

Zurich underwrites PI insurance for the MDU.

A recent report by the Consumers' Association found that the 100,000 people who undergo corrective laser surgery in the UK each year are not being properly informed of the risks.

Side-effects can include dry eyes, night time "starbursts" and reduced contrast sensitivity. In severe cases, complications can cause a condition that causes fluid pressure on the eye and can require a corneal transplant.