Most people have heard of LASIK laser eye surgery – a cutting-edge treatment that uses laser technology to reshape the front part of the eye so that patients can see clearly without glasses or contact lenses. Although LASIK is very successful and largely considered the most popular form of laser vision correction available, it’s not necessarily the right or best choice for every patient. In fact, some people are found not to be suitable candidates for LASIK at all.
One of the main reasons why someone might not be a LASIK candidate is because the LASIK technique relies on the creation of a flap in the very outer layer of corneal tissue, called the epithelium. Femtosecond laser technology is used to create this flap, which is hinged and opened to allow the corneal tissue beneath to be reshaped. If you have a particularly thin cornea or any issues with the structure or condition of your corneas such as disease or trauma, then you are unlikely to be a suitable candidate for LASIK.
If you are found not to be a good candidate for LASIK, you may be wondering what your options are. One of the laser eye surgery techniques that you may be considering is SMILE.
SMILE stands for small incision lenticule extraction. This is an entirely new and alternative technique to that which is used in LASIK and experts believe it to be one of the most advanced forms of laser technology in the world.
SMILE is a bladeless procedure. This means that instead of using a flap on the outer surface of the eye, a highly accurate femtosecond laser is used to create a virtually microscopic incision in the corneal tissue. This is used to create a tiny wedge of corneal tissue that is known as a lenticule. Removing the lenticule alters the shape of the cornea, enabling light to be refracted correctly, improving your vision.
The difference in the technique used in SMILE means that it is very often a good alternative for people who aren’t suitable for LASIK. This is because:
The incision used to access the corneal tissue is much smaller at around 3mm instead of 20mm. This causes less trauma to the cornea, preserving its strength and integrity and limiting the risk of problems occurring in the future. This makes SMILE an especially good choice for patients with thin corneas.
There is no flap creation, eliminating the risk of flap-related complications.
Before you schedule your consultation for SMILE, it’s important to be aware that at the present time, SMILE is only available to treat myopia (nearsightedness) and myopic astigmatism up to -3.00 diopters. It has not yet been approved to treat hyperopia (farsightedness). If you have either of these conditions, you will not be able to have SMILE. If you aren’t a LASIK or SMILE candidate, you may consider PRK laser vision surgery treatment instead.
If you would like to find out more about laser vision correction surgeries, including LASIK and SMILE, our knowledgeable eyecare specialists would be delighted to help. Please contact the LASIK Center in Edison, NJ at (201) 843-3861 to schedule your FREE virtual consultation.