Posted by: Manhattan LASIK Center

Have you ever thought about undergoing a vision correction procedure? You definitely should if you’re considering an alternative to glasses and contact lenses.

Vision correction procedures can provide you with visual freedom. If you find out you don’t qualify for LASIK, you may think your dreams of better vision are over, but they don’t have to be.

With SMILE, you can achieve your dreams of better vision less invasively and more quickly. Keep reading to learn why SMILE eye surgery is worth considering if you don’t qualify for LASIK!

What is SMILE?

SMILE stands for Small Incision Lenticule Extraction. It’s a refractive laser eye procedure that changes how light refracts through the eye by reshaping your cornea. The cornea is the clear part of your eye that refracts (bends) light so the focus is directly on the retina.

When the cornea is an irregular shape, it causes a refractive error, and the focus is slightly off, causing blurry vision. Refractive laser eye procedures correct refractive errors by removing small amounts of corneal tissue to fix irregularities in the shape of the cornea.

But to do so, you need access to the cornea, which is covered by a protective layer called the epithelium. For SMILE eye surgery, this is done with a ZEISS VisuMax femtosecond laser to create a disc-like shape called a lenticule under the surface of the eye.

The femtosecond laser can create this shape without penetrating the surface of the epithelium, making the lenticule under the front of the cornea. Your surgeon will then create a small incision in the eye before pulling the lenticule out through the same incision.

After removing the lenticule, the SMILE procedure is complete. Most patients notice an almost immediate improvement in their vision after having SMILE.

These visual improvements only continue as their eyes heal and recover in the days, weeks, and months after SMILE. Peak visual performance is achieved after the eyes are done healing, with most patients attaining 20/20 vision or better.

How is SMILE Eye Surgery Different From LASIK?

Both LASIK and SMILE are refractive laser eye procedures. Like SMILE, LASIK produces incredible results, with most patients achieving 20/20 vision or better.

However, compared to SMILE, LASIK is more invasive because it requires creating a flap to correct refractive errors. LASIK also has another requirement: your corneas must be a certain thickness before you can undergo the procedure.

LASIK involves creating a flap in the cornea to gain access to it. This flap is usually constructed with a femtosecond laser.

The laser completely separates the top of the cornea from the rest of the cornea except for a small part that acts as a hinge. The flap is lifted, and an excimer laser removes corneal tissue to correct refractive errors.

Afterward, the flap is replaced and acts as a bandage to protect the eye as it heals. There are no stitches or sutures needed.

LASIK patients also typically see immediate visual improvement after the procedure, with full results once the eyes heal entirely. But, because LASIK requires creating a corneal flap, candidates for LASIK need to have corneas that are a certain thickness.

Patients with thinner corneas that cannot safely handle having a corneal flap created are not good candidates for LASIK. Getting LASIK when you have thinner corneas could lead to adverse side effects and poor vision that may be worse than before having LASIK.

These patients may be better suited for a vision correction procedure like SMILE eye surgery.

SMILE Candidates vs. LASIK Candidates

To have any refractive laser eye procedure, there are certain candidacy factors you have to meet. These include being at least 18 years old, having a stable prescription that hasn’t changed in a year or more, being in good health, and not being pregnant or nursing.

When it comes to LASIK, you also need to have corneas that are thick enough to accommodate a flap. If they’re too thin, the flap will leave too little tissue in the corneal bed, negatively impacting your vision.

However, having thinner corneas won’t necessarily disqualify you from all vision correction procedures, as you may still be a good candidate for a procedure like SMILE. SMILE does not require a corneal flap, only a lenticule to correct nearsightedness and astigmatism.

SMILE is the most minimally invasive vision correction procedure you can undergo, with a lower chance of causing post-surgical side effects like dry eye. Furthermore, if you’re prone to dry eyes, while you most likely won’t qualify for the LASIK procedure, you may still qualify for SMILE if your dry eye is controlled. This is because SMILE disturbs less corneal tissue than LASIK, and has a lower risk of triggering severe dry eye.

The one thing LASIK can do that SMILE can’t do is correct farsightedness. SMILE can only correct nearsightedness and astigmatism.

If you’re farsighted, LASIK or another vision correction procedure is required to correct your vision. But if you’re nearsighted with astigmatism, you may find that you’re an excellent candidate for SMILE eye surgery!

What to Expect with SMILE

SMILE eye surgery is quick and painless. You’ll have your eyes numbed for the procedure, meaning you won’t feel any pain.  Recovery is also quite fast, ensuring you can return to what you love, but with better vision!

You’ll see immediate visual improvement, and your vision will only improve as your eyes heal. The final results of SMILE are just as good as those from LASIK, so it’s a great alternative whether or not you’d otherwise qualify for LASIK.

Want to find out if SMILE is right for you? Schedule your SMILE consultation at Manhattan LASIK Center in Westchester, NY, now! Isn’t it time to enjoy better vision?