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Focus on laser eye surgery: Part 3


The pre-surgical consultation

The pre-surgical consultation

We continue our series of articles discussing common questions about laser eye surgery.

Here we explain what happens at the pre-surgical consultation.

This consultation is necessary to confirm if you are suitable for laser eye surgery and which procedure is most appropriate for you. Remember to let your doctor know of any eye-related health issues, together with more general health concerns or problems. Also specify what medications, if any, you take on a regular basis, as well as medications you may be allergic to.

At your pre-surgical assessment, you will undergo a comprehensive eye examination so that your doctor can evaluate your vision and establish whether you are suitable for laser eye surgery. This includes several easy and painless tests such as vision and prescription testing, an eye pressure test and a dilated eye exam.

Your doctor can then assess the health of your eyes and confirm your degree of refractive error – you will know this as your glasses prescription. He/she will also evaluate the shape, contour and thickness of your cornea, as well as any irregularities.

This information will be used to determine the laser eye surgery procedure most appropriate for your situation and the precise amount of corneal tissue that needs to be removed to bring your vision back to normal (or as close as possible).

LASIK is suitable for patients with regular-shaped corneas and adequate corneal thickness. It can be used to treat short-sightedness, long-sightedness and astigmatism.

SMILE® is an alternative procedure for patients with regular-shaped corneas. It is particularly suited to patients with a high degree of short-sightedness (myopia) and is also suitable for patients with astigmatism.

ASLA (also known as PRK) may be the recommended treatment if your corneas are irregular or too thin.

The risks and benefits of laser eye surgery, as well as details of the specific procedure you will undergo, will be discussed at this consultation. This is also an opportunity for you to ask your doctor any questions about the surgery, and clarify your expectations.

Related posts:

SMILE® is a registered trademark of Carl Zeiss Meditec


  1. Choice. A guide to laser eye surgery. NSW, 11 August 2020. Available at https://www.choice.com.au/health-and-body/optical-and-hearing/optical/articles/guide-to-laser-eye-surgery [Accessed 6 January 2021].
  2. Lawless M. Refractive Laser Surgery: Who’s Interested Now? mivision 2019;141:33–37.
  3. Wilkinson JM, Cozine EW, Kahn AR. Refractive Eye Surgery: Helping Patients Make Informed Decisions About LASIK. Am Fam Physician 2017;95(10):637–44.
  4. Somani SN, Moshirfar M, Patel BC. Photorefractive Keratectomy. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island, FL: StatPearls Publishing; 2020.
  5. Chan C, Lawless M, Sutton G, Versace P, Hodge C. Small incision lenticule extraction (SMILE) in 2015. Clin Exp Optom 2016;99(3):204–12.

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The information on this page is general in nature. All medical and surgical procedures have potential benefits and risks. Consult your ophthalmologist for specific medical advice.

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