SMILE Laser Eye Surgery Receives FDA Stamp of Approval for Treating Astigmatism

SMILE surgery, the most significant advance in laser eye surgery in the last 10 years, is now FDA-approved for patients with astigmatism. Prior to this approval, only about 20% of potential patients were candidates for SMILE vision correction. That number increases up to 70% now that the SMILE procedure is approved for astigmatism.

What is SMILE?

SMILE is a one-step, one laser, minimally invasive procedure. During your SMILE surgery, your surgeon will use computer guided, highly focused laser light to cut a tiny incision in the cornea and will use it to remove a small piece of corneal tissue (called a lenticule). This reshapes the cornea and corrects your vision.

SMILE allows your surgeon to correct your vision with reduced impact to the cornea. The procedure produces less discomfort, a quicker recovery time, and may even become a preferred alternative to LASIK for a new generation of refractive surgery patients.

What is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is an extremely common vision problem that over 3 million Americans suffer from. Astigmatism manifests as blurry vision due to an irregularly shaped cornea or lens. When the cornea (the clear surface of the eye) or lens (the clear structure behind the iris) has an abnormal shape, it prevents light entering the eye from being focused directly onto the retina and results in blurred or distorted vision, also known as refractive error.

Signs & Symptoms Include:

  • Distorted vision at any distance
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Eyestrain
  • Headache
  • Squinting

Astigmatism may affect people of any age and typically occurs in about 1 in 3 patients already experiencing near or far-sightedness. It is unclear why corneal or lens shape may differ from one person to the next but there is a believed genetic component. Astigmatism can also develop after a patient has suffered an eye injury or disease.

To date, mild to moderate astigmatism has typically been treated through the use of eyeglasses, contact lenses, and LASIK. Now, more patients than ever before may be eligible for the new ReLEx SMILE procedure and clear vision.

SMILE Treatment for Astigmatism

Known as Small Incision Lenticule Extraction (SMILE), the surgery is performed using the high-precision femtosecond laser, VisuMax. During the procedure, your ophthalmological surgeon will make a small arc-shaped incision on the surface of the cornea, altering the shape, and thus correcting refractive error. Because the SMILE procedure uses a single high-precision laser, the incision is substantially smaller than that of a LASIK procedure, resulting in faster recovery and greater corneal stability.

SMILE Laser Eye Surgery Benefits

FDA approval of ReLEx SMILE surgery is certainly a reassuring and exciting announcement for all patients experiencing astigmatism with several other benefits:

  • 80% of patients experience vision improvement
  • Reduces the need for additional surgery post SMILE treatment
  • Minimally invasive procedure
  • Reduces dry eye symptoms
  • Single step, single laser incision
  • Uses safe and advanced femtosecond laser

Candidates for SMILE Treatment

The best way to determine candidacy is through a comprehensive eye examination by an experienced ophthalmologist. If you are experiencing the symptoms below or have been determined to not be a candidate for a LASIK procedure, then a SMILE procedure may be right for you.

You may be a candidate for a SMILE treatment if you:

  • Have blurry or distorted vision at any distance
  • Are experiencing astigmatism with near- or far-sightedness
  • Are inconvenienced by eyeglasses or contact lenses
  • Are sensitive or intolerant of contact lenses

SMILE Laser Eye Surgery for Astigmatism at LaserVue

If you are interested in learning more about the new ReLEx SMILE treatment or if you would like to schedule a comprehensive eye exam to determine your candidacy please call or contact our office online to set up an appointment with us. At the LaserVue Eye Center, we are proud providers of new and advanced surgical procedures, pushing the boundaries of ocular health every day. Our compassionate staff and expert ophthalmologists will be pleased to provide you with the personalized care that you deserve.