Las Vegas Eye Institute, based in Las Vegas, NV, has recently released a blog post that compares SMILE vs LASIK, which are both eye correction surgery procedures. The “keratomileusis” in laser assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) is a Greek term that signifies the shaping of the cornea and this is done with an excimer laser. This procedure was approved by the FDA in 1995 and it can be used to correct farsightedness, nearsightedness, and astigmatism. For nearsightedness, they create a flap in the cornea and then ablate (remove) tissue to reduce nearsightedness. The flap is put back into place and the procedure is complete. The vision is significantly improved at once and will continue to get better from one week to one month.
SMILE means “small incision lenticule extraction.” It is different from LASIK in that it does not use an excimer laser, which means that tissue will not be removed through ablation. Instead, the SMILE procedure makes use of a femtosecond laser that emits millions of pulses into the cornea in a span of approximately 20 seconds. These pulses carve the shape of the lens into the cornea. This lens shape or lenticule is then extracted by the surgeon through a very small incision. Both LASIK and SMILE remove power from the cornea to correct nearsightedness.
The advantages of SMILE eye surgery are mainly due to the much smaller incision of about 4 mm that is required compared to LASIK where the incision length is about 22 mm. For SMILE, the incision length may actually be as low as 2 mm but it is currently set a 4 mm due to FDA regulation. The smaller incision helps in preserving the strength of the cornea, which means the cornea would be stronger after SMILE compared to LASIK. And because the smaller incision means less fibers would be cut with SMILE, corneal sensation recovery is only about three months for SMILE, compared to the approximately 12 months after LASIK. Furthermore, the period of having dry eye after surgery is also shorter with SMILE compared to LASIK.
It should be noted that Las Vegas Eye Institute offers all three procedures for eye surgery, which are SMILE, LASIK, and PRK. The procedure that would be most suitable for a particular patient would depend on the patient but deciding on this is complicated and they don’t want the patient to decide based on price. That is why they offer the same price for all three procedures. This is in spite of the fact that they use the Zeiss Visumax Laser for the SMILE procedure, with the Visumax Laser being the most advanced laser in ophthalmology and the most expensive. They also use this laser for creating the flaps in the LASIK procedure.
It should be noted that the FDA has only approved SMILE for correcting nearsightedness and nearsightedness with astigmatism. This means that SMILE can be used to treat about 80 percent of all refractive errors in the US. The remaining 20 percent have farsightedness or astigmatism without nearsightedness, which are conditions that may be treated with LASIK instead.
One key advantage of SMILE over LASIK is that it does not require the creation of a flap. This is may be an important factor for some patients although flap dislocation is extremely rare with LASIK, even with injuries involving strong forces, such as sports injuries, car accidents, and air bag inflation.
Meanwhile, visual recovery is faster with LASIK for some patients than with SMILE, but both provide very fast visual recovery. Many LASIK patients were observed to have a vision better than 20/20 the following day after LASIK. This may also occur with SMILE but at a lower frequency. Nevertheless, most SMILE patients were observed to have the same vision as LASIK patients one week after the procedure and nearly all have the same vision after one month.
Those who are interested in learning more about the SMILE and LASIK procedures offered at Las Vegas Eye Institute may want to check out their website or contact them on the phone or via email.
SOURCE: Press Advantage [Link]
October 13, 2021 – Dr. Swanic Discusses Refractive Surgery Options with Woo University
November 19, 2020 – Las Vegas Eye Institute Compares SMILE vs LASIK in New Blog Post
July 16, 2020 – Eye Care Specialist Answers: How Long Does LASIK Last