Does no flap laser eye surgery exist?

Hi, it’s Dr. Russell from VSON. When I tell people I’m a LASIK surgeon; some ask me: “Does no flap laser eye surgery exist?”

The simple answer: YES. Flapless eye surgery does exist. There are two known types of flapless eye surgery: surface procedures (i.e. PRK and TransPRK) and lenticule extraction procedures (i.e. SmartSight).

To flap or not to flap. That is the question.

The primary difference between the flap and non-flap procedures is whether we create a corneal flap.

So, a corneal flap is a primary difference between these two procedures.

During LASIK, we fold back the corneal flap, reshape the corneal tissue, and then reposition the flap.

While, during a non-flap procedure, such as SmartSight, there is no need to create a flap. Instead, lasers produce a lenticule, which the surgeon removes through a keyhole corneal incision.

The benefits of going flapless

SmartSight brings with it many benefits. For instance, SmartSight’s minimally invasive approach to surgery reduces the length of treatment time and can help reduce dry eye. That said, LASIK is still a trusted and extremely popular procedure.

The benefits of flaps versus surface procedures

The popular procedures LASIK, PRK and TransPRK, have exceptionally high success rates and low complications, but SmartSight offers specific advantages that the procedures before it did not.

One of the reasons LASIK is so popular is because vision improvement occurs right after surgery, which is immediate. In contrast, vision may take longer to stabilise after surface procedures can take a lot longer (depending on the individual, it could be days, weeks or months).

Furthermore, patients report discomfort after surface procedures while the wound heals.

It’s also worth noting that patients with extremely thin corneas may not have enough corneal tissue for the surgeon to create the flap, as the flap requires the creation of a tiny layer of corneal tissue.

What’s the flap about?

There’s no right or wrong answer here. The main thing is that we choose a surgery that will benefit you most. You can get a hint of that with a self-test, and we can establish our recommendation after an assessment.

To learn more about laser eye surgery, or if you have any questions, 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

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The best way to find out if eye treatment 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.

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