Misleading Laser Eye Surgery Claims

Misleading Terms from Laser Eye Surgery Clinics


Man wearing glasses looking burnt outWhilst conducting weekly research on the refractive surgery market, competitors and advancements, I regularly find information on websites that is quite misleading. From a consumer perspective, it must be so difficult to find a clinic and surgeon that offer amazing results as well as patient care, great follow-up and honest advice.

It seems that every laser eye surgery clinic states that they are the ‘leaders’ or ‘leading’ the way in refractive surgery.  How are you supposed to know? And, does itContact us today matter?  Shouldn’t all surgeons be great in their own right? We are going to help you read between the lines. To try to help from the beginning of your journey when you are showing interest and ready to do a little bit of research.

Offering an upfront cost that is much lower than other clinics

What is the quote for? Because there is more than one type of laser eye surgery to correct your vision. And different surgery types come with different risks, downtime, aftercare and comfort levels.

There are three types of laser eye surgery that will correct your vision impairment. Vision impairment includes short-sight (myopia), long-sight (hyperopia) and astigmatism. They are:

infographic with details about surgery generations of laser eye surgery. PRK / LASIK / SMILE

digital image of an open eye with a laser above it. seemingly applying laser to the eyeYou can see from the infographic that SMILE is the most recent generation of laser surgery techniques. It has been available since 2011 in Australia and millions of procedures have already been performed using this method. However; SMILE does not correct long-sight. It corrects only short-sight and astigmatism.  This means that LASIK is still a tried and tested contender.

LASIK & SMILE are both quite comfortable procedures with no pain during surgery and mild discomfort during the preliminary healing period. The post-operative eye drops and paracetamol (if necessary) are enough to relieve any discomfort.

Thin cornea’s can mean that SMILE & LASIK are not options

Some people have thinner cornea’s (the clear window across the surface of the eye) than others and this might mean that SMILE and LASIK are not possible. In this instance, a patient is recommended PRK (photorefractive keratectomy).  PRK is also a better option for some patients that have corneal scarring from an old eye injury or infection. Although the long-term results are the same as LASIK, the initial healing period is much longer and more painful than LASIK. Most patients require 4-7 days off of work, instead of 1-2 for LASIK & 1 for SMILE (dependent on occupation).

Patients are usually given stronger pain killers as well as sleeping tablets for the first few days following PRK surgery.  This procedure only requires an excimer laser and not a femtosecond laser (which is used to create the flap in LASIK or the lenticule in SMILE). The costs associated with an excimer laser only are significantly less than the use of 2 lasers. For this reason, a surgeon that might only offer PRK, can afford to offer it for much less than SMILE and LASIK.

Contact us todayIf a price is significantly lower than ALL other providers… there is a reason.

Since third generation options of laser eye surgery have become available, there are 3 companies that have manufactured their own versions. ReLEx SMILE from Zeiss is the most widely approved, SmartSight from Schwind and CLEAR from Ziemer.  All of these methods use a femtosecond laser to create a corneal lenticule. A femtosecond laser is non-thermal and uses pulsing actions at a speed of 1 quadrillionth of a second to achieve extremely clean cut edges.

Which laser eye surgery procedure is most commonly performed?

laser eye surgeryThe SMILE technique, using the VisuMax laser, has been commercially available since 2011 and is available in over 80 countries. It is currently the most popular and tested method of keyhole laser eye surgery and the only method with both CE and FDA approval.  

Updating technology is important

These lasers are extremely expensive, require surgeons to train extensively and develop their own preferred algorithm. For these reasons, not all surgeons possess one.  And although LASIK is still a very good solution to refractive error, it is important to stay up to date with training and technology in order to provide the best possible outcome for all patients.

Beautiful woman smilingThird generation lasers have also made it possible for many more people to benefit from laser eye surgery and fall within suitability parameters. Those with much higher prescriptions that have previously been told that laser is not an option are now contenders. Those with thin corneas that were previously only able to have PRK, are now potentially suitable for a faster healing, pain-free procedure such as SMILE.

Consumers should stay ahead of the game and ask the right questions

We have seen marketing ploys where surgeons/clinics discuss the benefits of SMILE laser eye surgery on their website, although they do not offer it. Once a patient is through the door, they are likely told that LASIK is the preferred method in their case. And the patient is none the wiser as they are entrusting that the clinic has provided all options.

Here are some answers to some FAQ’s that you might find helpful on your quest to visual freedom.


misleading laser eye surgery claims

Where should I go for laser eye surgery?

Dr Graham Furness at Insight Eye Clinic is one of the most experienced Refractive & Cataract Surgeons in Western Australia. Dr Furness is a corneal expert who specialises in ReLEx SMILE, LASIK, PRK, ICL (implantable contact lens) and RLE (refractive lens exchange). Dr Furness has also specialised in Cataract surgery since 1999, offering a variety of vision outcomes to suit each unique person’s daily vision requirement.

What is the process to visual freedom?

You will first require a consultation in either our Subiaco or Westminster clinic. This process can take between 2 and 3 hours and a full eye health assessment with Dr Furness is also included. Various diagnostic and vision tests will ensure what surgery type is best suited to your daily life. Following your consultation, surgery can be scheduled if you are a suitable candidate. Depending on the surgery type required, you might have to wait between 2 and 6 weeks. Following surgery, a few standard post-op appointments are required, as well as post-op eye drops for a short period.

How quickly can I see after surgery?

After laser eye surgery, results are immediate and continue to improve over the coming weeks.  For the first few hours afterwards, vision can seem a little foggy and eyes may feel a little light sensitive. Correct aftercare protocol is very important and will ensure the optimal outcome. Almost all patients have reached driving standard vision (usually better) by the following morning.

Is laser eye surgery permanent?

Yes, laser eye surgery is permanent. During the procedure, a tiny amount of corneal tissue is removed to reshape the patient’s eye.  Once the tissue is gone, it is gone permanently. In some cases, people can redevelop refractive error. This will be discussed during a consultation.

Presbyopia is an occurrence that happens to everyone in their mid to late 40’s. The eye loses some of it’s ability to accommodate and people begin to notice their near vision becoming blurrier and blurrier over time. This is age-related and unrelated to the laser eye surgery procedure performed. There are surgical options available to help with presbyopia, such as RLE (refractive lens exchange).

How much does laser eye surgery cost?

The cost of laser eye surgery is dependent upon where you go. At Insight Eye Clinic, we offer third generation ReLEx SMILE surgery (the latest technique), at only $3400 per eye0% 2 years interest free credit which is inclusive of everything except your consultation fee.  Surgery, post-op eye drops, surgeon fee and post-op care is all included in this price. There are no hidden fees. We also gift all laser patients a pair of high quality, polarised sunglasses made from sustainable materials to protect your eyes after surgery. Interest free finance is available for up to 2 years!

There are endless benefits to having laser eye surgery. If you wear glasses or contact lenses and are visually impaired without them, you know first hand how disruptive the requirement for them is.  And if you need reminding… there are several posts on our blog page about how amazing laser eye surgery is.  We also have dozens of video’s of people’s reactions immediately after laser eye surgery on TikTok.

Please see the below blogs and visit our social media platforms for educational information related to all types of eye surgery available with Dr Graham Furness at Insight Eye Clinic.


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*Please note: this blog cannot be used as medical advice. Please consult your GP, Optometrist or Ophthalmologist regarding any eye issues, concerns or queries related specifically to you*