LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) eye surgery is where a surgeon uses a laser to create a thin flap of superficial cornea, which they will then fold back. Then, the surgeon uses the laser to reshape your cornea to treat your eye issue. Afterwards, the surgeon places the cornea flap back down, which adheres itself naturally.
This type of treatment is helpful for those with short-sightedness, long-sightedness and astigmatism. If your surgeon deems your corneas too thin or too irregularly shaped, you may not be suitable for LASIK.
During PRK (photorefractive keratectomy), the surgeon removes the layer of cells covering your cornea. The surgeon then uses the laser to reshape your cornea to correct your eye condition. The surgeon will then place a type of bandage content lens to your eye to help it heal.
PRK is typically used to treat short and long-sightedness as well as astigmatism. Your surgeon might also recommend PRK if your corneas are unusually shaped, or if you suffer from dry eyes.
SMILE (small incision lenticular extraction) eye surgery is where the surgeon creates a lenticule – a tissue disc – inside your cornea. The surgeon then removes this disc through a tiny incision in your cornea. This bladeless procedure might suit patients who have been told they aren’t suitable for LASIK. The quicker cornea healing time also means you may be able to return to certain activities, like contact sports, sooner.
This type of surgery isn’t, at the time of writing, suitable treatment for long-sightedness.
During ICL (implantable collamer – or contact – lens) eye surgery, a surgeon makes a small incision in the surface of your eye before they insert a soft lens behind your iris (which sits in front of your natural lens). The opening in your cornea will seal on its own.
The lens is designed to remain in your eye, but you can have a surgeon remove it if you wish.
This type of surgery may be useful for those who aren’t suitable for other types of laser eye surgeries. You might find that surgeons recommend ICL eye surgery if you have a high prescription or an abnormally shaped or thin cornea.
Jeremy wears one-use soft contact lenses when he’s not wearing his prescription glasses. Each year, he purchases three packs of 90 lenses, which equates to around $300. He also spends about $36 on eyedrops over a year that he uses while he’s wearing his contact lenses.
So, Jeremy spends about $360 on contacts products each year.
He also wears prescription glasses and tends to purchase a new pair every two years at around $150 each time.
Jeremy’s also been weighing up LASIK eye surgery costs against the cost of his glasses and contacts. After a consultation where he was quoted $5,600 for both of his eyes, he starts crunching the numbers.
He realises that over 13 years, he would spend more in glasses and contacts combined ($5,655) than the cost of LASIK.
Jeremy would prefer to see clearly without the hassle of contact lenses or glasses, so he feels the upfront cost of surgery is worth it in the long-term for his circumstances.
Do you have an extras policy? Check with your insurer before booking your appointment to see if they’ll provide any cover towards laser eye surgery.
If your extras policy doesn’t include cover for laser surgery, you might want to find one that does – at a price that’s kind to your budget. Try comparing extras policies through our free comparison tool where, in minutes, you can compare policy cover and premiums from some of Australia’s top insurers.
 healthdirect. ‘Short-sightedness (myopia)’. Last reviewed September 2019. Accessed 23 January 2020.
 healthdirect. ‘Long-sightedness (hyperopia). Last reviewed September 2019. Accessed 23 January 2020.
 healthdirect. ‘Astigmatism’. Last reviewed September 2019. Accessed 23 January 2020.
 healthdirect. ‘Laser eye surgery’. Last reviewed January 2018. Accessed 23 January 2020.