Frequently Asked Questions

How do I make an Appointment?

You can request an appointment, or simply receive further information, by completing our online form. One of our specialist staff will contact you to arrange a personal assessment of your eyes and discuss which treatment options are available to you. If you require an urgent consultation, please phone our clinic during office hours.

If you do not wish to use the online form, but would like to request an information pack - please contact us via phone or email.


Who do I see at my Initial Consultation?

Our doctors are supported by a team of expert optometrists who will initially assess your individual needs with the latest technology and procedures. Our Eye & Laser Centre optometrists will ensure your prescription is accurate and up-to-date before determining which treatment is right for you.


What Happens During my Initial Consultation?

Our advanced technology will analyse the different aspects of your eye. A Pentacam scan will measure the shape, curvature and thickness of your corneas.  It also checks the density of your natural lens for any cataract development. A wavefront analyser will look for any natural distortion in your vision which can be used to perform a personalised (wavefront guided) treatment if required.

These tests will allow our experts to select the appropriate treatment for your eye condition. At this assessment you will be given full details of the recommended procedure including how it is performed, any risks associated with the procedure and the cost of the procedure.

Allow approximately one hour for this appointment and arrange for someone to drive you if possible, as your tests may require dilation drops. You will need to cease contact lens wear prior to your appointment (3 days prior for soft contact lenses and 3 weeks prior for rigid contact lenses).


What do I Bring to my First Appointment?

Your prescription glasses or copy of your current prescription, referral letter and a list of any current medications. It’s important you make the most of your initial consultation. One size does not fit all - our optometrists will need to provide a thorough, individual assessment of your eyes.


Do I Need to Have a GP Referral for an Appointment?

A referral is usually required to see one of our expert eye specialists. This can be from your general practitioner, optometrist or other specialist. However, if you are coming in for a laser vision assessment or refractive consultation, a referral isn't necessary.


Where is the Surgery Done?

Both the consultation and surgery are performed at the Eye & Laser Centre in Southport on the Gold Coast. Our centre was the first in South-East Queensland to provide the latest state-of-the-art laser technology, and our facilities ensure maximum patient comfort.

Level 4, 2 Short Street, Southport


Is Laser Eye Surgery Covered by Medicare or my Private Health Insurer?

Medicare does not rebate any of the cost of laser eye surgery, however some private insurers offer rebates. We know that surgery can be quite an out of pocket expense, so we do offer interest free payment plans - we can explain more when you come in for your obligation free assessment. Laser vision correction is a life-changing procedure - and we pride ourselves on understanding our patients’ lifestyle and occupational needs.


Is SMILE Right for me?

As with other vision correction options, Eye & Laser Centre recommend a thorough assessment to determine which method of laser eye surgery is suitable for you. We can tell you that SMILE is suited to many of our patients and is a popular choice due to the fact there is little downtime, and vision is sharper and clearer much sooner. SMILE has recently become the procedure of choice for those who qualify due to its excellent safety profile.


Is LASIK Right for me?

These days, there are a range of laser eye surgery techniques, each suited to different eye conditions. LASIK is the most widely performed treatment, however, your eyes may be more suited to another eye procedure. LASIK has a broad treatment range with a demonstrated rapid recovery of vision. The best way to determine if LASIK is the right procedure for you is for you to book a consultation with one of our eye specialists who will assess your condition and advise you on the right laser eye surgery for you.


Is PRK right for me?

PRK (also known as ASLA) is a great vision correction alternative for patients who do not qualify for either SMILE or LASIK. Although recovery time is somewhat longer for PRK recipients than other methods, it is usually a much better option for those who have particularly thin corneas. You should consult with your Eye & Laser Centre ophthalmologist about which vision correction procedure would be best suited to your unique needs.


I'm Over 40 and Wear Glasses, is Refractive Lens Exchange Right for me?

The short answer is yes. When we’re young, our lens is flexible and we can change focus in an instant from distance to near, but as we pass our mid-40s the lens hardens and the ability to focus up close, rapidly diminishes. As we head into our 50s the lens not only loses its ability to focus up close but the distance focus becomes blurry as well. By replacing this changing lens - Dr Howes has performed thousands of these surgeries - it’s highly probable that upon the patient’s request, we can remove the burden of wearing glasses for the rest of their lives.


What's the Difference Between Lens Exchange and Cataract Surgery?

Refractive lens exchange is carried out to free the patient from ever having to wear glasses again. The aging lens in their eye is replaced with a younger and fitter lens, so to speak. When someone requires cataract surgery, their lenses have become clouded with cataracts and they can no longer see as well as they used to. This is also treatable by replacing the patient’s lens - the main difference is the patient may still need to wear glasses following this cataract surgery.