How Does SMILE Eye Surgery Work?

Blurry vision can be frustrating, especially when you need to see clearly but do not have your glasses or contact lenses available. See better even without your corrective lenses with SMILE eye surgery. This procedure corrects refractive errors such as astigmatism and nearsightedness, even for many people who should not have other types of laser eye surgery. 

What is SMILE Eye Surgery?

Laser eye surgery, which includes procedures like LASIK, uses a laser for vision correction. SMILE (small incision lenticule extraction) uses a laser to improve your vision by changing the angle of light entering your eyes. In your eyes, clear structures called the lens and cornea focus light on the back of the eye. SMILE changes the shape of your corneas, so your brain receives a clear image. While you may be more familiar with LASIK, SMILE is an excellent option for many people who want to improve their vision. 

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How Does SMILE Eye Surgery Work?

Your eyes are numbed before SMILE, preventing you from feeling any discomfort. A computer-guided femtosecond laser is used to create a disc of corneal tissue (the lenticule) inside the cornea through a tiny keyhole incision. The shape of the lenticule is precisely controlled, and only as much tissue is removed as necessary to achieve the desired shape. 

A 2-4mm incision is made in the epithelium, the outer layer of the cornea, and the lenticule is extracted, leaving a reshaped cornea that focuses light correctly. No sutures are required, and the incision starts to heal almost immediately. The entire appointment usually takes about 20 minutes, with the actual laser only taking about 30 seconds per eye. You can leave shortly after SMILE, but you will need someone to drive you home. 

What is Recovery Like After SMILE Eye Surgery?

When you leave your appointment, you may have blurry vision, glare around lights, or sensitivity. We will prescribe eye drops to protect your eyes and decrease any irritation. Most people can return to their usual activities within one to two days, including driving. However, you should avoid swimming, dusty or smoky environments, and strenuous activities for a week after SMILE. 

The tiny size of the SMILE incision allows it to heal within a few days for a quick return to your daily routine. However, you may notice minor vision changes over the next few weeks as your eyes adjust. Your Vold Vision team will monitor your progress and assist you if you have any concerns during or after your recovery. While problems after SMILE are rare, it is still important to have the support of an experienced vision care team.  

Request a Consultation

We’d love to help you get all the information you need in order to make the best choice for your eyes. Request a consultation today! Our staff is available and happy to answer your every question.

How is SMILE Different From LASIK?

Since more people have heard of SMILE than LASIK, they often ask about the differences. The primary difference between the two is how they reshape your corneas. While SMILE works by creating and removing the lenticule, LASIK works by creating a circular flap about 24mm around and moving it aside, then replacing it. Because LASIK disrupts a much larger area of the cornea, SMILE may be more appropriate for people with certain issues. 

These procedures have other differences related to the size of the incision they create. Because the relatively large LASIK flap can disrupt some nerves, SMILE is often recommended instead for people with chronic dry eye issues. The flap can also be disrupted, so SMILE is often recommended over LASIK for those who engage in contact sports. 

Am I a Good Candidate for SMILE?

Many people who are not candidates for LASIK are still good candidates for SMILE. Ideal candidates for SMILE want to improve their vision and decrease their reliance on corrective lenses. Candidates should meet the following criteria:

  • 18 or older
  • Nearsightedness or astigmatism
  • A prescription within the range that SMILE can treat
  • Healthy corneas
  • Reasonable expectations

People with certain risk factors may be good candidates for SMILE, even if they should not have LASIK. However, laser eye surgery is not the right solution for everyone. Only a consultation and eye exam can determine which procedure will give you the clearest vision and best suit your needs and lifestyle. 

They whole crew her is absolutely amazing! It’s been about 2 months since I had my eyes fixed and I couldn’t be happier. I have to give a big shout-out to John, Maddy, and Michael they made this a very pleasant experience, and I would recommend it to anyone that wants to get rid of glasses and see clearer with their own eyes.
Justin P.

Take the Next Step

You’ll benefit not only from the latest technologies available but also from our compassionate, personal approach. You’re more than a patient at Vold Vision in Bentonville and Fayetteville. We strive to make you as comfortable as possible while evaluating the optimal treatment plan just for you. We invite Fayetteville, Rogers, Bentonville, and Springdale residents to contact us today for a consultation at (479) 755-4510.

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