FAQs about laser eye surgery

The surgery itself

Can laser eye surgery treat astigmatism?

Yes. It is a common misconception that astigmatism cannot be treated with laser eye surgery. Patients respond very well to treatment, with most being able to see clearly without glasses or contact lenses after laser eye surgery where astigmatism is an issue. The laser we use is particularly effective in treating astigmatism and we have corrected using laser eye surgery up to 8 dioptres of astigmatism (average 1–3 dioptres).

How safe is it?

Laser eye surgery treatments are very safe. Like any surgical procedure, these treatments are subject to complications, but serious or long-term complications are extremely rare. (You are more likely to have a car accident on your way to work than to get a serious complication from laser eye surgery.) Most complications can be corrected through eye drops or a repeat laser eye surgery procedure, known as an enhancement, which we do free of charge in the first five years following your initial procedure.

Does it hurt?

Generally, laser eye surgery is painless. Before your procedure, we will give you a mild oral sedative to help you relax, and put anaesthetic drops in your eyes. You should not experience any pain or discomfort during a laser eye surgery procedure. Following the surgery, you may experience minor pain or some discomfort for a short period of time. Depending on your procedure, we send you home with anaesthetic eye drops and medication so this can be minimised and controlled. Most patients find that everything was much easier than they expected.

What if I move or blink during laser eye surgery?

Patients often worry about moving their eyes or blinking during surgery, but there is virtually nothing you could do with your eyes that would compromise the procedure or put you at risk. Both of our state-of-the-art excimer and femtosecond lasers have some of the most sophisticated AI eye-tracking technologies available anywhere in the world, meaning they can track and compensate for the fastest eye movements with unprecedented precision.

Will I be able to see the surgery?

Yes, although your vision may be slightly blurred. Depending on the procedure, you may see a blinking green light, which we will ask you to focus on. You will not see any manipulation or instruments near your eye during your laser eye surgery and there will be nothing to block your view.

Are all lasers the same?

Absolutely not. We use the special limited edition Schwind 1050RSL Excimer Laser, and the next-generation Schwind ATOS Femtosecond Laser, and we obtain very accurate results with both technologies.  

To ensure the treatment you receive is best suited to your individual requirements, Medownick Laser Eye Clinic offers the widest range of treatment possibilities using specialised treatment planning software. Depending on the results of your assessment, your treatment can be planned in a variety of ways, including: 

  1. Purely on your glasses prescription 
  2. From aberration data measured on the corneal surface 
  3. The aberration data measured on the entire optical system of your eye 

Some other laser systems may offer one or more of these options, but not all three. We compare it to a 3D fingerprint as we can analyse your eye from 45,000 data points. 

Risks & complications

Does laser eye surgery cause dry eyes?

Some patients will experience dryness or Dry Eye Syndrome during the weeks or months following treatment. You are more likely to experience dry eyes if you already had dryness before your surgery. Eye drops and ointments can be used to control the dryness, which usually resolves by three months after treatment. Our Clinical Optometrists will advise your best course of action. A small number of patients may need an additional treatment for dry eyes.

Does laser eye surgery cause cataracts?

No, laser eye surgery does not cause cataracts. However, we do give some patients steroid eye drops after surgery to control the healing response and strengthen the epithelium. If used improperly for too long, these drops can cause cataracts or glaucoma. It is very important to attend all of your scheduled follow-up appointments, especially if you are still taking steroid eye drops. We will be able to monitor your dosage, the length of time you continue taking them, and regularly check your eyes to ensure you don't have any adverse response to the drops.  

Can I go blind from laser eye surgery?

This extremely unlikely. Fortunately, serious or long-term complications are extremely rare – in fact, you have a greater chance of developing an infection from your contact lenses than you do from laser eye surgery. You may be also comforted by the sheer number of people that have had laser eye surgery: more than 30 million laser eye surgery treatments have been performed worldwide, and no single case of blindness is yet to be reported in Australia.

Will I have a scar?

Modern laser eye surgery in the hands of experienced surgeons, as long as you keep all your post-op appointments and follow your medication and hygiene instructions, is unlikely to leave a scar. Patients with high degree of refractions may see halos (rings around lights), starbursts, and other visual anomalies, for a period of time after the surgery, especially when driving at night. 

A condition called Corneal Healing Haze may occur to some degree among most patients following Touchless Robotic (Trans PRK) and Advanced PRK laser eye surgeries. Corneal Healing Haze causes extremely faint scars that cannot be seen except with a microscope and in the vast majority of cases it will not affect your vision. It causes few, if any symptoms, and is becoming much less common with our more advanced laser surgery techniques. We control it by increasing the dosage of eye drops.  

Are there any other risks or complications?

After their laser eye surgery, the vast majority of our patients find that they have recovered significantly by the day of their first post-operative appointment. However, depending on the procedure you receive and your body’s response to surgery, there is a small possibility that you may experience some side effects, such as delayed healing, dry eye, glare, haloes or increased light sensitivity.  

Most patients find that these side effects subside within three months after laser eye surgery, although it may take longer in some cases. However, more than 97 percent of our patients have 20/20 or better vision three months after laser eye surgery. The specific risks of laser eye surgery in your case will be discussed during your free laser eye surgery assessment. 

After laser eye surgery

Do I have to sit in the dark?

Absolutely not. Generally when you are heading home we recommend that you wear sunglasses (non-prescriptive as you don’t need that prescription any more!) to protect you from some mild light-sensitivity you may experience immediately after the surgery. If you have dry eyes, you may want to continue wearing sunglasses until the light sensitivity eases. But there is no reason to sit in the dark.  

Will I wear an eye-patch?

There is no reason to wear an eye patch. Depending on the procedure, we may recommend that you wear clear goggles or (non-prescriptive) sunglasses after the surgery, to stop you from accidentally touching your eyes, but you will not need patches.  

How much time off work?

This depends on a number of things: the rate at which your body heals (unique to everyone), the procedure you had, and the nature and environment of your work.  

If you work in dusty or outdoor environments, for example, we will encourage you to stay home for a little longer in order to avoid infection. If your eyes are dry or light-sensitive immediately after the surgery, you may want to avoid up-close reading and computer work.  

As a very general rule (assuming your body heals at an average rate, your workplace is dust-free and you are able to take lots of eye-breaks), you may expect to be back at work two or three days after SmartSight laser surgery, between four days and a week after Touchless Robotic (Trans-PRK) laser surgery, and one to two days after LASIK surgery.  

How long before I can go on holidays?

We recommend that you avoid dusty, sandy environments (including beaches and snow) for weeks after having laser eye surgery, and don’t submerge your head under water for two weeks, in order to protect yourself from irritants and infections from foreign bacteria.  

You will be able to fly immediately after receiving LASIK surgery, and just two or three days after SmartSight. If you received Touchless Robotic Trans-PRK laser surgery, we recommend you wait two weeks. Please discuss your holiday plans with our team when you visit the clinic, and we will help ensure you can embrace every new adventure that is waiting for you.  


How much does laser eye surgery cost?

Laser eye surgery at Medownick Laser Eye Clinic is surprisingly affordable, and is tailored to your unique eyes and the procedure you receive. As a general rule, prices for laser eye surgery range from $2000 to $3500 per eye, with generous "friends and family" discounts and interest-free payment plans available to approved applicants. We charge only one fee with no hidden costs, and this includes your surgery, all your post-operative appointments, and all of your medications and drops. You may find that some clinics charge less than we do for certain procedures, but that is because we use the newest technology for SmartSight, Touchless Robotic Trans-PRK, and femto-LASIK laser eye surgery.

Do you have payment plans?

We sure do! Eligible patients can make use of interest-free payment plans that enable them to spread payments for their surgeries across six, 12 or 18 months. These plans can be accessed with as little as a 10 percent deposit.  

Do I get a discount if a friend refers me?

You bet! We were thrilled to help your friend see naturally, and to thank them for trusting and recommending us, we are more than happy to offer you a discount on almost all procedures. Be sure to let us know the name of the friend who recommended us to you when you come into our clinic for your free assessment, and we’ll automatically discount your quote. 

Is laser eye surgery covered by Medicare?

In general, refractive laser eye surgery is not covered by Medicare. Some of the non-laser procedures we offer (such as Low-Stress Cataract Surgery) are eligible for Medicare rebates. 

Is laser eye surgery covered by private health insurance?

Some of the major health funds, including Bupa and Medibank Private, now cover part or full cost of your laser eye surgery procedure if you have a high level of cover. If you are unsure, check with your private health insurance provider, or give us a call on 1800 284 328 and we may be able to help.

Can I access my superannuation to pay for laser eye surgery?

The great news is that yes, in most cases you will be able to use your super to help pay for laser eye surgery. Please ask us about this when you come in for your free assessment, email us at info@medownick.com.au, or call us on 1800 37 39 37 and our team will be happy to help. 

The results

Is it permanent?

In the vast majority of cases, once the cornea has been changed by laser eye surgery, it remains permanently modified. There are rare occurrences of regression in the first three to six months, and this can be corrected with an enhancement laser eye surgery procedure. If medically indicated, we will perform your enhancement procedure free of charge in the first five years after your initial procedure.  

However, all people - regardless of whether or not they have had laser eye surgery - will notice that their near vision (close-up, such as reading) begins to deteriorate when they reach their 40s. This deterioration is a completely different condition, called presbyopia, and it is a natural part of ageing, much like wrinkles or grey hair. Medownick can help you address presbyopia when it happens, but this is a different process to laser eye surgery.  

Laser eye surgery won’t protect you from unrelated eye conditions, such as cataracts or unexpected refractive error change. 

Will laser cause my eyes to deteriorate in the future?

No, they will not deteriorate because of laser eye surgery. Laser eye surgery treatment has been performed for more than 30 years. Extensive testing has been performed around the world by many different sources, and it has been conclusively determined that there are no long-term health problems to the eye from these procedures.

Can I truly ditch my glasses and contacts?

For the vast majority of people, the answer is yes. While it is impossible to guarantee exact results due to everyone’s individual circumstances, more than 99.9 percent of patients will see well enough without glasses to pass a driver’s eye test after laser eye surgery, while 97 percent will have 20/20 or better vision without glasses or contacts. The general rule is: people who require less treatment will obtain more accurate results. Avoid any doctor or clinic that promises you a specific result, because this simply is not possible.  

However, please remember that all people - regardless of whether or not they have had laser eye surgery - will notice that their near vision (close-up, such as reading) begins to deteriorate when they reach their 40s. This deterioration is a completely different condition, called presbyopia, and it is a natural part of ageing, much like wrinkles or grey hair. Medownick can help you address presbyopia when it happens, but this is a different process to laser eye surgery. 

If I didn’t get the results I’d hoped for, can I do it again?

You sure can, if medically indicated. A very small number of our patients return for an “enhancement” laser eye surgery procedure. These patients have had a dramatic improvement in their vision, but have not achieved a full correction. When we assess the health of your eyes at our no-obligation consultation, we will discuss your chances of requiring a follow-up enhancement procedure, specific to your particular case. Our fee covers any enhancement laser eye surgery procedure that you might require in the first five years following your initial laser eye surgery.

Interest-free offer

Laser eye surgery is an investment in you. It’s why we offer interest-free payment plans over six, 12 or 18 months to suitable candidates.

Book a free laser eye assessment

Stop wondering and find out once and for all whether laser eye surgery is right for you. Book a free eye assessment today.