There is a bit to consider before making the choice of laser eye surgery. Here are some of the questions we have been asked.


Laser eye surgery is great for people wanting to gain their freedom from relying on glasses or contact lenses for good vision. It can be used to treat short-sightedness, long-sightedness, astigmatism, and the age-related need for reading glasses.
Surgery is suitable for most people over 20 years of age who have had a stable prescription (glasses or contact lenses) for the last two years.

Most patients with a stable prescription (glasses or contact lenses) are suitable for laser eye surgery.

If your eyes are not suitable ,other vision correction options may be available, including refractive lens exchange or implantable lenses. Once you have had your eyes checked at our free consultation clinic, a Southern Eye ophthalmologist will be able to correctly ascertain the best way forward and, at this time, discuss alternative treatment options.

Over time the lens inside our eye loses its flexibility. As a result, it becomes more difficult to focus back and forth between distance and near and often people will start to rely on reading glasses to see up close. This is called presbyopia. 

The good news is that there are laser eye surgery options that are designed to help people struggling with presbyopia and who would like to be less reliant on glasses.

Yes! It’s easy to book a free initial consultation for laser eye surgery at Southern Eye Specialists. Just click here.

That’s a good question. Laser eye surgery at Southern Eye Specialists costs $3550 per eye. The price is the same regardless of the type of laser procedure – which means that you have the procedure that best suits your needs rather than choosing due to cost. 

This price includes the laser eye surgery and all your required pre-operative and post-operative assessments. We also have finance options available. 

You do not have to stop wearing your contact lenses to attend your initial assessment, but you will need to remove them briefly during the assessment. Prior to your laser eye surgery consultation and the day of surgery you will have to revert to wearing your glasses for a short while. 

This is because contact lenses can ‘mould’ the corneal surface of your eye and alter the results of our scans. For your laser eye surgery to be as accurate as possible we need to ensure these scans are as accurate as possible.

The length of time you will need to not use contact lenses depends on the kind of lens. We will advise you of the timeframe during the initial free assessment.

Your laser eye surgery will take place in our state-of-the-art laser suite at Southern Eye Specialists. We are at 128 Kilmore Street in Christchurch (just down from the Town Hall). There is free carparking available.

Southern Eye Specialists is home to eleven highly skilled ophthalmologists. Each has had extensive training in both the overall field of eyecare and in their specific sub-specialities. Our laser sub-specialists are John Rawstron and Elizabeth Conner.

We do everything we can to help everyone in the South Island who needs laser eye surgery. Click here to book a Free Virtual Consult. Our team can also suggest different accommodation and travel options.


There’s nothing to worry about. Your experienced laser surgeon will assist you to position your eye correctly for the surgery. Our laser is equipped with exceptional eye tracking technology. This multi-spatial eye tracker has response times as quick as 2 milliseconds, allowing for tracking at speeds up to 10 times faster than natural eye movement. So, if you move, the laser moves with you.
Generally, patients will spend two hours here on the day of surgery. On arrival for the procedure, you will be provided with mild oral sedation and the opportunity to relax in our preoperative suite for approximately 20 minutes while this medication takes effect. The procedure itself varies depending on what type of treatment you are having, and each laser is only active for several seconds. You’ll then return to our post operative suite for recovery and instructions on post operative care.
Due to the anaesthetic eye drops and mild oral sedation, laser eye surgery is generally pain free and most patients are quite comfortable following treatment. There may be some mild discomfort in the early stages of healing, but this will depend on the treatment you have undergone. You will be provided with pain relief and eye drops to assist with any discomfort.


This depends on what type of laser surgery treatment you have undergone. Many patients see a significant improvement in their vision within 24-48 hours following surgery. Your surgeon will discuss recovery time with you to ensure you know what to expect on the day of surgery (and in the days after).
We schedule SMILE and LASIK surgeries on Thursdays which means most people can have a few quiet days and return to work after the weekend. The recovery time will be a little longer if you are having PRK.
This depends on the type of procedure you are having. For LASIK/SMILE surgery most people can drive 3-5 days after the procedure. For PRK you will need to wait 1-2 weeks after your surgery before driving.
Light activity can be resumed the day following surgery. It is best to avoid swimming for 2 weeks following surgery however, as this will reduce any risk of infection. Returning to contact sport will depend on the type of procedure you’ve had, and your surgeon will discuss this in detail with you at your laser assessment.
We generally advise patients to avoid wearing eye makeup for seven days following their surgery. It is also important to ensure that all makeup is removed prior to your laser eye surgery.

That depends.
Could you play it before surgery?


This is eye surgery that uses a laser to reshape your cornea, which is the transparent, curved window at the front of the eye. After your visit to our free consultation clinic one of our specialists will determine the best treatment option for you.
Laser eye surgery is highly effective. For 96% of patients, laser eye surgery is successful in achieving their desired result in one treatment. A small number of patients will need a second adjustment.
Laser eye surgery permanently changes the shape of your cornea. That means it permanently corrects your current level of myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism. There is no way of predicting whether your eyesight will change naturally over time. If your vision was always going to naturally change the laser eye surgery does not account for that change.

The most well-known form of laser eye surgery is LASIK (laser in-situ keratomileusis). During LASIK, the surgeon uses a femtosecond laser to create a very thin corneal flap, about a tenth of a millimetre thick. The surgeon then lifts this corneal flap and uses a second (excimer) laser to sculpt the bed of the cornea. When the surgeon puts the corneal flap back, the cornea takes on this new shape.

SMILE (which stands for Small Incision Lenticule Extraction) differs from LASIK in that the surgeon does not need to create a flap in the cornea. Instead, a femtosecond laser is used to create a tiny tunnel, through which the surgeon draws out a minuscule amount of corneal tissue (less than 1/100th of the width of a human hair).

PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) involves removing the surface layer of the cornea (the epithelium), and then treating the exposed area underneath with a laser. It is often used for patients with a thin cornea who are not suitable for LASIK or SMILE. After surgery a soft contact lens bandage is applied. This is worn for a few days until the epithelium (the surface layer of the cornea) heals. Vision improves slowly over two to four weeks.

Laser eye surgery is most effective if it is performed once the eye has stabilised with age. This usually occurs around the age of 20 years old.
No, patients over 50 with age-based presbyopia can benefit from laser eye surgery. Lens-based surgery (refractive lens exchange) is another great option for people with presbyopia. We can discuss both options with you at your free assessment.
Pregnancy can change the way your body heals, and it can also change the tissues inside the cornea (the transparent, curved window at the front of the eye that is treated with the laser). Therefore, it’s best to wait until your glasses or contact lens prescription has stabilised again following pregnancy before undertaking laser eye surgery.