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Compare laser eye surgery clinics

Curious about laser eye surgery, available clinics & procedure costs?

Check out our comprehensive guide to help you decide if laser eye surgery is right for you.

Comparison of laser eye surgery clinics

Data obtained June 2018. Prices are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.
Name Product Laser Eye Procedures Offered No. of Laser Eye Surgeons Pricing (both eyes) Locations
LASIK, Bladeless ZLASIK, SMILE, Lasik Xtra, Custom LASIK, PRK, Epi-LASIK, ICL
SMILE: $6450

Bladeless & Custom LASIK: $6450

PRK: $2500-$6450

ICL: $8980

Burwood, Canberra, Castle Hill, Dubbo, Epping, Liverpool, Morisset, Mudgee, Parramatta, Sydney CBD, Nowra, Penrith
Special offer: All personalEYES clients referred by HCF Eyecare receive $250* per eye off diamond & platinum laser eye surgery procedures performed by one of the surgeons at personalEYES.

Compare up to 4 providers

Name Product Laser Eye Procedures Offered No. of Laser Eye Surgeons Locations
Vision Eye Institute
Vision Eye Institute
LASIK, SMILE, ASLA/PRK, Monovision/blended vision, ICL
Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide
Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Sydney, Hobart, Perth
Central Sydney Eye Surgeons
Central Sydney Eye Surgeons
PRK, SMILE, Trans-epithelial ‘no-touch’ laser, LASIK, Re-LEX SMILE, ICL
Clearsight Eye Centre & Laser Clinic
Clearsight Eye Centre & Laser Clinic
Eye and Retina Specialists
Eye and Retina Specialists
Eye Surgery Associates
Eye Surgery Associates
PTK, LASIK, RLE including laser assisted, FLAK, ICL
Melbourne, Malvern, Doncaster, Vermont South
Conrad Eye Care
Conrad Eye Care

Compare up to 4 providers

Learn about laser eye surgery

The World Health Organisation estimates that over 150 million people worldwide live with visual impairment as a result of refractive errors. It is hardly surprising then, that more than 30 million people have chosen to undergo laser eye surgery to correct their refractive errors. If you have vision problems and are looking for an alternative to contacts or glasses, laser eye surgery could be the solution for you.

With a large number of clinics in Australia offering a variety of procedures, it’s easy to see why laser eye surgery is a popular choice for vision correction. We’ve compared the options to help you determine if laser eye surgery is right for you.

What is laser eye surgery?

Laser eye surgery is a method of treating a condition that specialists call common refractive errors of the eye. These errors occur when the shape of the eye prevents light from focusing directly on the retina.

During laser eye surgery, a surgeon will use a variety of modern techniques to physically correct the refractive errors. Successful laser eye surgery can completely eliminate your need for glasses or contact lenses.

For many people, LASIK is synonymous with laser eye surgery, but there are actually five commonly used methods to treat vision loss in Australia, though some are more widely used than others. The different procedures vary in terms of cost, recovery time and the types of refractive errors they treat.

Who needs it?

According to Vision 2020 Australia, more than half of all vision loss is caused by refractive errors. Fortunately, laser eye surgery can be used to treat the three most common types: myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism.

It’s possible to have more than one type of refractive error or a different type of refractive error in each eye. Understanding the cause of your less-than-perfect vision will help you determine which procedure could be right for you.

  • Myopia (short-sightedness)

Myopia occurs when the shape of the eye causes light to focus in front of the retina instead of on it, resulting in difficulty seeing faraway objects.

  • Hyperopia (long-sightedness)

Hyperopia occurs when light focuses behind the retina, causing blurred vision.

  • Astigmatism

Astigmatism is an imperfection in the eye’s curvature that results in distorted vision. Astigmatism can be myopic, hyperopic, or mixed depending on the shape and severity of the irregularity.

  • Presbyopia

Presbyopia is age related long-sightedness caused by the loss of elasticity in the lens of the eye. Unfortunately, presbyopia cannot be helped by laser eye surgery.


In addition to having a fixable refractive error, you must meet some additional basic criteria to be eligible for laser eye surgery.

At a minimum you must:

  • Be over the age of 18, although some clinics will suggest waiting until your mid-twenties to ensure long term results as your eye can continue to change into early adulthood.
  • Have a glasses prescription that hasn't changed significantly in the last 12 months.
  • Not be pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Not have an active or recurring eye infection, history of eye scarring or severe dry eyes.
  • Have good general health.

Available laser eye surgery procedures

LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis)

MethodAvailable for those with:
  1. A femtosecond laser or micro-scalpel (microkeratome) is used to create a small flap in the top layer of the cornea.
  2. A second, excimer laser is used to reshape the underlying corneal tissue bed to correct the refractive error.
  3. Lastly, the flap is placed back in its original position where it begins to heal almost immediately.
  • Myopia
  • Hyperopia
  • Astigmatism
  • Regularly shaped corneas & adequate corneal thickness

PRK (photorefractive keratectomy)

Also known as ASLA (advanced surface laser ablation).

MethodAvailable for those with:
  1. A topical solution is used to soften the top layer of corneal cells, allowing them to be easily removed.
  2. A surgeon then uses an excimer laser to reshape the exposed corneal tissue bed to correct the refractive error.
  3. Finally, a bandage similar to a contact lens is placed on the eye to help the healing process.
  • Myopia
  • Hyperopia
  • Astigmatism
  • Thin/irregularly shaped corneas
  • Dry eyes

SMILE (small incision lenticular extraction)

MethodAvailable for those with:
  1. A surgeon uses a femtosecond laser to make a small incision in the cornea.
  2. The femtosecond laser then creates a disc of corneal tissue.
  3. Finally, the disc is removed to correct the refractive error.
  • Myopia
  • Astigmatism
  • Regularly shaped corneas
  • Adequate corneal thickness

LASEK (laser-assisted sub-epithelial keratomileusis) and Epi-LASIK

MethodAvailable for those with:
  1. An excimer laser is used to create an ultra-thin layer of the barrier that protects the cornea, called the corneal epithelium.
  2. This epithelial layer is moved to the side so the surgeon can reshape the corneal tissue below.
  3. The surgeon then re-positions the layer of epithelium back on top of the cornea.
  4. Lastly, a bandage similar to a contact lens is placed on the eye to help facilitate healing.
  • Myopia
  • Hyperopia
  • Astigmatism

ICL (implantable contact lenses)

MethodAvailable for those with:
  1. The surgeon creates a custom ICL, or thin clear lens similar to a contact lens.
  2. The lens is then implanted directly into the eye, rather than sitting on the eye like a normal contact lens.
  • Myopia
  • Hyperopia
  • Astigmatism

What are the benefits?

According to The Royal College of Ophthalmologists, more than 95% of patients are satisfied with the outcome of their laser eye surgery. Most patients say their vision after surgery is the same as, or better than, when they wore contacts or glasses prior to surgery.

Many patients also experience the following benefits from laser eye surgery:

  • Cost savings. Though laser eye surgery isn’t cheap, it’s less expensive than contacts in the long run.
  • Flexibility. Laser eye surgery can give you the chance to live your life without worrying about your glasses breaking or your contacts drying out.
  • Physical activity. It’s much easier to participate in physical activities, and you might even find your athletic performance improves when you no longer have glasses or contacts holding you back.
  • Safety. Don’t underestimate the importance of not having to spend time searching for your glasses or contacts in an emergency.
  • Eye health. Many organisations have voiced concerns over the risks associated with long term contact use, which can increase the risks of eye infection and eye dryness.
  • Improved confidence. Many patients feel increased confidence from no longer having to wear glasses.

What are the risks?

Laser eye surgery is one of the safest surgeries currently performed in Australia but there are risks and side effects associated with every medical procedure. While the risk of serious complications is low, the procedure will be physically changing your eye and with the exception of ICL, the results are irreversible. As with any medical procedure, discuss your concerns with your doctor prior to surgery.

Potential side-effects and complications include:

  • Dry eyes. LASIK is most likely to cause this side-effect, so if you’re prone to dry eyes your surgeon will most likely recommend another procedure.
  • Undercorrection or overcorrection. The undercorrection or overcorrection of corneal tissue may require an additional corrective procedure after healing.
  • Visual regression. This might include poor night vision, light sensitivity, glare, and halos around light. The regression will usually resolve itself as the eye heals, but some patients experience lasting effects.
  • Corneal abrasion. Corneal abrasions are more commonly a side-effect of procedures that use micro-scalpels, or microkeratome. The chance of corneal abrasion during a laser-only treatment are rare.
  • Infection. As with all surgeries there is a chance of infection, although there’s also a risk of infection associated with contact use.
  • Corneal ectasia. This is bulging of the cornea, leading to blurred vision. People with abnormal corneal shapes are most at risk for ectasia, and it’s most common after LASIK.

Compare the costs of laser eye surgery procedures

ProcedureAverage price per-eye

Many potential laser eye surgery candidates find the cost to be prohibitive. While spending thousands on laser eye surgery might seem unnerving, in the long term it can be significantly cheaper than a lifetime of contact use and about on par with the price of average lifetime glasses use.

Many clinics offer payment plans so you won’t have to worry about draining your savings to pay for the entire procedure upfront. Others offer a free assessment to determine your suitability for laser eye surgery and answer any questions you may have.

How can laser eye surgery be covered by health insurance?

Laser eye surgery is not eligible for any Medicare benefits, unless it’s used to treat certain eye diseases. Some health insurance providers offer varying degrees of laser eye surgery coverage with their top hospital or extras policies, but there’s usually a waiting period of 1-3 years.

The following health insurance providers offer some form of laser eye surgery coverage:

CoverCover typeProcedures offeredWaiting periodCovered
BUPAUltimate Hospital and Ultimate Extras CoverLASIK, PRK and SMILE12 months for current members, 36 months for new members after July 1 2018Full cost of surgery
AHMLifestyle Extras and Super ExtrasLaser eye surgery24 months$600 per eye under Lifestyle Extras and $900 per eye under Super Extras
Medibank PrivateUltra Health CoverLASIK, PRK and LASEK36 monthsUp to $3,500
Defence HealthTop ExtrasLASIK and PRK12 monthsUp to $1,000 per person
HBFUltimate Cover (available to members in WA only)LASIK, ICL and PRK12 monthsFull cost of surgery

How to choose the best clinic for you

With so many surgeons in Australia offering laser eye surgery it can be overwhelming to sort through them all. It might be best to start with a recommendation from your GP or optometrist, and then contact a few other clinics to compare services.

To make the decision easier, we’ve prepared a few questions that you can ask when evaluating potential surgeons and clinics:

Questions for the surgeon.
  • How many laser eye surgeries have you performed?
  • What is your success rate?
  • Are your patients happy with their results?
  • Are you registered with the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists?
Checking the technology.
  • Do you use state-of-the-art equipment?
  • Is your facility fully accredited?
Asking about aftercare.
  • How will I be cared for after surgery?
  • How long is the post-operative recovery period?
  • If I have any concerns or difficulties, how easy is it for me to contact you?
Comparing costs.
  • What exactly is included in the cost?
  • Are follow-up appointments included in the initial cost?
  • Are eye drops included?
  • Do you provide after-hour care in case of emergency?
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