Am I suitable for laser eye surgery?
To be eligible for laser vision correction, you need to be over the age of 18 and have a stable spectacle prescription for 12 months or more.
- Short-sightedness (Myopia) – as a general guideline we can treat from about -0.50 dioptres up to approximately -10.00 dioptres.
- Long-sightedness (Hyperopia) – as a general guideline, we can treat from +0.50 dioptres up to approximately +4.00 dioptres
- Astigmatism correction can also be performed – as a general guideline we can treat from 0.50 dioptres up to approximately 6.00 dioptres.
The ranges of refractive error indicated above are general guidelines only and treatments may be limited by the thickness and shape of your cornea. To determine your eligibility we offer free, no obligation assessments with an experienced refractive surgery consultant (qualified Orthoptist and laser technician).You may book an appointment online or send us an email if you cannot find a suitable time amongst those offered on our website and we will endeavour to accommodate your requests.
Does it hurt?
Laser corrective surgery is a quick and painless procedure. Prior to your treatment, anaesthetic eye drops will be instilled to numb the surface of the eye. The eyelids will be gently held open to prevent you from blinking.
Those undergoing LASIK will experience a feeling of pressure on the eye whilst the corneal flap is being created, but this sensation is short-lived as the laser only takes about 20 seconds to complete the treatment. Following the treatment, it is quite common to feel a gritty sensation and watering as the anaesthetic wears off. This post-operative discomfort generally lasts only a few hours.
For those who are undergoing PRK or TransPRK there is generally no discomfort during the treatment. TransPRK is a “no touch” procedure as the laser is used to remove the surface layer as well as perform the refractive ablation. However, as the anaesthetic wears off, the eye can become sore and irritated and this discomfort can persist for the first day or two. Your doctor will provide you with pain relieving medications and other strategies to manage post-operative discomfort. The level of discomfort varies from patient to patient and even between the right and left eyes.
What happens if my eye moves during the treatment?
To minimize eye movements, the laser will project a flashing green (or red) light which we will ask you to stare at during the procedure. Any small involuntary movements of the eye will be compensated for by the laser’s tracking system.
Our Schwind Excimer laser has one of the most sophisticated eye tracking capabilities available, detecting the position of your eye 1050 times per second to ensure perfect positioning of the laser beam. The AMARIS laser is capable of tracking eye movements in all six dimensions. The laser also incorporates artificial intelligence software that predicts involuntary eye movements based on observed patterns and moves the laser delivery system to the correct position in anticipation of the eyes next movement to minimise treatment latency. This technology allows the laser to compensate for involuntary eye movements in any direction. Larger eye movements will cause the laser to pause the treatment which is then resumed as soon as the eye position is restored.
Will I still need glasses following my treatment?
The aim of LASIK or PRK is to remove your need for your glasses and for the vast majority of patients, this outcome is achieved. Very few people will continue to need to wear glasses for distance vision following treatment. For those who are in their mid-forties or older, reading glasses will usually be required following laser vision correction for reading and other near tasks. This need results from the ageing of the natural lens and is referred to as Presbyopia. To minimise glasses dependence, you may consider the option of monovision in which one eye is deliberately left slightly short-sighted. If appropriate to your circumstances, this will be discussed with you at your assessment. We will often recommend a trial with contact lenses with your optometrist to simulate the outcome of the surgery.
Visual outcomes following both procedures are excellent. The main benefit of LASIK is a quicker recovery time, whereas PRK can take longer to achieve excellent vision. However, TransPRK appeals to many as it is a very quick and well tolerated “no touch” procedure. LASIK is generally preferred for hyperopic treatments and for myopic corrections of over 4.00 dioptres. However, LASIK is not suitable for all patients. We will discuss the relative merits (and risks) of both procedures for your particular prescription.
How long will it take to recover?
Visual recovery following LASIK is quite rapid, with most patients seeing well the day following treatment. For those undergoing PRK, most will require one week for the vision to improve. The visual recovery will be a little slower compared to LASIK, generally taking about 3-4 weeks to stabilise. ICL, RLE and Cataract surgeries also have a rapid recovery, patients are generally seeing well within a few days.
How much does it cost?
Treatment costs will be discussed following the initial consultation with the refractive surgeon as costs will vary according to your spectacle prescription and treatment choice. In most cases, no Medicare rebates are available for refractive surgery. Some Health insurers offer policies that include rebates for laser vision correction although most do not. Medicare and health fund rebates are available for cataract surgery and some therapeutic laser procedures (PTK).