If you wear glasses or contact lenses to see, you may have already considered undergoing a vision correction procedure. However, when most people think about vision correction, the first thing that comes to mind is LASIK. 

But LASIK isn’t the only vision correction procedure around. In fact, others are less invasive, like SMILE! SMILE is a newer, more advanced, and minimally-invasive procedure with incredible results, with most patients achieving 20/20 vision or better!

But is SMILE right for you? Keep reading to learn about what SMILE is, what makes it different from LASIK, who is a good SMILE candidate, and if it could be the right vision correction procedure for you! 

What is SMILE?

SMILE stands for Small Incision Lenticule Extraction. It’s a refractive laser eye procedure. 

Refractive procedures like SMILE and LASIK use lasers to correct the cornea’s shape to correct refractive errors. However, SMILE is unique because of how it removes corneal tissue. 

Instead of removing parts of the cornea with an excimer laser, SMILE only uses a femtosecond laser to create a disc-like shape under the cornea’s surface. 

This disc, called a lenticule, is made using a femtosecond laser. The laser can break apart corneal tissue without penetrating the cornea’s surface, creating the lenticule inside the cornea. 

The lenticule is then removed through a tiny incision. This method makes SMILE minimally invasive and easy to recover from while still having excellent results comparable to the results of LASIK.

A LASIK Alternative

Not only is SMILE less invasive than LASIK, but it’s also more accessible. While LASIK is a wonderful option for many patients, it requires your cornea to be a certain thickness. 

A thick enough cornea is necessary because the LASIK procedure requires creating a flap in the cornea, and the area under the flap is then worked on. The flap then acts as a natural bandage as the eye heals. 

But if your cornea isn’t thick enough, it becomes unsafe to undergo LASIK. Because of how SMILE is performed, no corneal flap is required. 

That means you can have SMILE even if you have a thinner cornea. If you’d otherwise qualify for LASIK but have a thin cornea, SMILE may be the perfect option for you!

Who is a Good Candidate for SMILE?

SMILE can correct nearsightedness and astigmatism. It cannot correct farsightedness. 

But if you’re nearsighted or have astigmatism, there’s an excellent chance you may be a good SMILE candidate. Good SMILE candidates should:

  • Be 18 or over
  • Be in good health
  • Have stable vision that’s remained unchanged for at least a year or more

Keep in mind these are only some of the candidacy requirements for SMILE. To know for sure if you’re a good SMILE candidate, you’ll have to schedule a consultation at LaserVue Eye Center. Scheduling a consultation is the only way to determine if you qualify for SMILE.

If you turn out to be a good candidate for SMILE, the next question on your mind may be whether or not you should undergo the vision correction procedure. If you want incredible vision and freedom from glasses and contact lenses, yes! 

But if you’re struggling to decide whether or not to get SMILE, it can help to know more about what to expect when you undergo the procedure, what the recovery is like, and what the long-term outcomes are.

SMILE Expectations and Recovery

SMILE is a quick and easy outpatient procedure, meaning you’ll get to go home once it’s complete. You don’t have to worry about general anesthesia, and you’ll be awake during the whole thing. 

Before the vision correction procedure begins, you’ll receive eye drops to numb your eyes. A pre-programmed femtosecond laser then creates the lenticule in your eye. 

Your surgeon will create a tiny incision in your eye to pull the lenticule out. Once the lenticule is pulled out, the SMILE procedure is complete. 

These small incisions quickly heal on their own without any need for stitches. After the procedure, most patients notice immediate visual improvement, and it’ll only get better as your eyes heal. 

Your eyes may feel uncomfortable for a day or two, but they’ll start feeling normal again as you use prescription antibiotics and anti-inflammatory eye drops during your recovery. You’ll need to take certain precautions to protect your eyes for a few weeks after SMILE, like wearing eye shields at night and avoiding heavy exercise. 

But the fantastic thing is that you should be able to return to work after only a day or two. What’s more, you’ll be able to return with better vision than ever before. 

With easy surgery and minimal downtime, SMILE is a great option for busy patients. But what are the results like once your eyes heal?

Long-Term Outcomes

Most patients have 20/20 vision or better after fully healing from SMILE. That means SMILE doesn’t just help you see without glasses and contact lenses; it can help you see better than you ever could, even when you had to depend on visual aids. 

Your vision improvement is also permanent and won’t wear off. Even after having SMILE, you can still experience age-related vision loss. However, it won’t prevent you from receiving treatment for age-related eye conditions like glaucoma or cataracts. 

Getting SMILE in your mid to late twenties will mean you can look forward to decades of crisp, clear vision without the constraints of glasses and contact lenses holding you back. What’s not to love about better vision that you can enjoy for many more years to come?

Why wait any longer? Schedule your commitment-free SMILE consultation today at LaserVue Eye Center in San Francisco, CA, to find out if you’re a candidate! Isn’t it time to experience better vision for yourself?