On the surface, laser eye surgery may seem like a relatively new procedure due to all of the sophisticated, futuristic technology involved, but the history of laser eye surgery
actually dates back as far as 1896!
Today, over 120 years and 51 million procedures later, the future of laser eye treatments is changing thanks to the next generation of procedures, which are available now at Optegra’s eye hospital in London
and dedicated clinics around the country.
Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) was the first generation of laser eye correction, followed by LASIK
, all of which deliver excellent results and are still in use today. ReLEx SMILE
is the newest treatment available, offering a great alternative to its predecessors.
SMILE, the name given to Small Incision Lenticule Extraction surgery, is a minimally invasive form of laser eye correction. It can be used to treat a wide variety of eye conditions, and is very effective in correcting short sightedness. Most importantly, SMILE eye surgery is available to a much larger range of patients than both LASIK and LASEK, being suitable for those with very high prescriptions, drier eyes or thin corneas. Since it was first performed back in 2012, SMILE has boomed in popularity and is now the procedure of choice for many surgeons.
The ReLEx SMILE procedure
Before ReLEx SMILE surgery, you will be required to visit Optegra for an initial consultation and some diagnostic eye testing so that we can tailor your treatment to your individual needs.
The actual procedure begins when one of our world class surgeon
s applies local anaesthetic drops to the eyes. A state-of-the-art VisuMax is then used to produce a series of minuscule bubbles in the centre of the cornea– about 1/100th
the width of a human hair – and these outline the tissue which needs to be removed in order to correct your vision.
Once the bubbles have been formed, the surgeon uses a laser to create tiny connecting tunnels from the surface of the eye to the bubbles. They then use the tunnels to draw out some of the tissue, therefore reshaping the cornea and correcting the visual impairment.
All in all, the SMILE procedure takes a matter of minutes and the actual lasers are only used for a small fraction of this time, although you will need to make sure you have no plans for the rest of the day in order give your eyes time to heal and recover. A follow up appointment will be made for the next day and your surgeon will agree to see you at regular intervals for up to a year so they can track the improvements in your vision.
Unlike LASIK and LASEK, no flap is created during SMILE eye surgery so there is no chance of flap complications after your treatment – SMILE is much kinder to your corneal nerves than earlier generations of surgery. There is also a much smaller chance of developing dry eyes post-treatment. Some side effects are possible but your surgeon will give you all the information you need for the aftercare and recovery process.
SMILE Laser eye surgery in London
After a recent £13 million development, our state-of-the-art eye hospital in the Harley Street district of London offers the full spectrum of eye treatments and our team of industry-leading surgeons and consultants will be on hand to guide you through each step of the laser eye surgery process. If you would like to find out more about SMILE surgery at our laser eye clinic in London, book a consultation today