ReLEx SMILE (Small Incision Lenticule Extraction) by Zeiss is the third generation of laser vision correction. It uses the LASIK technology in a minimally invasive procedure, so the surgeon is able to correct the patient’s vision without creating a flap. The doctors at Vance Thompson Vision have been involved in the development of SMILE from its clinical trial stage, and the procedure received FDA approval in 2016. SMILE is designed to improve vision for patients with nearsightedness and astigmatism. The doctors at Vance Thompson Vision have seen consistently positive results with SMILE laser vision correction.
During SMILE, the doctor numbs your eyes with anesthetic drops, and then the doctor positions a speculum, an instrument that keeps your eyelids back so they do not interfere with the surgery. The surgeon then uses a computer-controlled femtosecond laser programmed to the patient’s individual eye. The laser makes a tiny incision in the surface of the eye, called the cornea. At the same time, the laser creates a small piece within the cornea that the the doctor then removes through the incision. After removing the piece, the patient’s eye forms a more natural and correct shape, which allows the eye to reflect light correctly. By creating a more natural shape, SMILE helps the patient see more clearly.
The incision needed for SMILE is up to 80 percent smaller than the incision needed for LASIK. SMILE patients tend to have a lower occurrence of dry eye and other post-surgery complications, as well. The incision heals on its own, and patients generally experience a quick recovery. We check in with our patients frequently following their procedure, so we schedule appointments at regular intervals after surgery: one day, three days, one week, one month, 2 to 3 months, and 6 months. These regular appointments allow the doctors to evaluate the eye’s recovery and healing as well as the visual clarity after surgery.