Lasik vs Smile
Newer doesn’t always mean better.
My old worn-at-the-seams Converse are more comfortable than an unused, stiff and nice smelling pair. My sister’s scraggy stuffed lamb is more meaningful to her than a clean and factory-fresh newborn. Even the new Nokia 3310 has nothing on the modest brick, that is the original.
But for some things, you don’t want the dusty antique of yesterday; you want the latest, greatest, shiniest, and most up-to-date version. The model that was made to beat all other models and incorporates the most cutting-edge and sophisticated technology, we have at our disposal.
Granted, most of the time it’s just not that important. A car that’s two years old isn’t going to differ much in terms of safety and performance from the latest model. An old Victorian house is often just as structurally sound as it’s contemporary equivalent (if not more so). But when it comes to things like Laser Eye Surgery that have a direct impact on your health, it pays to seek out what’s new.
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For decades LASIK has been the king of Laser Eye Surgery. But it’s not like it hit the scene and said ‘I’m perfect’ and stopped evolving (like many monarchs). What’s given the technique such longevity is its continual effort to upgrade its systems and equipment to integrate the latest technology.
That being said, LASIK is limited in its approach. The technique, laser in situ keratomileusis — which literally means to create a flap — is based on the use of a microkeratome or femtosecond laser to form a hinged flap in the outer layer of the cornea. Through this ultra-thin window, the surgeon accesses the material underneath and performs the treatment, before folding it back to its original position.
While LASIK was still busy making flaps, technology and knowledge moved on. It’s now possible today to access the material in the corneal bed with a ‘flap-less’, key-hole procedure, and the use of just one laser.
ReLEx SMILE or SMILE employs the Carl Zeiss VisuMax laser and the process of lenticule extraction to access and remove microscopic amounts of tissue from the cornea. The state-of-the-art laser places a series of pulses on the outer layer of the cornea, forming bubbles less than 1/100th of the width of a human hair and outlining the tissue that needs to be removed. It then creates a tiny connecting tunnel through which the surgeon draws out the defined tissue.
Due to the minimally-invasive nature and the incredible precision of SMILE, the procedure has opened up Laser Eye Surgery to patients with very high prescriptions, drier eyes, and thinner corneas. What’s more, because there are no moving parts, the healing time is shorter than that of conventional LASIK and the temporary side effects (dry eye, night glare) are minimal.
If Laser Eye Surgery techniques were car engines, then LASIK would be petrol-powered and SMILE electric. Petrol is still king in terms of popularity and cost, but it’s only a matter of time before the more efficient and better-performing SMILE steals the crown.
That being said, there are cases where LASIK may be the better option for some. Your surgeon will be able to advise you after a thorough screening regime as to which procedure may offer you the best possible outcomes.
If you’d like to find out more about ReLEx SMILE or book a consultation, call or message one of our friendly Patient Care Coordinators today.