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There are many different types of laser, specifically designed for different parts of the eye. Don't take what one person says about laser and apply it to all types of eye laser! Sometimes laser is done to enhance vision and other times it is done to save the vision; here are just a few of the uses that we have on offer:

Laser cataract surgery: the latest in cataract treatment

  • Role: removing the natural lens/cataract so that a new lens can be inserted to restore the vision
  • Pain level: can have a pressure feeling at the time but anaesthetic including sedation is used for the surgery anyway so there shouldn't be any sesnsation in the eye at the time of laser. 
  • When and where: it takes around 2 minutes to do and the procedure is performed in theatre
  • Cost: $500 to $1000 out of pocket expense per eye (no covered by Medicare or Private Health Insurance)
  • Repeat treatment: cataract never recurs

Nd:YAG capsulotomy

  • Role: cleaning scar tissue from behind the intraocular lens
  • Pain level: completely painless, in fact you do not feel anything at all and no anaesthetic is required
  • When and where: it takes around 1 minute to do and the procedure is performed in the clinic
  • Cost: most of the fee (if not all) will be covered by Medicare
  • Repeat treatment: rarely required

SLT (Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty)

  • Role: lowers the intraocular pressure and may reduce the need for eye drops in patients with glaucoma. See diagram below.
  • Pain level: mild pain at the time and mild ache thereafter for a few hours (sometimes); anaesthetic drops are used at the time
  • When and where: it takes around 5 minutes to do and the procedure is performed in the clinic
  • Cost: most of the fee (if not all) will be covered by Medicare
  • Repeat treatment: required every 2 years on average

SLT-Treatment-Image

Peripheral Iridotomy (Nd:YAG or Argon-Green)

  • Role: used to prevent some forms of acute glaucoma (particularly in long sighted patients)
  • Pain level: moderate pain at the time (like a jolt felt inside the eye) and mild ache thereafter for a few hours (sometimes); anaesthetic drops are used at the time
  • When and where: it takes around 5 minutes to do and the procedure is performed in the clinic
  • Cost: most of the fee (if not all) will be covered by Medicare
  • Repeat treatment: rarely required  

Laser Treatment For Diabetic Retinopathy

  • Role: treating the macular in mild to moderate cases and the peripheral retina in severe cases of diabetic eye disease  
  • Pain level: no pain for most macular treatments; moderate to high level of pain for peripheral retinal laser - sometimes requires an injection near the eye to numb the area
  • When and where: 5 minutes for macular treatment; 15 to 30 minutes for peripheral retinal treatment; usually performed in the clinic
  • Cost: most of the fee (if not all) will be covered by Medicare
  • Repeat treatment: macular laser may need repeating 3 or 4 times per eye; peripheral laser is usually performed over 2 to 4 sessions per eye. 

Retinal laser for peripheral retinal tears or breaks

  • Role: like spot welding to prevent fluid getting in under the retina and therefore preventing retinal detachment. 
  • Pain level: moderate level of pain for peripheral retinal laser but rarely requires anything more than anaesthetic eyedrops
  • When and where: takes around 5 to 10 minutes and is performed in the clinic
  • Cost: most of the fee (if not all) will be covered by Medicare
  • Repeat treatment: rarely requires repeat treatment if the initial treatment is sufficient.