Evening Standard: ‘Star Trek’ Surgery Restores The Eyesight Of Near-Blind Patients

The innovative ReLEx SMILE procedure has now been available at London Vision Clinic for over ten years! Having once been likened to “something out of Star Trek”, this ‘keyhole’ surgery has revolutionised Laser Eye Surgery over the last decade, bringing clear vision to more people than ever before.

SMILE (Small Incision Lenticule Extraction) involves making a small incision (no more than 3mm) on the surface of the cornea. Through this ‘keyhole’, our surgeons are able to reshape the corneal bed in less than five minutes.

With the help of a microscope and the state-of-the-art Carl Zeiss VisuMax laser, surgeons can effectively treat patients with even thin corneas, dry eye, and very high prescriptions. SMILE has helped people who wear “milk-bottle” glasses and those with -10 vision and worse.

One of the surgeons who pioneered this procedure is our very own Professor Dan Reinstein:

“This is a keyhole version of a procedure which has already been done 35 million times called LASIK.

“In LASIK, a thin shaving of the front of the cornea is cut and the flap is lifted out of the way to gain access to the inside of the cornea. In SMILE we are doing the same tissue removal but without any flap.”

Professor Reinstein explains that the technique could help up to 100,000 people who had previously been told they are unsuitable for Laser Eye Surgery:

“What’s available now is very safe but it has limitations and inconveniences such as dry eye, which most people get for a month but some people for up to a year,” he said.

“Smile can be offered to many people whose dry eye makes them unsuitable for traditional Laser Eye Surgery because we are no longer cutting the surface of the eye and therefore we are not disturbing the nerves at the front of the cornea.”

Professor Reinstein added: “Stereo-tactic neurosurgery or heart transplants, or sewing someone’s hand back on – these are all very fine microsurgical procedures, but compared with those procedures this is nano-surgery.

“It is like you go down to surgery on the Star Trek Enterprise and you come back without glasses.”

‘Life-Transforming’ Operation

Mischa Hunt – underwent a ‘life transforming’ operation at London Vision Clinic

One patient who has benefited from ReLEx SMILE is Mischa Hunt. Having undergone Laser Eye Surgery as an 18-year-old business management student, Mischa says that the procedure has transformed her life.

Mischa’s vision began to deteriorate when she was just 8 years old, leaving her extremely short-sighted.

Miss Hunt, from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, said: “I never went into it expecting perfect vision but I have, which is pretty amazing. I used not to be able to get out of bed in the morning without putting my glasses on.

“I couldn’t see a thing. If I was trying to read something it would have to be a couple of inches away from my face.”

Mischa is now one of the millions around the world that have been given clearer sight, thanks to SMILE. With more people than ever now suitable for Laser Eye Surgery, it could help you too.

To find out more about your options, Book a Consultation or give us a call on 020 7224 1005.

Our Fees start from £5,500 for standard treatment. Higher or very complex prescriptions may cost up to £6,900. Flexible finance makes the best more affordable: Choose payments from £56 per month, or a low 10% upfront. Payment plans from one to five years are available including a 24-month interest-free option. Read more.