Will LASIK Eye Surgery Be Replaced With SMILE?

LASIK has been around for 25 years. In that time, it has allowed millions of people around the globe to experience freedom from glasses and contacts.

However, the technology in the field of vision correction is ever evolving and is thus improving all the time. It also varies between clinics, with more than 95 percent of patients in 2018 at London Vision Clinic achieving 20/20 vision after surgery.

One of the newest innovations in corrective eye surgery is ReLEx SMILE, or SMILE for short. Like LASIK, SMILE uses femtosecond laser technology to alter the shape of the cornea and improve your vision.

The difference lies in how the tissue is removed. LASIK works by making a “flap” on the surface of the eye to allow a laser to reshape the underlying tissue. At the end of the treatment, a bit like shutting a door, the flap is returned to its original position.

In SMILE, no flap is needed. Instead, the laser does all of the reshaping inside the cornea, with the tissue being removed through a tiny laser incision in the side. Hence why SMILE is often called “keyhole LASIK”.

All in all, SMILE turns Laser Eye Surgery into a minimally invasive procedure that can offer certain patients several advantages such as a higher chance of suitability and a much lower chance of experiencing post-op dry eye. One particular benefit, due to its key-hole nature, is that it may be used to treat a higher range of prescriptions that what is typically deemed possible.

SMILE was first approved in 2010 and, in 2012, we felt the technology was ready for mainstream use. London Vision Clinic was the first Laser Eye Surgery clinic in the UK to offer this revolutionary new procedure 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 around the world.

“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,”  —Professor Dan Reinstein.

In 2018, we published the authoritative textbook on SMILE which solidifies this technologies place in refractive surgery clinics and the evolution of the Laser Eye Surgery industry. 

While SMILE offers a quicker and more comfortable procedure to add to our range of treatment options, it’s still not the one best solution for everyone. For that, it is key to undergo an in-depth evaluation with skilled surgeons and the most cutting-edge tech.

If you’re interested in hearing more about the SMILE and would like to find out if you’re suitable for treatment, contact one of our friendly clinic coordinators today.