Why is SMILE such a good option?

laser eye surgery equipment

You may have heard that LASIK is the king of Laser Eye Surgery — the gold standard in refractive correction; or even that it’s the most popular and effective treatment for common conditions like short and long sightedness.

And all this is true. But like all great things, technology and techniques continue to improve and the latest femtosecond lasers have enabled an alternative to LASIK, a new form of Laser Eye Surgery: ReLEx SMILE.

What’s so special about SMILE?

LASIK involves creating a flap in the cornea to get to the permanent tissue underneath and requires the surgeon to switch between lasers or instruments during the procedure. Thanks to new technology, in particular the Carl Zeiss VisuMax Femtosecond laser, it can now be performed with just one laser.

What’s more, the incredible precision of the VisuMax laser means the permanent tissue can be accessed via a tiny connecting tunnel, rather than a flap, like in LASIK, or by displacing the epithelium, like in LASEK/PRK.

This sounds all well and good but what does it all mean for the patient? Why is SMILE such a good option over other types of Laser Eye Surgery?

Well, there are a bunch of reasons, but here are the three big ones:

SMILE Leaves the cornea intact

It’s widely understood that the strongest layers of the cornea are those closest to the surface. Due to the minimally invasive nature of SMILE, this area remains relatively undisturbed, and therefore more strength is retained in the cornea after surgery compared to a flap-based procedure like LASIK.

SMILE Treats more patients

“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

One common side effect of Laser Eye Surgery is dry eye. For most people, this means little more than avoiding screens for 24 hours and using lubricated eye drops for a short period. However, for some patients who already suffer from corneal dryness, it can be more of an issue.

Because fewer nerve fibres are disrupted during SMILE, dry eye symptoms take less time to resolve compared to after LASIK.

This, of course, improves the post-op experience and opens up Laser Eye Surgery to more people, including those with a history of dry eye and who’re contact lens intolerant.

What’s more, SMILE can safely go beyond the boundaries of flap-based Laser Eye Surgery and treat even higher myopic prescriptions than previously thought possible.


Interested in learning more about SMILE? Leave us a comment or book a consultation today and speak with one of our Patient Care Coordinators.