ReLEx SMILE: A minimally-invasive treatment for short-sightedness.
London Vision Clinic was the first clinic in the UK to offer ReLEx SMILE – a flap-less form of Laser Eye Surgery.
ReLEx SMILE can be used to treat short-sighted patients, and often those with very high prescriptions, drier eyes, contact lens intolerance, and / or thinner corneas.
The procedure was pioneered by Carl Zeiss Meditec, whom Professor Reinstein consults for. The revolutionary technique effectively turns Laser Eye Surgery into a keyhole procedure.
The ReLEx procedure: How it works
ReLEx SMILE (often known simply as SMILE, which stands for Small Incision Lenticule Extraction) is, by its less invasive nature, a method that allows correction of even higher myopic prescriptions than previously treatable by standard LASIK Laser Eye Surgery.
During the procedure, eye anaesthetic drops are used to completely numb the eye, and the state-of-the-art Carl Zeiss VisuMax laser places a series of precise pulses in the centre of the cornea with extraordinary 3D placement accuracy. These pulses form bubbles that are less than 1/100th the width of a human hair, and which outline the tissue that needs to be removed to effectively change the shape of the cornea.
The laser then creates a tiny connecting tunnel through which the surgeon draws out this tissue.
With ReLEx SMILE, no flap is created, so the healing time is faster than conventional LASIK. The procedure takes a matter of minutes, and the vision is 80% better instantly and reaches 100% within a few days (according to trials conducted on over 1,000 patients between the UK, Germany, France and Denmark).
No other laser platform has been able to match the accuracy of the Carl Zeiss VisuMax (which is accurate enough to inscribe a word on a grain of sand) in performing this keyhole type of Laser Eye Surgery.
Who is ReLEx most suitable for?
ReLEx SMILE is most suitable for short-sighted patients, especially those who may have been told they were not candidates for Laser Eye Surgery because of thin corneas, dry eyes, or contact lens intolerance.
“Several great advances come from not having to create a flap or disturb the front of the cornea; the level of correction can be much higher without weakening the cornea, and people who are contact lens intolerant can now be candidates as there is little or no dry eye after ReLEx,” says Professor Reinstein.
Differences between ReLEx and LASIK
ReLEx represents the beginning of a new era in refractive surgery, on the grounds of its significant advantages in the patient’s comfort. Because there is no need to pass from one instrument to another – as in the LASIK procedure – there is no need for the patient to change their position. This is the main reason why the procedure only takes a few minutes.
“Not only is the patient experience greatly enhanced, as there is less surgical manipulation of the eye – making it less invasive than traditional laser eye surgery – but it also makes vision correction available to people who would have previously been told that they were unsuitable candidates. It’s a major development.” ~ Professor Dan Reinstein
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