Posted by: Manhattan LASIK Center

Have you thought about having a vision correction procedure? If you’re tired of wearing contact lenses and glasses, it’s the perfect solution.

These procedures can provide incredible vision, eliminating the need for other visual aids. There are also several options when it comes to laser vision correction.

Two of the most popular and advanced options are LASIK and ZEISS SMILE. These procedures can give you fantastic vision but in different ways.

We offer both at Manhattan LASIK Center and can help you find the right procedure for your visual needs. But first, knowing more about each procedure can be helpful. Keep reading to compare ZEISS SMILE and LASIK and determine which laser vision correction procedure may be right for you!

Refractive Laser Eye Procedures

LASIK and ZEISS SMILE are refractive laser eye procedures, meaning they use lasers to correct refractive errors. Refractive errors include nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

A refractive error occurs when the shape of the cornea is irregular or misshapen. The cornea is the transparent front part of the eye that light passes through.

The cornea is supposed to bend light as it passes through so it focuses on the retina. But when the cornea is an irregular shape, it causes light to focus at the wrong point.

This is what causes blurry vision. Glasses and contact lenses correct refractive errors by changing how light bends before it goes through your cornea.

Refractive laser eye procedures permanently change the shape of the cornea itself. Changing the shape of the cornea is done with a laser.

However, LASIK and ZEISS SMILE use different methods to remove these small sections of corneal tissue.


LASIK stands for Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, and it works by reshaping the cornea to correct refractive errors by using a femtosecond laser and an excimer laser. The main thing that makes LASIK unique is how the cornea itself is accessed.

A flap is made in the top of the cornea using a femtosecond laser that can break apart tissue without piercing through the cornea’s surface. This flap is detached from the rest of the cornea by all but a small hinge of tissue.

The flap is lifted, and the tissue under the flap is reshaped with an excimer laser. The excimer laser removes a precise and predetermined amount of tissue to correct your exact refractive error.

The amount of tissue removed is quite small, thanks to the precision of the excimer laser and the computer software used to program the laser. Once the LASIK procedure is complete, your LASIK surgeon at Manhattan LASIK Center will replace the flap.

The flap acts as a natural bandage during the recovery process. There are no sutures or stitches needed.

This enables LASIK patients to experience a more comfortable healing process and immediate visual improvement. Peak visual improvement continues for three to six months after LASIK. However, your vision will continue improving until you reach your peak vision.


SMILE stands for Small Incision Lenticule Extraction. It also uses a femtosecond laser, and unlike LASIK, it doesn’t require a flap or an excimer laser.

Instead, the femtosecond laser creates a small disc of corneal tissue under the cornea’s surface to follow and correct the patient’s precise refractive error. This disc, called a lenticule, is removed by being pulled out through a tiny incision into the eye.

Like LASIK, SMILE patients usually notice immediate visual improvement with full results once the eyes are fully healed. But, one of the most significant differences between LASIK and SMILE is that SMILE is far less invasive.

Compared to LASIK, SMILE disturbs far less corneal tissue, making it well-suited to patients with dry eyes. It’s also a good choice if you’ve been told you’re not a good LASIK candidate due to a thin cornea since it requires less corneal tissue.

Outcomes of LASIK and ZEISS SMILE

LASIK and SMILE help patients achieve excellent outcomes, with most patients achieving 20/20 vision or better. Both procedures produce virtually identical results, meaning you can’t go wrong, no matter which one you choose.

Recovery from SMILE is easier because it’s a less invasive procedure with fewer post-surgical side effects. Because there’s no corneal flap, SMILE patients also don’t have any risk of corneal displacement after surgery.

However, corneal displacement is still rare for LASIK patients, and recovery from both surgeries is still minimal, with discomfort lasting only a day or two at most. There’s also a difference in who will be a good candidate for these procedures. Although you can’t go wrong if you qualify for both, you may find out you’re only a good candidate for one.

Qualifying for LASIK and ZEISS SMILE

To be a good candidate for a refractive laser eye procedure, you need to be at least 18, have stable vision, and be in overall good health. But for LASIK, you also need to have thick enough corneas, meaning your corneas are thick enough to accommodate creating a flap.

If your corneas are too thin, you cannot have LASIK safely, so you may only qualify for SMILE. However, SMILE is also more limited in how much vision it can correct. SMILE can only correct nearsightedness and mild astigmatism. It can treat up to -10.00 diopters of nearsightedness and 3.00 diopters of astigmatism.

Even though this covers most patients with refractive errors but not all. LASIK corrects more vision, with an upper limit of -12.00 diopters of nearsightedness and 5.00 diopters of astigmatism.

It can also correct farsightedness up to +5.00 diopters. LASIK may be the best way to improve your vision if you’re farsighted, severely nearsighted, or have high astigmatism.

Making the Best Choice

If you qualify for LASIK and SMILE, both are excellent choices. However, the specialists at Manhattan LASIK Center can help you determine what’s best for your vision and lifestyle needs.

We can also evaluate you for each procedure, so take the first step by requesting your consultation at Manhattan LASIK Center in Westchester, NY, now!