29 April 2024

By Author: Alex J Shortt

types of laser eye treatments available; one of the differences we are most frequently asked to explain is SMILE vs LASIK eye surgery, which is what we’ll explore in this post.

Choosing the correct type of laser eye surgery can indeed be challenging due to the variety of options available, such as LASIK, LASEK, and SMILE. Each procedure has its advantages and considerations, including recovery time, candidacy requirements, and potential risks.

Determining the best option requires a thorough consultation with an experienced eye surgeon who can evaluate individual factors like eye health, lifestyle, and visual goals to tailor the treatment accordingly. A free consultation with an Optegra specialist can help decide if SMILE vs. LASIK eye surgery may be most suitable for you.


SMILE vs LASIK: Understanding Both Procedures

SMILE (Small Incision Lenticule Extraction) and LASIK (Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis) are two popular types of laser eye surgery aimed at correcting refractive errors

SMILE is a minimally invasive (key hole surgery) and involves creating a small, precise incision in the cornea to remove a thin layer of tissue, reshaping it to correct vision without the need for a flap. 

Both procedures are known for their effectiveness in treating nearsightedness and astigmatism, with SMILE often favoured for its rapid recovery and minimal discomfort. It is a flapless surgery approach. However, the choice between the two ultimately depends on individual factors and preferences, which should be discussed thoroughly with an eye care professional. 

 In LASIK, a flap is created on the cornea, allowing the surgeon to reshape the underlying tissue with a laser to correct vision. The flap is then repositioned, promoting quick healing.

There are differences in costs between SMILE and LASIK; at Optegra, our patients can take advantage of 0% finance options.


How Do SMILE and LASIK Differ?

While both LASIK and SMILE are safe and effective procedures, as with any surgery, it is essential to use a highly skilled and experienced surgeon. This is more important than factors such as cost; we have all read the horror stories of laser eye surgery gone wrong in places like Turkey.


The Procedure

When considering ReLEx SMILE vs lasik, both laser eye surgery procedures are aimed at correcting refractive errors, but they differ in several key aspects. One primary difference lies in the surgical technique: LASIK involves creating a corneal flap using a femtosecond laser or microkeratome, while SMILE is flapless and involves creating a small incision (key hole surgery) to extract a thin layer of tissue from within the cornea. This distinction can impact aspects such as corneal stability and the risk of flap-related complications.

Additionally, the amount of corneal tissue removed varies between the two procedures, with SMILE typically preserving more corneal tissue compared to LASIKpotentially offering advantages for individuals with thinner corneas or those at risk of developing dry eye post-surgery.


Recovery Times

SMILE vs LASIK recovery time and discomfort levels may also differ, with some studies suggesting a potentially faster visual recovery and reduced discomfort in the early postoperative period for SMILE compared to LASIK.

Ultimately, the choice between LASIK and SMILE depends on individual factors such as corneal thickness, prescription, and surgeon recommendation, and should be carefully discussed with an experienced eye care professional. Learn more about recovering from laser eye surgery.

Laser eye surgery can free you from wearing glasses or contacts

Comparing the Cost

LASIK and SMILE are different procedures that are available at different price points. If finance is an issue, both treatments are available with 0% finance, with more information available on our costs page.


Treating Eye Conditions

LASIK is suitable for treating myopiahyperopia, and astigmatism, while SMILE is primarily used for treating myopia and astigmatism.

Both LASIK and SMILE are effective in correcting refractive errors, allowing many people to reduce or eliminate their dependence on glasses or contact lenses. However, the suitability of each procedure depends on various factors, including the individual’s eye anatomy, refractive error, and other considerations.


Is SMILE Better Than LASIK For Night Vision?

The impact of SMILE v LASIK on night vision largely depends on various factors, including individual anatomy, pre-existing conditions, and the specific parameters of the surgery.

Both LASIK and SMILE are generally associated with high patient satisfaction rates regarding visual outcomes, including night vision. However, some studies suggest that SMILE may have certain advantages over LASIK in terms of preserving corneal biomechanics and reducing the risk of dry eye symptoms, which can indirectly influence night vision quality.


How to Decide Whether SMILE or LASIK is Best for You

Deciding whether SMILE or LASIK is best for you involves considering several factors. Here are some key considerations to help you make an informed choice:

  1. Consultation with an Ophthalmologist:  The first step is to schedule a comprehensive eye examination with an experienced ophthalmologist. They will evaluate your eye health, assess your refractive error (myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism), corneal thickness, pupil size, tear film quality, and other relevant factors to determine your candidacy for SMILE and LASIK. A free virtual consultation at your nearest Optegra eye hospital is an excellent first step to determining which procedure may be better for your needs.
  2. Technology and Expertise: Research the availability of both SMILE and LASIK procedures in your area. Consider the experience and expertise of the surgeons who perform these procedures. Look for clinics or surgeons who have a good reputation, extensive experience, and access to the latest technology. At Optegra, our dedicated eye hospitals and clinics are perfectly equipped to execute both procedures via one of our highly experienced surgeons.
  3. Specific Eye Conditions: While both SMILE and LASIK can treat myopia and astigmatism, LASIK may be more suitable for individuals with thinner corneas or certain corneal irregularities. SMILE may be preferred for patients with a higher risk of dry eyes or those involved in contact sports due to its smaller incision and potential for better corneal biomechanics preservation.
  4. Recovery and Postoperative Care: Understand the differences between SMILE and LASIK and the differences in recovery time, potential side effects, and postoperative care. While both procedures typically offer quick recovery times, SMILE may have some advantages in terms of reducing dry eye symptoms and preserving corneal nerves.
  5. Personal Preferences and Lifestyle: Consider your lifestyle, occupation, and activities that may influence your choice between SMILE and LASIK. For example, if you participate in contact sports or have a job that involves physical activity, you may prefer SMILE due to its potentially lower risk of flap complications.


What’s Next? For free advice on your potential suitability for laser eye surgery, Book Your Free Consultation Today.

Alex Shortt Headshot

By Author: Alex J Shortt

Mr Shortt is a leading ophthalmic surgeon and an expert in the fields of cornea, cataract and refractive surgery.

Medically Reviewed Date: 29th April 2024


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