2022 Update: What’s the latest laser eye surgery technology?

Hi, it’s Dr. Russell from VSON. When I tell people I’m a LASIK surgeon, some ask me: “What’s the latest laser eye surgery technology?”

The first generation of laser eye surgery (PRK)

Before LASIK, surgeons offered PRK. You can still have PRK today, and many surgeons still only offer PRK. TransPRK is an evolution of PRK, with specific advantages over PRK. Still, PRK or TransPRK is a surface procedure. Surface procedures tend to bring postoperative discomfort to patients.

Thus, scientists and engineers invented LASIK, which avoided the wound created by surface procedures and instead enabled surgeons to access the treatment area with a corneal flap.

The second generation of laser eye surgery (LASIK)

With every year that passes, laser eye surgery technology continues to improve. Let’s take LASIK for example, this procedure has been around for over 20 years, and technology and methods have improved significantly in this time.

Ultimately, more improved tools mean better LASIK results. Originally, surgeons used an excimer laser, approved by the FDA in 1995, to perform the ever-so intricate procedure of cutting the corneal flap. An eye-tracking feature made this tool much more efficient and safe.

However, in 2001, the first femtosecond laser was approved in the U.S. This then became the preferred tool for LASIK because it avoided the use of a mechanical blade (i.e. a microkeratome).

The femtosecond procedure improved reliability and decreased the risk of blade-related complications (i.e. infection), compared to the blade-based procedure. A cataract surgeon can also use a femtosecond laser to perform a cleaner, more precise procedure (which we call laser-assisted cataract surgery).

Two years later, Wavefront LASIK became available. The evaluation included more complex characteristics of a patient’s eye, and 3D mapping allowed doctors to customise procedures.

The third generation of laser eye surgery (lenticule extraction)

The third-generation of laser eye surgery is lenticule extraction. SmartSight – a tradename for lenticule extraction) has significant advantages for specific people, which we will discuss, and it is an excellent option for most people considering laser vision correction.

SmartSight is the most advanced form of laser vision correction and is an improvement upon LASIK and its predecessor, SMILE. The best way to think about SmartSight is to think of it as keyhole LASIK.

Just like other laser vision-correcting treatments, we use a laser to reshape the cornea to correct the focus system of the eye and eliminate the prescription. Instead of creating a flap, the laser creates a very thin lens-shaped layer of corneal tissue, a lenticule, which we remove through a keyhole incision that is only 2 mm wide.

Compared to LASIK, where the incision length of 23mm, the SmartSight incision is less than 10%. That’s a big difference and translates into many benefits of SmartSight over LASIK.

What Does the Future of Laser Eye Surgery Look Like?

Over the past two decades, laser eye surgery has improved immensely. Elective surgery accounted for the largest share of elective procedures in 2010. The results of laser eye surgery are satisfactory for about 95% of patients.

The appeal and reliability of laser eye surgery will continue to improve as tools and methods improve. For those who want better vision without wearing glasses or contacts, this is a great choice.

But first, we recommend you attend a free assessment to first determine your suitability. Schedule a free assessment at VSON here.

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“Very friendly and professional staff. Dr Russell is extremely informative and has a really positive presence. The doctor and all of the staff ensured all my questions were answered fully. I left the surgery feeling as if I’d been really well cared for.”

Suzanne Cooper
“The staff are all friendly and helpful.”
Alana Jenkins
“Dr. Russell and the entire team should be commended for their genuine care and personal attention. They made every possible effort to explain and clarify the treatment required and made sure I was comfortable through the consultation treatment.”
Xerxes Meher

“I was very impressed with the way they run things. It is a well-oiled machine. Everyone knew exactly what they were doing and were very friendly. To top it off, my treatment was excellent.”

Iris Van Quickelberghe
“Dr. Russell is my hubby’s specialist for years. We love him. Such a kind person and always spends time to explain everything.”
Zita Farczadi Kershaw
“Highly recommended. They are always helpful and friendly and the outcomes have been beyond my expectations.”
Brad Gooda

“Many thanks for your care and skill and a big thanks to all your staff for their friendly care and professionalism shown each time I have visited.”

Henry Ellison

“My wife came to see Dr Russell today and we wanted to say thank you to all the staff for the kind and professional service. We are also extremely grateful for Dr Russell’s generosity when it came to us paying for the consultation. We wanted to reach out and say thank you so much!”

Troy and Liana Todd

We have replaced the images of real patients who provided these testimonials to protect their privacy.


The best way to find out if lens surgery is right for you is to have an in-person assessment. You’ll get a clear answer from our experts on your suitability and vision correction options


Dr. Matthew Russell


Laser eye and cataract surgery specialist

With over 15 years of experience, I enjoy the privilege of helping patients of all ages reclaim clear vision or preserve it for as long as possible.

Vision correction and high-precision cataract surgery hinge on the expertise and skill set of the provider who also has access to the most precise tools for the job. Ophthalmic surgeons like me know how to make treatment safe, comfortable and positive for the patient. They know how to minimise the risk of complications and maximise successful outcomes.

I understand that medical and surgical eye care is a serious undertaking. I take the time to address whatever questions and concerns you might have. I believe everyone’s eyes are unique and require a customised solution tailored to your needs and goals.

My combination of education, training and experience positions me to provide optimal results for patients of all ages. I have a passion for helping my patients enjoy the clear, high-definition vision they need to live rich and active lives. Now, I have hand-picked a team of professionals that share my passion and commitment to exceptional care.

More about Dr. Russell