SMILE is running on a femtosecond laser to reshape the cornea. This femtosecond laser is an extremely short-pulsed, near infrared laser often also used to create a LASIK flap. The laser’s high peak intensity over a very short pulse duration (within a few femtoseconds of time) allows it to create micro-precision single holes (bubbles) that forms together cuts or planes in the corneal tissue without affecting the surrounding tissue.
It takes less than 30 seconds for the laser to create a small lens-shaped piece of corneal tissue (called the lenticule) inside the cornea. The surgeon then removes the lenticule through a small incision outer part of the eye. This reshapes the cornea and corrects the refractive error.
Myopia (nearsightedness) & Astigmatism for now.
Hyperopia (farsightedness) will be treatable very soon.
The lack of flap creation in SMILE has some benefits, such as less risk of dry eye or flap complications. However, patients may have a slightly longer trajectory to full visual recovery after SMILE vs. LASIK.
Ultimately, both SMILE and LASIK are safe procedures.
The FDA has approved LASIK eye surgery for those 18 years and older, but most surgeon will encourage patients to wait until 21 years of age.
Initial Recovery from Surgery:
For SMILE patients, vision will be blurry right after surgery and they will not be able to see clearly. However, the blur should improve in 2 – 3 days for most patients, and vision should be clear enough to be able to go back to work.
Full Visual Recovery:
Full visual recovery, where your vision has totally stabilised and your eyes are consistently seeing very clearly, takes 1 – 2 months (patients with high myopia may take up to 3 months).