Is SMILE Laser Eye Surgery Better Than LASIK?

Laser vision correction surgery makes it possible for some people who have refractive eye errors such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism to see clearly without using prescription lenses. This gives them greater flexibility and freedom when it comes to their day-to-day lives, as well as eliminating the ongoing costs of glasses or contact lenses. Unsurprisingly, this makes laser eye surgery extremely popular.

Every patient is unique, and this means that the right laser vision correction surgery for one person may not be the same as the best procedure for another. For this reason, it’s crucial that you schedule a consultation appointment with Manhattan LASIK Center to discuss your options and obtain their recommendation, which will be based on your specific needs. 

SMILE and LASIK are two of the most popular varieties of refractive laser surgery, but there are very significant differences between the two that means that one may be more suited to you than another. Here’s what you need to know about these differences, which will help you make an informed decision about your laser eye surgery:

LASIK

 

Laser, or laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, is the most well-known form of laser vision correction. This procedure is performed using a small device called a microkeratome, which cuts a precision flap in the outer layer of corneal tissue. This flap is then opened, and a femtosecond laser can be used to reshape the underlying cornea to correct the refractive error. Once the reshaping is complete, the flap is closed back over the eye and left to heal.

The recovery period is fairly short. In rare occurrences, the creation of a flap can lead to minor complications. These may include microscopic dirt or debris being trapped under the flap, wrinkling of the flap, and issues with how it heals. At Manhattan LASIK Center, we also perform Bladeless LASIK, which creates the flap using the femtosecond laser technology instead of a microkeratome, which results in fewer complications, unrivaled precision, and speedy recovery.

SMILE

 

SMILE, or small incision lenticule extraction, is a newer technique for laser eye surgery and is considered to be one of the most advanced forms of laser technology. The main difference between SMILE and LASIK is that in SMILE, there is no flap creation. In fact, the entire procedure is completely bladeless. Instead, the femtosecond laser is used to create a tiny incision in the cornea, which is then used to remove a small piece of corneal tissue, called a lenticule. Removing this lenticule reshapes the cornea and improves the patient's vision.

There are some distinct advantages to choosing SMILE over LASIK, and these include:

  • A small incision. A LASIK flap is around 20mm in circumference, while in SMILE, the incision is just 3mm. This helps to preserve the structural integrity of the cornea much better, reducing the risk of problems in the future.

  • There is no risk of any flap-related complications since SMILE uses a different technique.

  • The procedure is quiet, odorless, and blade-free, which makes the treatment process much more pleasant for the patient.

  • Recovery from SMILE is also the fastest and usually the most straightforward of any type of laser vision correction surgery.

However, it is essential to be aware that SMILE is only available to treat certain types of myopia (nearsightedness). It is not yet available to treat farsightedness (hyperopia) or astigmatism. This means that if you have either of these refractive errors, you won’t be a good candidate for SMILE laser vision correction.

To find out more about both of these procedures, or to schedule a FREE virtual consultation to discuss your candidacy for either treatment, please contact the Manhattan LASIK Center team at (212) 759-9617.