Today, there are three types of laser vision correction options. These include LASIK, ASLA and the latest procedure, SMILE. If you'd like to find out what is right for you, book an initial consultation with one of our surgeons. Learn more.
There are a number of different surgical options for correcting vision. But, you won't know which one is right for you until your initial consultation. So the cost varies depending on which procedure is recommended for you. Find out more about cost.
If you are long-sighted, near-sighted, or if you have astigmatism, there is most likely a laser vision correction solution for you. Find out more.
When laser eye surgery first came to Australia in 1991, our surgeons were amongst the first to perform the procedure. Today, they continue to pave the way with the very latest in technology and techniques.
Vision Eye Institute laser clinics are located across the Eastern seaboard of Australia in cities such as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Townsville. Find your nearest clinic.
As well as LASIK , ASLA and SMILE , there are other options for vision correction. Other procedures.
Although there are three different ‘forms’ of the procedure – LASIK, ASLA and SMILE (and many different variations to those three names), the basic premise is the same and has been so for many millions of happy people.
A vision correction procedure corrects a ‘refractive error’. There are three:
If you suffer from what is called a ‘refractive error’, you’ll need either glasses or contact lenses to see properly. However, many people find this annoying – they get tired of stumbling to the bathroom in the middle of the night or not being able to see well at the beach. So, they seek out a surgical alternative.
The reason for their visual error – myopia, hyperopia and possibly astigmatism – is that their eyeballs are not the correct shape – therefore, the light that enters the eye doesn’t focus on the retina at the back of the eye in the exact spot needed to produce a well focussed image. People with a normal shaped eye are likely to achieve 20/20 vision (this is sometimes called 6/6 vision) without the need of any assistance.
Laser eye surgery involves reshaping the cornea (the clear window on the front of the eye) in order to correct a refractive error.
The three basic types are:
SMILE (Also known as SMILE Laser). This most recent technology and technique involves:
Laser eye surgery was first performed in Australia in 1991. The first procedure to use a laser to reshape the cornea – photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) – required applying the laser directly to the surface of the cornea. This procedure is still an option for patients today; the modern version is called ASLA, or surface ablation and is suitable for patients with thin or slightly irregular corneas.
In 1995 LASIK was introduced. This procedure involves creating a hinged ‘flap’ from the top layer of the cornea. The flap is folded back allowing access to the stromal layer. The excimer laser is then used to reshape the stroma. The flap is folded back into place and heals naturally.
This LASIK flap was initially created using a tiny blade called a Microkeratome. The next advance in laser eye surgery happened in the early 2000s when the FDA approved a laser which could create the corneal flap. This second type of laser (called a femtosecond laser) was considered an exciting step because the computer-guided laser is extremely precise, bringing a greater level of safety.
This is the most asked question - for obvious reasons. There are rumours that can be off-putting, but you should know that many millions of people have had a vision correction procedure and are completely happy with the result.
For people with moderate to high degrees of short-sightedness, 98% can expect to achieve 20/20 vision or better after an initial treatment. 2% of patients may require enhancement procedures to optimise their results but even these people are expected to have vision that’s good enough to go about a daily routine without glasses or contacts.
Of course, no surgical procedure is without risk.
People also ask – ‘can I go blind?’ This is highly unlikely, as it would take a series of rare and unusual circumstances.
There are other minor side effects, including dry eye – this is mainly temporary and can be treated.
It’s also worth knowing that other vision correction methods aren’t without their risks – infection rates for people who wear contact lenses are higher than following a procedure such as LASIK, according to a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology.
One of the myths is that the laser produces a ‘burning smell’ when working on the cornea.
Rest assured, rather than burning or cutting, the high-energy excimer laser disrupts the molecular bonds in the corneal tissue,
literally disintegrating specific areas in order to create the ideal shape for perfect vision. So it may smell like burning, but it’s actually the laser splitting apart molecules of collagen.
Fashions come and go. Right now, glasses are considered fashionable to the point where some people who don’t need any vision correction wear them with clear glass.
There is also the fact that, as people reach their mid 40s or early 50s, their reading vision becomes more and more blurry. Called presbyopia, eventually this condition will progress to the point where everyone will need to buy a pair of glasses to read.
Not everyone is right for a laser eye surgery procedure (for example, if you’re severely myopic you may be recommended an implantable contact lens). However, here are the basic requirements:
Of course, you can only be sure once you’ve been properly assessed.
People are understandably nervous before having LASIK or any type of eye surgery, but without fail they will express some degree of surprise at how quick and relatively unobtrusive the procedure is. Questions include:
Immediately after, you’ll be taken home by your nominated carer (you can’t drive). You’ll be told that you should rest with your eyes gently closed as much as possible. The day after having LASIK, you’ll have a follow up appointment with your surgeon, where the outcome will be assessed (most people can drive legally the day following). Just remember to continue to take your drops as required. After ASLA, you may need a few follow-ups and you’ll need to take more time off to recover. About a month afterwards, you can start playing sports, including swimming.
Yes - the change of corneal shape is permanent. However, there are occasions when a ‘touch up’ is needed:
It is also important to note that at some stage in your life (around 45 to 50) you’ll develop what’s called presbyopia and need reading glasses – this is normal and expected for everyone.
Any elective surgical procedure will have its detractors. However, most people, including expert professional bodies, disagree that it is controversial. Most agree that laser eye surgery has been proven to be highly accurate with minimal risks and side-effects.
“It’s so expensive!” Actually, it’s all relative – your sight is valuable, so why would you cut corners when it comes to a vision correction procedure? The cost of laser eye surgery incorporates a number of factors, including:
As it is an elective procedure, you cannot claim a Medicare benefit for laser vision correction. Some major health funds will offer a rebate, but you’ll need to check with your insurer. Vision Eye Institute and Medibank have joined forces to offer members with selected extras and packaged covers 15% off surgical fees. Learn more.
Vision Eye Institute works with GEM Visa to offer easy, interest-free financial terms, including 3, 6 and 12 month 0% interest free periods and flexible, as well as extended payment plans. Find out more here.
More than likely. Whether you wear glasses or contact lenses, there are inherent costs involved. Add these up over the years and you’re spending more money overall than having a surgical procedure. Imagine this:
Add to this easy payment plans and it all adds up to a good idea. So why not book your initial consultation now and be on your way to a life free of glasses or contact lenses.