LASIK has been the go-to procedure for corneal correction for many years. It is a safe and simple procedure that uses a tiny metal blade to incise a very small flap of corneal tissue, which is then folded back to allow your ophthalmologist access to deep corneal layers.
The tool used in this procedure is known as a micro-keratome, and it is very precise and efficient; however, since 2004 a newer and better type of laser has made the LASIK process even better. The new tool is a femtosecond laser, which pulses at a very rapid rate that is able to separate the tissue of the cornea at the molecular level.
This means that surrounding tissue is not damaged or affected at all, and the LASIK procedure can now be performed with an incredibly high degree of accuracy and safety. While this is very attractive, you will be happy to know that there is yet another option that is even more desirable.
SMILE Surgery Is Termed “Flapless Laser Surgery”
LASIK surgery using the femtosecond laser (aka: IntraLase surgery) has been around for a decade, but today you can get an even more refined version of this surgery with SMILE (Small incision lenticule extraction).
SMILE technique was adapted from a procedure known as ReLEx (refractive lenticule extraction). With SMILE, only one femtosecond laser is used. Because of this, cost, side effects and surgical time are significantly reduced. This is why it is predicted that SMILE will eventually replace LASIK; even though, the latter procedure is quite effective and successful.
With the SMILE procedure, a single femtosecond laser is used to separate a very thin disc (lenticule) of the corneal tissue from the inner cornea. The disc is taken out via a very tiny incision. This procedure gently corrects the shape of the cornea and can relieve myopia (nearsightedness).
This is all done without the creation of a corneal flap or the vaporization of tissue, so the procedure may be said to be less disruptive and invasive than LASIK. It’s important to understand that the difference in disruption and invasiveness is somewhat relative, though.
LASIK has extremely high safety and accuracy ratings, and so does SMILE. Still, if you have the option of using the newest and most refined technique in eye-care, you should certainly pursue it.
What’s The Difference Between SMILE & LASIK?
With LASIK, two laser machines are required. One is used to create the corneal flap, and the other is used for excimer ablation. The fact that two machines must be used effectively doubles the cost of the procedure. It also increases the amount of time necessary to perform the procedure. A two part process that involves creation of a corneal flap is naturally more complex and has greater potential for complication.
With SMILE eye surgery, the procedure is simpler and more comfortable for the patient. In terms of health care cost efficiency, this streamlined procedure can significantly help reduce costs for the patient, the surgeon and the health care system.
It is important to note that this procedure can be used successfully on more severe conditions (e.g. high myopia) without the usual increase in costs.
How To Opt For SMILE
If you are considering eye surgery to correct astigmatism and/or nearsightedness, you should definitely discuss this innovative “all-in-one” procedure with your doctor. This is especially true if you suffer from dry-eye. Initial findings seem to indicate that patients who have this problem have a slightly better outcome when choosing SMILE over standard LASIK surgery. Your ophthalmologist will be able to evaluate your situation and recommend just the right procedure to deliver the best outcome for you.
– NCBI – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3404906/