Laser vision correction is a surgical method of permanently correcting blurred vision caused by refractive errors such as myopia (short-sightedness), hyperopia (long-sightedness), and astigmatism. Through laser eye surgery, you can greatly reduce your dependency on glasses and contact lenses, if not get rid of them altogether. However, the upfront cost of laser eye surgery can be a deterrent for some, especially for newer techniques such as the SMILE procedure. So, how much does SMILE eye surgery cost, and what else do you need to know about this laser eye surgery procedure? 


Types of Laser Eye Surgeries

Refractive errors such as myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism are due to a mismatch between the eye’s focusing power and the physical length of the eyeball.

process understanding smile eye treatment melbourneIn myopia, the focusing power of the eye is too strong, and the incoming light is focused to a point in front of the light-sensing retina instead of on it. In hyperopia, light comes to focus only once it has passed the retina; that is, the eyeball is too short. In astigmatism, an irregular curvature of the cornea or lens of the eye causes light to focus at two separate points. All of these errors result in blurry vision.

The cornea and the lens are the two parts of the eye responsible for its focusing power. That’s why laser-assisted refractive surgery procedures such as SMILE concentrate on modifying the curvature of the cornea, effectively changing its focusing power to bring the focal point of light sharply onto the retina.

There are a number of laser eye surgery techniques. These include:

  • SMILE (small incision lenticule extraction)
  • LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis)
  • PRK (photorefractive keratectomy)

In addition to these forms of laser vision correction procedure, there are other options for surgical vision correction that aren’t categorised as laser surgery. These include refractive lens exchange (RLE) and implantable contact lenses (ICL), also known as implantable collamer lenses. 


About the SMILE Eye Treatment

SMILE stands for small incision lenticular extraction. It’s the newest addition to the group of laser eye surgery procedures that focus on reshaping the cornea of the eye. However, this technique differs significantly from older methods of laser eye surgery, such as PRK and LASIK surgery.

LASIK eye surgery is performed by creating a thin flap of the superficial cornea, which allows a laser tool known as an excimer laser to reshape the underlying corneal tissue. The flap is later repositioned. PRK works by entirely removing the epithelial (topmost) layer of the cornea so that the excimer laser can reshape the exposed corneal tissue underneath. 

SMILE laser eye surgery, on the other hand, doesn’t require disruption of the outer layers of the cornea in order to achieve the reshaping process. Instead, another laser tool known as a femtosecond laser is used to form a disc-like sliver of tissue from the deeper cornea tissue without interrupting the cells above. This disc, or lenticule, can then be extracted from the cornea through a keyhole incision. 

The result is a cornea that’s been reshaped from the inside out with minimal disturbance to the surrounding tissues. The benefits of this include improved biomechanical stability of the cornea post-operation and rapid visual recovery in line with that experienced with LASIK eye surgery. However, unlike LASIK laser eye surgery, SMILE is able to avoid the flap-related complications that come with creating the corneal flap necessary in the LASIK procedure. 


How Much Does Laser Eye Surgery Cost in Australia? 

The cost of laser eye surgery will depend on a number of factors. For an accurate quote on the total cost, you will need to consult with your eye surgeon of choice. However, it is possible to give a general range of the surgery cost for the various laser eye surgeries. 

LASIK laser eye surgery costs between $2,200 to $3,600, while PRK laser eye surgery ranges from $2,400 to $3,400. For perspective, another type of refractive surgery that doesn’t fall under laser eye treatment, ICL, can cost between $4,700 to $6,200.  


How Much Does SMILE Eye Surgery Cost?

]Your SMILE eye surgery cost can range between $3,300 to $3,700. Being a newer technique of laser eye surgery, SMILE laser surgery is available only at a few laser eye clinics across Australia, with the most accomplished surgeons. The technology associated with SMILE laser eye surgery can also contribute to the slightly higher SMILE eye surgery cost when compared to LASIK or PRK. 


Factors Affecting Laser Eye Surgery Costs 

As mentioned, any specific questions regarding laser eye surgery cost should be discussed specifically with your treating surgeon. In general, there are some factors to be aware of that could contribute to your final procedure cost. 


factors affecting smile treatment price melbourneIs your initial consultation fee included in the quote? 

Prior to undergoing laser treatment, your surgeon will need to confirm that your eyes are suitable for SMILE or, indeed, any form of refractive operation.

Some clinics will offer this consultation cost- and obligation-free, while others may charge for it. 


Does your private health insurance cover refractive procedures? 

There are varying levels of private health insurance in Australia, in addition to a multitude of health insurance providers. If you’re relying on the contribution of your health insurance to your eye surgery cost, it’s best to clarify this directly with your health insurance supplier before proceeding with your operation. 


Is the cost of retreatment included?

Retreatment is a touch-up procedure required if the results of the initial surgery regress. Regression is a phenomenon experienced by some people when their refractive error begins to return after a successful initial treatment. Some clinics may include the cost of this enhancement procedure in their upfront quote, while others may charge a separate fee. 


If you’re interested in getting rid of your glasses or contacts, SMILE eye surgery could be an option for you. Eligibility criteria do apply, so speak to your eye surgeon by calling on (03) 9000 0389 about what you may be suitable for. 



Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner. 





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