Want the freedom to see without glasses or contact lenses?
Laser Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis, better known as LASIK eye surgery, has been a popular refractive surgery technique for the last couple of decades. Built on the concept of reshaping the transparent front surface of the eye, the cornea, LASIK can give you freedom from glasses and contact lenses needed to offset refractive errors. Here at Eye Laser Specialists we have been successfully performing LASIK for the Melbourne residents who trust us with their eyesight correction.
What is “refractive error”?
Refractive error is the term describing the mismatch of focusing power of the eyeball to its length, meaning that light coming through the eye (in a process known as refraction) either focuses on a point before or after the retina at the back of the eye. In the case of astigmatism, light refracted through the eye falls on two different points at the back of the eye. If light does not focus to a point perfectly onto the retina, the brain interprets this as blurred vision. The term “refractive error” covers myopia (short-sightedness), hyperopia (long-sightedness), astigmatism (irregular cornea) and presbyopia (the age-related inability of the eyes to focus at near).
How does LASIK work?
LASIK eye surgery is a two-step procedure. At Eye Laser Specialists we use lasers for both steps, which improves the accuracy and reliability of the surgery when compared to another variation of LASIK which uses a manual bladed instrument for the first stage.
General anaesthetic is not required for this procedure but during the procedure the eye will be anaesthetised with topical eye drops and a mild sedative can be offered for additional comfort.
A femtosecond laser is used to create a thin flap of corneal tissue, taking just 15 seconds. The flap is lifted to allow access to the underlying tissue for the second laser. An excimer laser is then applied to the cornea in a process known as photoablation – the laser removes selected areas of tissue to reshape the cornea such that light refracting through this tissue will focus perfectly on the retina and form a clear image. Once the excimer laser step is complete, the flap is repositioned. The entire process takes about 10 minutes for both eyes.
Creating the flap
A flap is created with a
hightly precise femtosecond laser.
Relocationg the patient
The patient is moved from the
femtosecond laser to
the MEL90 excimer laser.
Folding back the flap
The flap is gently folded back
exposing the inner corneal tissue
to be treated.
Correcting the error
The MEL90 excimer laser reshapes
the corneal tissue correcting
the refractive error.
Repositioning the flap
The flap is returned to its original
position, protecting the eye like
a natural bandage.
How do I know if I’m suitable for LASIK?
Refractive surgery technology has come a long way with the development of tools and computer systems that provide us with greater accuracy and confidence while reducing post-operative complications. Despite this, not all patients are suitable candidates for LASIK. In most cases suitability depends on the present refractive error and the amount of corneal tissue available for reshaping – the greater the prescription correction, the more tissue needs to be removed.
As a general rule of thumb, LASIK can correct prescriptions of:
● Myopia up to -10.00 dioptres
● Hyperopia up to +5.00 dioptres
● Astigmatism up to -5.00 dioptres
For patients who fall outside of these ranges, other refractive surgery options may still be available such as PRK, SMILE®, or ICL procedures.
Some patients, despite having a prescription within the treatable range of LASIK, will still not be suitable for refractive surgery. These are usually patients with a corneal condition, such as keratoconus or corneal scarring, that may be exacerbated during the surgery. Other patients who may be best to avoid LASIK are those whose poor vision is due to an underlying eye disease rather than refractive error. Such diseases include eye cataract, macular degeneration, and lazy eye.
20/20 VISION CASE STUDY: LASIK
Mr. X is a 35-year-old bricklayer, a keen surfer and has been wearing glasses for his Hyperopia (long-sightedness) since he was 8 years old. Mr. X wears corrective contact lenses on the weekends and glasses most days due to his dirty, gritty, work environment on building sites. His correction has been stable for the past 5 years.
Mr. X was motivated to have surgery after a piece of grit was caught under a contact lens in his right eye one day when he was wearing his lenses at work and now is intolerant of wearing a contact lens in this eye. He is also keen to be able to surf and go to the gym without the encumbrance of glasses.
His correction in the right eye is Hyperopia (long-sightedness) and astigmatism +2.75/-3.00 x 25 degrees. The left eye is +2.25/-1.75 x 60 degrees.
After a complete ocular health check the results of the assessments performed were discussed with Mr. X in detail by Dr A, suggesting LASIK surgery as the preferred option for the procedure.
LASIK is performed on both eyes later that afternoon. The next day, the vision was 20/20 or 6/6 in each eye and at 1 month was 6/4. For a week some mild symptoms of dry eye in the right eye were relieved with dry eye drops.
FAQ’s about LASIK
What if I only need reading glasses and my distance vision is fine?
All patients over the age of 45 will experience the natural age-related decline of near focus known as presbyopia and find they need a different correction for distance vision and near vision, or perhaps their distance vision remains perfect without spectacles and they only need glasses for reading and near tasks. There are LASIK options available for select patients, including arrangements such as monovision and laser blended vision (PRESBYOND). Over a short amount of time the brain learns to adapt around this different experience of vision and the final result is excellent for near, intermediate, and distance vision, without dependance on spectacles.
A comprehensive consultation with our team will best determine your suitability for LASIK eye surgery. Melbourne is home to many refractive surgeons but here at Eye Laser Specialists we pride ourselves on our expertise and personalised care, as well as our state-of-the-art technology.
What happens at the consultation?
During your consultation, one of our expert team members will begin with a review of your medical history and perform a thorough eye exam. We take images of your cornea to determine its shape, as well as measure corneal thickness and intraocular pressure.
Our tests will determine if you are a candidate for LASIK eye surgery, which depends on a number of factors including your refractive error, eye health, age and lifestyle.
Once our expert team member has examined your cornea and retina they will make a recommendation based on your specific situation and any risks involved.
If you are deemed suitable for LASIK eye surgery, our refractive counsellor will then discuss the procedure in detail, provide you with a quote and book your surgery date, or give you a time to return in the afternoon in the event of same day surgery.
Do you offer a payment plan?
Yes, we offer interest-free finance options to make LASIK vision correction accessible for everyone.
What if I blink during the laser procedure?
During the procedure an instrument known as a speculum will be used to gently hold the eyelids open. Some patients with narrower eyes describe the initial sensation as slightly uncomfortable but most find the feeling quickly normalises as the surgery proceeds and it no longer bothers them. Though you may continue to feel like you’re blinking, the speculum keeps the eyelids safely open.
What will I see during the procedure?
Your eyes remain open during the procedure and for the most part will be focused on a blinking target light to keep the eyes aligned when instructed. You may notice other bright lights as the surgery progresses but will not have a view of the actual surgical procedure being carried out on your eyes. The majority of patients are pleasantly surprised when they are informed the procedure is complete.
Is LASIK painful?
Due to the use of numbing eye drops throughout the procedure, LASIK is not considered to be painful. There may be a sensation of slight pressure as the flap is being created for 15 seconds. After the drops wear off, some grittiness or dryness post-operatively may be experienced.
What can I expect during the recovery period?
Once the LASIK surgery is completed, you will have a shield placed over the eye for protection. The usual rules post-surgery apply:
- Use the prescription drops as directed. This will usually involve steroid eye drops to control inflammation, as well as antibiotic drops to prevent infection.
- Avoid heavy lifting or strenuous activity.
- Avoid getting the eye wet, including in the shower, for a couple of days.
- Avoid rubbing your eye.
- Try to keep the eye area clean by avoiding environments that are dirty or dusty.
- Attend all post-operative review appointments as recommended by your surgeon. This is to ensure your eye is healing as expected.
Many patients can see clearly enough to return to work in a couple of days, though this may depend on the nature of the work. Following the LASIK procedure, most patients can usually drive the next day after the post-op visit.
Soon after undergoing LASIK you may have a gritty sensation in the eyes. Grittiness in the immediate post-op period is very normal and common and can be addressed with the regular use of preservative-free lubricating eye drops; it usually resolves overnight.
What are the risks of the LASIK procedure?
All surgery comes with potential risks and complications. Eye Laser Specialists will discuss these with you in depth at the time of your consultation once a decision has been made about the ideal procedure that best suits your eyes.
How much does LASIK eye surgery in Melbourne cost?
LASIK eye surgery in Melbourne will vary in cost depending on a number of factors. As LASIK may not necessarily be the most suitable refractive surgery technique for you, it is best to attend a consultation with our ophthalmologist or a preliminary examination with our optometrist, after which a more accurate quote can be provided based on which surgical procedure is advised.
Why should I choose Eye Laser Specialists for my LASIK procedure?
LASIK is an excellent refractive surgery technique due to its accuracy, rapid recovery time, high success rate, and minimal side-effects for those wishing to rid themselves of glasses and contact lenses.
The team at Eye Laser Specialists use the very latest femtosecond laser technology, and have been successfully performing LASIK in Melbourne for a number of years, providing its residents with high quality eye care. Though Melbourne may have many LASIK eye surgery clinics, call at 1 300 297 583 to book a consultation with Eye Laser Specialists today and see the difference.
Do I need to return to my Optometrist after having eye laser surgery?
Yes, your Optometrist is an essential part of managing your ongoing eye-care needs. Optometrists are very capable in managing your eyes during and after the post-operative period. It is very important to maintain contact with your Optometrist for ongoing eye-health check ups even after having eye laser surgery.
Disclaimer: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.