Laser Eye Surgery is the most common elective medical procedure for those seeking to correct myopia (near-sightedness), hyperopia (far-sightedness) or astigmatism (uneven eye curvature).
The procedure takes about 10 minutes, per eye. The actual time the laser is operational is only 10-40 seconds! The exact amount of time will depend on your prescription and on the correction that is required. You then need to stay for observation for about an hour before you can go home to rest.
From initial consultation through to surgery day can take as little as 3 weeks. You will then continue to have regular check-ups for up to 12 months to ensure your recovery is optimal.
No, laser vision correction isn’t painful during or after the procedure. Before the procedure, your ophthalmologist will apply anaesthetic drops to your eyes so you can’t feel any discomfort.
Once the anaesthetic has worn off, your eyes might feel a bit gritty or watery for a couple of hours, but you shouldn’t be in any pain.
You will be given eye drops to help your eyes heal and to prevent any infection.
Your eyes might continue to feel dry for a month or so after the procedure and you can use lubricant eyedrops to feel more comfortable.
ASLA-PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) is a type of laser eye surgery used for mild to moderate vision correction. It involves removing part of the surface layer of the eye before applying the laser directly to the cornea for reshaping.
LASIK (laser assisted in situ keratomileusis) is the most common type of laser eye surgery performed. Also referred to as Bladeless LASIK. It involves the use of two lasers, the first to create a small flap in the cornea and the second to reshape the cornea.
SMILE (small incision lenticule extraction) is the latest advance in laser eye surgery, taking laser eye surgery to a whole new level with keyhole surgery. It is minimally invasive with one laser used to cut a precise disc of tissue which is removed through a tiny laser incision.
ICL (implantable contact lens) rather than reshaping the eye with a laser a small lens is placed inside the eye. This is reversible and does not weaken the eye.
- If you would like laser vision correction, you should be at least 18 years old.
- Your refractive error, or glasses’ / Contact Lens prescription, must be stable, usually for 12 months.
- We will preclude certain medical conditions, and we’ll assess the shape and thickness of your corneas to determine if you are a suitable candidate for laser eye surgery.
- We cannot offer you laser eye surgery if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- The easiest way to know if you are suitable is to book an in-person assessment with us.
The cost of your laser eye surgery will depend on various factors such as the exact procedure and the technology that we use. Remember that Laser eye surgery is permanent, and you will save money on new glasses and contact lenses as well as all the appointments associated with replacing these items.
As a general rule of thumb in Australia, Eye Laser Surgery costs from $2,250 to $6,000 per eye with PRK being the most economical technology and SMILE and ICL procedures being the largest investment.
Be mindful when comparing prices to check:
- Initial consultation & follow-up appointment fees
- Post-op medication costs
- How often the technology and software is updated
- How many technologies the clinic offers to ensure you get a good range of options
- Aftercare and post-procedure access to your surgeon in emergencies
You can’t claim a Medicare benefit for laser eye surgery unless you need the surgery for certain eye diseases. If your eyes are healthy and you want laser eye surgery to improve your vision, it is classed as cosmetic. However, there are selected private health funds who will cover the entire or part of the laser surgery, it is worthwhile checking your policy or calling your health insurance providers to see if you are entitled to any rebate.
Laser eye surgery is used to reshape the cornea, the eye’s outermost lens, which is responsible for bending and focusing light within the eye to help create the images we see. The procedure applies a strong beam of light to correct the cornea’s focusing power.
Laser eye surgery has been used since the 1990s and is well-recognised for its ability to decrease or completely eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses.
Recent technological advances with laser eye surgery further enable the laser to reshape the cornea without disturbing the eye’s surface.
Once you have been assessed we will agree on a date for your procedure. We understand that any medical procedure can be stressful, which is why all our clinicians are trained to make you feel as comfortable as possible.
You can expect to be at the clinic for under two hours and the operation usually takes no longer than 10 minutes for each eye, depending on your prescription and the correction required.
Because LASIK surgery is 100% blade-free, the good news is that there are no stitches, bandages or general anaesthetic required. In place of general anaesthetic eye-drops will be applied to numb the area and prevent any discomfort. If you are a nervous patient, you will also be offered medication to help you remain calm and relaxed. All LASIK surgery takes place with the patient awake and in a reclined position.
Once you are lying down and comfortable the surgeon will use an instrument called a lid speculum to keep your eyes open during the procedure and prevent blinking. He will then position the laser equipment and begin the painless procedure, creating an extremely thin corneal flap. All you need do is focus on a target light when asked. You may well feel light pressure in your eye but this is completely normal. If you are having both eyes treated the whole procedure will usually be over within 20 minutes.
Provided the doctor is happy, you will be allowed to go home within an hour or so, but you must not drive on the day, so please remember to arrange a lift.
It is normal to experience post-operative blurred vision. It will usually settle down within a few days but in certain cases it can take several weeks. You should avoid strenuous exercise for at least a week and allow your eyes to rest as much as possible over the first few days to give them time to recuperate from the procedure. You can return to work the next day but it is best to book a few days leave.
No, you will be awake during Lasik eye surgery, but you will be lying down. The procedure is quick and painless and our friendly, caring staff at all clinics will look after you and put you at ease. You will not need any stitches or bandages and you won’t need a general anaesthetic. If you are a nervous patient, we can offer you medication to help you remain calm and relaxed.
At your free assessment, you will be seen by one of our specialists who will discuss the procedure and outline both its benefits and any potential risks involved. They will then make a detailed examination of your eyes. This will include evaluating the thickness and shape of your corneas, the size of your pupils and your general eye health. You will also have the surface curvature of your corneas concisely mapped using a non-invasive scanner known as a corneal topographer. This mapping is crucial because everyone’s eye structure is as unique as a fingerprint and the topographer provides extremely detailed information, to facilitate precise calibration of the surgical laser.
In some cases, additional eye mapping is conducted via wavefront analysis. This is also a valuable tool in revealing subtle disorders of the cornea or lens that may be missed using other methods. Wavefront technology is set to replace the phoropter which is the device containing a wide variety of interchangeable lenses that you will have experienced at your local optician. The limitation of this method is that it relies entirely on subjective responses from the patient, whereas wavefront analysis is completely objective, automatically tracking the journey of light through the eye.
Your overall health will be assessed by the doctor to make sure you can cope adequately with surgery. He will also make a baseline evaluation of your vision. You will need to inform him of any medication you are taking and your allergies, if any.
If you currently wear soft, rigid gas-permeable (RGP) or hard lenses, the doctor will ask that you switch to glasses several weeks prior to your assessment – the exact period is determined by the type of lens you use. Contact lenses can significantly alter the shape of your corneas, so it is imperative that you follow the advice to prevent complications and poor surgical outcomes.
Once a thorough examination is done, the specialist will recommend the best procedure options for your situation and answer any questions you may have about the procedure.
Be prepared for your vision to be blurred for a few hours after the visit if dilating eye drops have been given. You may not be able to drive during this time.
Astigmatism is a condition where the eye’s cornea or lens isn’t completely round.
Some symptoms you may have:
Blurry vision at all distances
Distorted vision at all distances
Difficulty seeing at night
Treatment options for Astigmatism:
Myopia is when people see near objects more clearly, but distant objects are blurry. It occurs when light rays entering the eye are focused in front of the retina instead of directly on it. Myopia is usually a result of the curvature (power) of the cornea being too strong or the length of the eyeball being too long.
Myopia is often inherited; it usually starts in childhood and typically stabilizes in the late teens or early adulthood.
Some symptoms you may have:
- Severe Myopia
- Severe Hyperopia
- Severe Astigmatism
- High prescription range
- Thin corneas
Treatment options for Myopia:
Hyperopia, or far-sightedness, is a common vision problem, affecting about one in four people.
Hyperopia means you can see distant objects very well but have difficulty seeing objects that are up close.
Some symptoms you may have:
- Blurriness of close objects
- Aching around the eyes
- Headaches after reading
Treatment options for Hyperopia:
You should be able to have a bath or take a shower within 24 hours of your laser eye surgery, but should not let water run directly into your eyes for at least one week. You should also avoid directly applying a towel to your eyes to minimise pressure on your corneal flap during this time.
We advise that no make-up is worn 24hrs before, and 1- 2 weeks post-op, depending on your recovery. Makeup tools are known to build up certain harmful bacterias, and so it may be appropriate to purchase new brushes and products for use after your treatment.
When attending your initial consultation, it’s recommended to have minimal eye makeup around your eyes. That includes mascara, eyeliner, and eyeshadow. A series of tests will be carried out on your eyes and any residue from makeup can affect the results.
No makeup, including foundations, powders, blusher, mascara, eyeliner, or eyeshadow should be worn on the day of your treatment.
We advise that eye make-up should not be worn for a minimum of 24 hours before surgery.
In addition, you should not wear any perfumes/aftershaves and be clean from any lotions or moisturisers.
If you have eyelash extensions, they’ll have to be removed before your surgery and shouldn’t be replaced until at least two months following the procedure.
How quickly you can return to exercise depends on the type of surgery you have had as well as how strenuous the sport is. Whilst you can return to light yoga or pilates after a week, it may be 4 weeks before you can return to weight-based personal training and 8+ weeks before swimming or team sports is wise. Your surgeon will advise you on the exact restrictions in your consultations.