What is laser eye surgery?

LASIK, commonly referred to as Laser Eye Surgery combines the submicron precision of the excimer laser with lamellar corneal surgery (a procedure that has been performed since the 1960's).

During laser eye surgery, a very thin flap of corneal tissue is first raised with an automated device called a microkeratome. The Excimer laser then smooths and reshapes the underlying bed of cornea to correct the patients refractive error. Each pulse of the laser removes 39 millionths of an inch in 12 billionths of a second. The excimer laser produces 'cool' ultra-violet light that does not cut or burn tissue.

The thin flap of corneal tissue is precisely replaced to cover the newly curved central cornea. It seals within minutes due to the corneas efficient bonding ability without the need for sutures. This flap minimises the risk of infection (more common with the PRK/ASL procedure) and accelerates the healing process following laser eye surgery. Patients can see immediately after the laser eye surgery operation.

The LASIK method using the microkeratome and the Excimer laser has been used in treating over 50 million eyes, providing exceptional accuracy with a fast healing time and minimal discomfort.

In short-sighted patients, the laser removes a little more tissue from the centre of the cornea than the periphery, which flattens the cornea (The amount taken is often less than the thickness of a human hair). In long-sighted patients, the laser takes more tissue from the peripheral part of the cornea in order to steepen the cornea.

In astigmatic patients the curvature of the cornea is not completely spherical - it is more elongated on several planes. The laser removes tissue from different axes to provide a more spherical cornea that can accurately focus light.

The Australian Institute of Eye Surgery is a purpose built Laser Eye Surgery and Implant Surgery facility incorporating the most advanced laser technology. We are patient focused and aim to achieve the finest possible results by the safest and most predictable means.

Why should I choose your laser centre?

Our experience in carrying out over 20,000 procedures and changing the lives of thousands of patients means you are in good hands.

Will I have 20/20 vision?

Most of our patients achieve 20/20 vision. Others may have their use of corrective lenses reduced dramatically where mild glasses may still be required for reading, working at a computer or night driving.

Who will conduct my LASIK vision procedure?

At the Australian Institute of Eye Surgery all vision correction surgery is conducted by our chief surgeon, Dr. Ronald Binetter. It may be important for you to know that as an experienced eye surgeon Dr. Binetter spent 11 years in medical study at University including four years specialist study in Ophthalmology (more commonly known as micro-eye surgery).
As a practising eye microsurgeon Dr. Binetter has spent a further ten years conducting refractive eye surgery including 20,000 LASIK procedures.

How much experience have your doctors had?

Our doctors were among the first in the country to perform LASIK and our chief surgeon, Dr. Ronald Binetter has performed over 20,000 LASIK procedures.

How does it work?

A simple way to imagine how the laser works is to think of it as placing the curvature from your glasses or contact lenses onto the front surface of your eye allowing you to see without corrective eye wear.

How do I know if I am suitable for laser vision correction?

You may be a perfect candidate for laser vision correction if you are at least 18 years old, not pregnant, have stable vision for one year prior to the procedure and are free of complicating eye disease. However, you may be told as with more than one third of our potential patients that your eyes are not suitable. A comprehensive examination at the Australian Institute of Eye Surgery is your first step.

What conditions can be treated?

Shortsightedness, longsightedness and astigmatism are all able to be treated.

What kind of results can I expect?

The degree of improvement varies among individuals and how well and quickly your vision improves depends on how you heal and the severity of your prescription. Although we can't promise perfect vision, most patients with mild to moderate prescriptions do achieve 20/20 vision or better. This means that they no longer need glasses or contact lenses to drive, play sport or watch movies or TV.
During your consultation and examination your doctor will help determine the range of your probable outcome based on your particular prescription.

Have any of your staff had the surgery?

Yes 3 of our staff members have had the procedure performed and many more of their family members have had LASIK or other vision correction procedures performed when they have not been suitable for LASIK.

Will my vision be corrected forever?

Today leading LASIK surgeons around the world regard LASIK as a permanent correction to the cornea. Over 15 years of investigative trials have demonstrated that vision remains stable. However, over the age of 45, all people will start to have difficulty with close up vision due to the natural ageing process which occurs in the lens of the eye. This usually results in the need for reading glasses. Occasionally some people may experience very late regression years after the procedure.

What does the procedure cost?

• There is an initial consultation fee of $225.00.
• There is an additional cost on the day of the Laser Eye Surgery procedure of $50.00 for the required eye drops.

Is laser vision correction covered by insurance?

You are unable to claim any of the costs from your private health fund or Medicare. You are able to claim some of the costs back through personal income tax. You would need to discuss this with your accountant.

Does the AIES stand behind my results?

At the Australian Institute of Eye Surgery we stand behind your distance vision results for life because we have great confidence in our surgeons and the stability of our patients' outcomes. We call it The Lifetime Commitment.
While we cannot guarantee that you will have perfect vision for a lifetime we will do everything we can to help you maintain your best possible distance vision.
Most shortsighted and astigmatic AIES patients qualify for The Lifetime Commitment Program. To retain eligibility, you must simply return to your AIES doctor each year for an annual examination. You are eligible for The Lifetime Commitment Program if you are in good general health, have your initial laser vision correction at the AIES for shortsightedness and/or astigmatism and have a pre-operative prescription equivalent to -6.00 diopters and/or astigmatism of no greater than -2.00 diopters. The majority of shortsighted and/or astigmatic patients fall into this group.
Those patients who are not within these criteria remain eligible for enhancements at a minimal charge within 12 months of their initial procedure.
Please read the Program's guidelines to understand whether you are covered and what your responsibilities are.

Has anyone ever gone blind following LASIK vsion correction?

After more than 3 million laser vision correction procedures, there has not been one case of blindness reported.

Is LASIK painful?

The laser treatment itself is painless. There are no needles. Instead, anaesthetic eye drops are used to numb the surface of the eye both before and during surgery. Some people may feel discomfort from the lid speculum used to keep the eyelids open. Sometimes, prior to the laser re-shaping of your cornea, a moderate feeling of pressure may cause brief discomfort. After the procedure your eyes may feel gritty or irritable for several hours. This usually resolves with sleep. 1% to 2% of patients require a mild analgesic such as Panadol to relieve more prolonged discomfort.

What is the Excimer Laser?

The Excimer laser is an ultra-violet laser which utilises Argon and Fluorine gas to create a non-thermal or cool beam of laser light which can break molecular bonds.

How long does the procedure take?

LASIK takes approximately 15-20 minutes for both eyes to be treated, although the actual laser re-shaping of your cornea takes less than 60 seconds depending on your prescription. You will be at the Institute for about 1-2 hours.

How soon can I return to my normal routine?

Most people can return to work the next day as 90% of visual recovery will occur within the first 24 hours. Minor fluctuations in vision can persist for several weeks.

When will I be able to drive?

Most patients are able to drive the following day.

Are there any risks?

There are risks with having laser vision correction. However, the chances of having a vision reducing complication has been documented in a number of clinical trial studies to be less than 1%.

Will I have to wear glasses again?

Presbyopia is a natural ageing process which affects the lens of the eye in everyone in the mid 40's to 50's. This results in most people in this age group requiring reading glasses. It's possible that some people might need to wear a small prescription for certain activities after the surgery.

If I only wear reading glasses can the laser surgery help?

Yes, laser surgery may help you. Monovision is an alternative to reading glasses.

Do I have one or both eyes treated on the same day?

Your surgeon will discuss this with you, but the vast majority of patients can have both eyes treated on the same day.

When will I be able to see after the procedure?

Results vary from patient to patient. Most patients have functional vision the next day. Full visual results are realised for most within one to four weeks.

The Australian Institute of Eye Surgery offers affordable laser eye surgery (LASIK) and cataract surgery making the laser eye surgery cost accessible for all. For vision correction surgery or laser eye surgery Sydney and Newcastle, contact us for an assessment today.