Will LASIK Eye Surgery Be Replaced With SMILE?
LASIK has been around for 25 years and has allowed millions of people around the globe to experience freedom from glasses and contacts. The technology in the field of vision correction is ever evolving and improving and we are happy to report that in 2018 greater than 95% of patients achieve 20/20 vision after surgery.
One of the newest innovations in corrective eye surgery is ReLEx SMILE. Like LASIK, SMILE uses femtosecond laser technology which alters the shape of the cornea to improve vision. The difference lies in how the tissue is removed. LASIK is performed by making a “flap” on the surface of the eye allowing a laser to reshape the underlying tissue. The flap is then laid back down at the end of the treatment. In SMILE no “flap” is created. Instead the laser does all of the reshaping inside the cornea. The tissue is then removed through a small 2 mm laser incision. Hence giving rise to the nickname “keyhole LASIK”. SMILE is a minimally invasive procedure and may offer certain patients some advantages such as less dry eye over the first 3 to 6 months. Also, due to its key-hole nature it may be used to treat a higher range of prescriptions.
SMILE was first approved in 2010 and in 2012 we felt the technology was ready for mainstream use. We, at London Vision Clinic, were the first clinic in the UK to offer this technology to patients. The number or SMILE procedures continues to grow worldwide and there have now been more than 1 million procedures performed by nearly 800 clinics across the world offering the treatment. In 2018 we published the authoritative textbook on SMILE which solidifies this technologies place in refractive surgery clinics.
While the SMILE procedure gives us another technology to add to our range of treatment options, we have to remember there is no one single treatment that is best for everyone. Our surgeons and their team of optometrists will perform an in-depth evaluation on every patient and make the final decision as to which procedure is best.