FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQ

What can you expect from laser eye surgery?

Laser eye correction is safe and effective. Most people are extremely happy with their results and wish they had done it years ago.

However you should be aware that like any innovative surgery, it’s not always a textbook result. Even using the most up-to-date technology and lasers, we cannot guarantee everyone will walk away with perfect vision afterwards. Even though you’re unaided vision will have improved, you may notice it will not be as good as it is now when wearing glasses, and often one eye will have stronger vision that the other.

Healing time can also vary person to person, though in general recovery will only be 1 to 2 days.

And finally, while most people will be able to function without glasses, some with high prescriptions may need to wear glasses for certain occasions, such as driving at night.

Are you suitable for laser eye surgery?

Suitability for laser eye surgery is based on many factors. When you visit the Lions Laser Vision Centre for your first consultation, our highly trained staff will examine your eyes and overall health and your surgeon will discuss the results with you in detail.

People who are most satisfied with the results of laser correction have realistic expectations of the outcome and clearly understand the minimal potential risks and side effects.

Minimum requirements for laser eye surgery

  • Minimum age: 20 years
  • Stable vision (spectacle prescription) for at least 1 year
  • Absence of other eye diseases, especially those affecting the cornea
  • Not pregnant or breastfeeding

It is important to note that not everybody can have, or should have, laser eye correction.

You may not be suitable if your prescription measurements are out of the range that can be corrected, or if your corneas are too thin.

There could also be other issues with your eyes that may mean you should not go ahead with the treatment, such as: severe dry eye, glaucoma, or retinal problems. We will usually not perform refractive surgery if one eye is significantly amblyopic (lazy). If there is any sign of cataract then it is not sensible to have LASIK.

What is involved in having laser eye surgery treatment?

The laser treatment takes around 2 to 3 hours and is performed at the Lions Laser Vision Centre. You will have some oral sedation and analgesia and will need someone to drive you home after the treatment. It is also a good idea to have someone drive you back to the centre the next day.

The LASIK procedure itself takes about 20 minutes per eye and is performed with local anaesthetic eye drops. You will be lying comfortably on a bed during the procedure and the surgeon will talk you through each step. The anaesthetic drops stop you feeling the need to blink and your eyes will be held open so that you cannot blink. The laser part itself will take between 15 and 60 seconds. You will need to be able to lie still and keep your eye steady while looking at a target light for this part of the procedure. The laser will track your eye movements during the treatment which is why it is important to keep as still possible. The procedure is usually not painful but there are some unpleasant sensations, including some pulling and stretching of the eyelids, pressure, and very bright lights.

How long does it last?

After the procedure, it takes around 3 months or more for your vision to completely stabilise. However you’ll notice the most change within the first month.

After this time you should not see any change in your distance vision for a long time. The effect of the LASIK surgery does not wear off, but your eyes can continue to change with age.

If your eyes do change then it may mean that glasses, or another laser treatment, are necessary years down the track. This is less likely for older people and those with lower levels of nearsightedness.

Near vision usually starts to deteriorate in mid-to-late 40’s. When that starts it will be necessary to use glasses for near vision in some circumstances and the need for these will gradually increase as you get older.

Are there limits on what can be corrected?

Yes, there are. The limits for nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism can depend on many factors, especially the thickness of your cornea. This is something that can only be determined at your consultation.

How do I know if I am suitable for laser eye surgery?

To find out if you’re suitable for LASIK you’ll need to book in for a consultation. We will check your condition and look at the general health of your eyes. We will then discuss the procedure and what results you can expect. If you would like to check your suitability or if you have other questions please contact us on (08) 9381 0758.

Are the follow up consultations covered by the initial fees?

Your follow up visits are covered for the first month, but after this time visits with the Ophthalmologist or Optometrist will be charged.

If I require further treatment do I have to pay?

Any further surgery performed within the first year will incur no extra charge, but after twelve months fees do apply

What are the potential risks of laser eye surgery?

LASIK is a surgical procedure and as such has some associated risks and potential complications. You should be aware of these risks before going ahead with the treatment. The good news is, with improved technology, complications that can affect your vision are very uncommon.

Complications that may occur include:

  • Over correction and under correction
  • Complications creating the flap
  • Haloes and night glare
  • Flap slippage
  • Loss of best corrected vision
  • Epithelial in growth
  • Dry eyes
  • Diffuse lamellar keratitis (DLK)
  • Kerectasia

Our surgeons are all trained corneal specialists who have the expertise and experience to deal with any complications that may arise. These risks will be discussed with you in detail at your consultation.

Surgery FAQ

What can I do to prepare my eyes for surgery?

Research has shown that the use of ocular lubricants (artificial tears) before surgery improves the results of LASIK. You can start using lubricant drops at least one week prior to surgery at least 3 times per day. There are many different types but we have found that Cellufresh, Refresh or Systane work well in single dose containers (no preservative).

When booking for surgery you will be given a pre-operative instruction letter. If you have been told that dry eye is an issue for you then it can help to start taking an omega-3 fatty acid supplement (fish oil or flaxseed oil) at 2-3 capsules per day.

Why do contact lenses need to be left out before the surgery?

Contact lenses may alter the natural curvature of the cornea. To have accurate results it’s essential that lenses are left out prior to consultation and surgery.

How long does the surgery take?

The surgery itself takes approximately 20 minutes per eye but you will be here for about 2-3 hours in total.

What happens if I move my eye during the laser treatment?

Our state-of-the-art surgical laser incorporates an active infra red 6-dimensional eye tracking system. This highly sophisticated safety device tracks tiny eye movements and guides the laser to follow them. This makes sure that the laser treats the correct areas of your eye. The eye tracker incorporates advanced multi dimensional video tracking and reads the exact position of your eye hundreds of times per second. The eye tracker forces the laser to stop treatment if your eye moves outside the laser treatment range.

How long until the flap is secure?

The flap settles into place immediately after surgery and will not move unless there is contact.

Is laser eye surgery permanent?

Yes, LASIK permanently alters the shape and focus of your cornea. However from approximately 45 years onwards, people’s near vision begins to deteriorate. This is known as presbyopia and is a natural part of ageing as the muscles that change the shape of the human lens have difficulty doing so. If both eyes have been corrected for distance with laser vision correction then you will likely need reading glasses at some time in the future. Although laser eye surgery is permanent, even patients who have had a procedure cannot escape the eventual onset of age-related near vision loss.

Recovery FAQ

What should I do immediately after surgery?

Your eyes may be gritty and irritable and sensitive to light for several hours afterwards. They usually water a lot. You will probably not feel like doing much other than sleeping which is the best thing you can do. We prefer that you do not watch TV or use a computer on the day of surgery. Please only remove the shields to put a drop from each medication bottle in your eyes until the next morning. Your vision will be blurry on the day of surgery but should start to clear by the next morning.

How long should I use the protective plastic shields?

Tape the shields on at night for 5 more nights after the first night to avoid inadvertent rubbing of your eyes when you are sleeping. You can take the shields off at home before coming in to your post op checkup the next day. During the day it is a good idea to wear sunglasses.

When can I drive again?

We recommend you do not drive to your follow-up appointment the next day. Your vision will be checked and the surgeon will advise you when you can drive. Usually you can drive as soon as you are comfortable with your vision outside in bright light and can judge speed and distances accurately. This may take a day or two after surgery.

What are the medicated eye drops for?

Both are used as preventative measures. One is an anti-inflammatory and help make the eyes more comfortable and the other an antibiotic. These should be used as instructed by your surgeon.

When can I go back to work?

Most people require two days off work: the day of surgery and the day after. Some people may require longer, depending on their occupation. You can return to work as soon as you feel comfortable with your vision. It may take some time, (a few weeks) to feel completely comfortable with prolonged reading or computer use. Excessive computer work or near work, especially in air-conditioning, may make your eyes more sensitive. You may find that you tire more quickly, or cannot concentrate for as long as usual, while you are getting used to the changes in vision. It is more likely that it will take longer to adjust for those in the presbyopic age group (older than 40 years).

What can I expect in the following weeks after surgery?

There will be some fluctuation in your vision for the first few days as the corneal flap is settling down. It may take longer for moderate or higher corrections to settle completely. Your eyes may remain sensitive to dryness/wind/air-conditioning/bright lights for some time; so you should use lubricant eye drops frequently and always wear wrap around/large sunglasses when outside during the day. In some cases it can take up to 3 months for your eyes to completely stabilise. It takes longer for the night-time vision to improve than day-time vision.

How often should I use the lubricant eye drops?

The more you use them the better your eyes will feel. Unlike skin moisturisers, the drops drain away very quickly and need to be repeated often. Commonly people need to use the drops every hour initially but this can be slowly tapered off to every 2 hours then 4 times per day (during waking hours). For those with significantly dry eyes it helps to use some gel lubricant before bed but not until at least 2 weeks after surgery, unless directed to by your surgeon.

What are the best lubricant drops to use?

The best drops are in the single use break-open containers, as they do not contain a preservative. There are many different types such as Cellufresh, Refresh, BionTears, Thera Tears and Systane. Please dispose of these on the day they are opened. We have found that Cellufresh work well during the day. Thicker gel type lubricants such as Poly Gel or Viscotears Gel SDU work well for night time use they can make your vision transiently blurry with daytime use. All of these drops can be bought over-the-counter without a prescription.

Does air conditioning or heating affect my eyes?

Both air-conditioning and heating decrease humidity and can result in drier eyes. If you go back to work and find your eyes drier than at home make sure you are not sitting in the path of an air vent and remember to blink when using the computer.

What about reading or working on the computer?

This may be more difficult than normal for some time due to the change in your vision. The rates, at which you blink decreases when you read, drive, watch TV or use a computer. The film of tears on the cornea then has to last longer between each blink. If the tear film breaks up it can make the eyes uncomfortable or affect the quality of your vision. You should take frequent short breaks to allow your eyes to move more naturally if this is happening.

If you had reading glasses or progressive/multifocals prior to surgery, or are more than 40 years old, you will most probably need reading glasses after surgery. Immediately after surgery you can use some over-the-counter magnifying spectacles to get you by.

What sunglasses should I wear?

Your sunglasses should meet Australian Standards (check the tag) and have 100% UV protection. Many people also find polarised lenses (which block glare off the road or water) are better. It is good to get either a wrap-around frame or very large pair of sunglasses that fit snugly around your eyes/brow to block glare and wind from the sides.

What about washing my face, showering and washing my hair?

It is best to keep your eyes closed when showering and washing your hair and face for at least 1 week.

What shouldn't I do after the surgery?
  • Rub your eyes
    Don’t rub your eyes hard, ever, but don’t rub them even normally for the first month after LASIK.
  • Light exercise
    Is fine within the first week. Just be careful around other people and do not rub your eyes if you get sweat in them.
  • Swimming
    Don’t go swimming (Beach or Pool) or use a spa for at least 2 weeks.
  • Surfing
    Don’t go surfing for at least 2 weeks.
  • Scuba Diving
    Not for at least 1 month.
  • Contact sports
    Not for at least 1 month.
When can I wear eye makeup?

Do not use any eye makeup for at least 2 weeks after surgery. Try to avoid using makeup on the eyelids and lid margins for longer. When using eye makeup again try to use the hypo-allergenic type.

How long before I can fly in a plane?

There is no restriction on flying but the humidity in the cabin is extremely low, resulting in dry eyes. Use lubricating drops frequently on the flight to avoid sore, dry eyes and blurred vision after the flight.

Why does my vision sometimes go blurry but then clears when I blink?

This is a sign of dry eyes. If your eyes are dry the tears become very thick and you often need to blink a few times to clear it. If this happens please start using the lubricant drops more often sometimes at least hourly. Contact us if it does not improve over time.

Why is my vision worse at the end of the day?

It is normal for your eyes to become more dry as the day goes on and this interferes with the quality of vision. If you work on computers or are concentrating on near work all day it can be hard to relax the eyes for distance vision and they will seem blurry. You also blink less when reading or using the computer and that makes things worse. Use the lubricating drops more frequently and take frequent, short breaks from the computer to allow your eyes to move and blink more naturally.

What if I have dry, gritty, watery, scratchy eyes or feel like there is something in them?

This is related to reduced tear production. Your eyes can dry out after LASIK so will need to use eye lubricants, The more you use them the better this will get. Using the drops every hour is not too often.

What if I have itchy eyes?

This is an allergy response, so you may have got something in your eye (dust, pollen, animal hair, etc). You can take over the-counter anti-histamine tablets (talk to your pharmacist) or use anti-histamine eye drops (also over the counter) as directed. We have found that Zaditen or Naphcon A works well.

What if I get very red eyes?

Some redness immediately after LASIK is common, especially where the white meets the clear part of your eye. These red patches are like small bruises and will clear over the first month. They are nothing to be worried about. If your eyes have become red some time after having surgery this is commonly due to dryness. Please start using the lubricant drops and if it doesn’t improve steadily then contact us.