laser eye surgery

LASIK, PRK – What’s the difference?

You might have heard about laser eye surgery but did you know that here at George St Eye Centre, there are 3 possible types of surgery you can have?


LASIK stands for Laser In Situ Keratomileusis and is probably the most well known type of laser vision correction. It involves two lasers with 3D mapping technology in one integrated procedure. The first femtosecond laser, called the IntraLase, creates a very thin, precisely measured flap of corneal tissue or “epithelium”. This flap is folded back, and your personalised LASIK procedure is performed with the excimer laser. This is a cold laser that uses short, intense pulses of light to alter the corneal shape to match your refraction. The flap is then carefully repositioned into its original position, where it adheres securely and grows back together with the rest of the epithelium.

Flap is prepared > Tissue is removed > Flap is placed back in its original position and adheres on its own

2. TransPRK

TransPRK stands for Photorefractive Keratectomy and is very similar to LASIK, except that it is 100% completed by the Excimer laser.  Rather than creating a flap, the epithelium is precisely removed with the same laser used to treat your refraction (known as TransPRK). The excimer “cool” laser then, like as in LASIK, uses short, intense pulses of light to reshape the cornea to match your refraction. No instruments touch the eye in TransPRK and it is all performed in a single step. This substantially reduces total treatment time, but the recovery time is a slightly longer compared with LASIK to allow for the cornea to heal. Our laser at George St Eye Centre utilises the SmartSurf ACE technology, which uses an innovated 3D model of your cornea to optimise pulse distribution of the laser. This creates create a smoother corneal surface which assists with faster healing. Since the epithelium is like a skin layer, it naturally heals on its own. To assist with healing and comfort, you will have a bandage contact lens placed on your eye at the end of surgery, which we will remove for you 5 days later.


SMILE is not just what you will be doing after you have had laser eye surgery! SMILE is actually also a type of surgery, referring to Small Incision Lenticule Extraction. It is a bladeless, single-step, “keyhole”-like procedure. The femtosecond laser creates a 3mm opening inside the cornea, and a precise amount of corneal tissue is removed to correct for your vision. Since it is minimally invasive, recovery is very quick as there is less epithelial healing required in comparison to PRK.

In all types of surgery, the procedure only takes approximately 20 minutes from the time you step into the Laser suite.  It is done in our rooms. You will have a regime of antibiotic drops to reduce risk of infection, an anti-inflammatory drop and lots of lubricants to help with the healing process. 

Clearsight Eye and Laser Centre offers free laser assessments.  At this appointment, you will have the opportunity to discuss any questions you may have. Contact the team today on (02) 9649 5591 to discuss your treatment options.

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