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Smile with your eyes: all about laser eye surgery

Beatrice Smith

My only contact with laser eye surgery has been many years ago through the highly educational lens (sorry) of Sex and the City.

In this particular episode, Miranda gets LASIK (laser eye surgery) and hilarity ensues as she disregards the practitioner’s advice and attempts to get home post-surgery by herself.

Thankfully, 15 years on, laser eye surgery is less of a joke and even more technologically advanced. When I speak to Canberra Eye Laser’s Orthoptist and CEO Gabby Moreland, I find out that Miranda could have had LASIK surgery at CEL all those years ago – they’ve been offering the procedure since 1997.

“Canberra Eye Laser is a long established Canberra business,” says Gabby, “but it’s always been at the forefront of technology.”

LASIK is still offered at CEL, however, SMILE [Small Incision Lenticule Extraction] – a new way of correcting vision – is most popular now and even less invasive.

“SMILE is a revolutionary refractive technique available to correct eyesight,” says Gabby. “We’ve been using SMILE in Canberra for over three years now whereas it’s only just starting to be adopted in other capital cities around the country.”

“We’re an early adopter, an innovator in regards to new technology, but at the same time we’re very cautious and we don’t introduce technology that hasn’t been proven internationally.”

Gabby says this early adoption of SMILE has brought people from all over the country to Canberra for the technology, even a professor of Optometry.

“I guess from a local point of view it’s nice that Canberra is a leading destination in terms of medical options for people happy to travel interstate.”

Laser eye surgery has yielded incredible results for so many people since its inception, yet it still remains an unapproachable option for some who struggle with the concept of ‘safe’ lasers.

“Certainly the decision that precedes the surgery takes a lot of time,” agrees Gabby. “Once that seed has been planted, however, it’s usually up to two years before [a person] actually commits to having the technique done, because it is such a sensitive area.”

“When you have a normal, healthy eye that just requires glasses or contact lenses to see and you want to interfere with that normal healthy eye to remove that need, it’s a considerable decision, it does take time.”

“We counsel people not to take the decision lightly, we’re always cautious of people who are a little too keen to proceed without getting enough information.”

Canberra Eye Laser has now been operating for over 20 years and Gabby hopes they’ve become part of the fabric of their community.

“We’re proud Canberrans and word of mouth is very important to us. We have a solid consultancy process with our patients to make sure that we’re offering them solutions that will match their needs.”

Gabby says that CEL’s surgeons are local, which is important to both CEL’s place in the community and the level of support patients receive.

“If doctors are interstate the patients are not receiving the level of support they need, having surgeons here on the ground with the critical support team they have means that patients have continuity of care, which we think is really important when you’re making a big decision.”

“We employ optometrists and orthoptists who screen the patients early on to see if their eyes are suitable for surgery and to give them some basic information as to what the surgery is about.”

The CEL patients are then encouraged to take time to think over the decision and to come up with questions to ask the CEL staff to help inform their decision.

When deciding on surgery the patients have a choice, to meet the surgeon prior to the day of surgery or have a consultation on the day of surgery.

“They can have some time to get to know the surgeon, to put a face to the name, to talk a bit more about what their expectations are so we can make sure that the surgeons are really matching the technique with the patient’s needs, lifestyle and desired outcomes. An athlete for example, is going to have different needs to an accountant or an architect,” explains Gabby.

“The post-op care involves the whole team, starting with the care of the orthoptists and the optometrists. If they’re concerned about anything they’re straight back in consultation with the surgeon.”

“It’s so fulfilling that the patients have good outcomes,” says Gabby, “they come back the next day and bounce through the door, they make comments like ‘my vision is in high definition’ and ‘I didn’t realise you could see leaves on trees’.”

Gabby says the smiles on patient’s faces are worth the all the work preparing them for their surgery.

It is just so uplifting for us; to know that you’ve gone through the whole journey with the patient and at the end they’ve got the result they wanted and often better.”

If you’d like to find out more about Canberra Eye Laser and the services they offer, see their website for details.

This is a sponsored post however the author’s opinions are their own. To read more about our sponsored post policy, click here


Beatrice Smith

Bea loves that her job as HerCanberra’s Online Editor involves eating, drinking and interviewing people - sometimes simultaneously. The master of HerCanberra’s publishing schedule, she’s usually found hunched over a huge calendar muttering to herself about content balance. Otherwise, you’ll find her at the movies or ordering a cheese board. More about the Author

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