The introduction of laser eye surgery in the late 1980s was a revolution, and since then the innovations have just kept on coming. Surgeons are always striving to find new ways to get the very best results for patients, and here at Optegra we’re keen to pioneer the very best new techniques.
The latest innovation in laser eye surgery is ReLEx SMILE surgery, and here at Optegra, our central London hospital is one of the few places offering this innovative treatment in the UK.
The history of laser eye surgery
People often assume that laser eye surgery is a relatively new technique for restoring vision. However, the history of laser eye surgery goes back further than most people realise. The theory of using corneal surgery to correct vision was first introduced as early as 1896, although it wasn’t until 1987 that the first excimer laser eye treatment was carried out.
Early laser eye surgery was referred to as PRK. The first major development in the process was when it was discovered that healing times were much faster when much of the laser work was carried out beneath the top layer.
Thin flaps were created using a precision laser, allowing surgeons to work under the surface of the cornea. When replaced, this healed faster, getting better results. This was effectively the birth of the modern LASIK surgery procedure.
At Optegra, we pride ourselves on being pioneers in our field, offering the very latest and best treatment methods. As well as LASIK surgery, we offer LASEK and ReLEx SMILE, so even more patients can find a treatment which suits them. Over the years, we’ve helped tens of thousands of patients to enjoy better vision.
How SMILE laser eye surgery is revolutionising vision
ReLEx SMILE is the latest innovation in laser eye surgery. It’s a minimally invasive and bladeless keyhole laser eye procedure. After being introduced in 2012, it is proving to be a very popular alternative to both LASEK and LASIK treatments.
SMILE stands for Small Incision Lenticule Extraction, and the treatment is capable of correcting higher degrees of myopia (commonly known as short sightedness) as well as astigmatism.
During the procedure, a state-of-the-art Carl Zeiss VisuMax laser places a series of pulses onto the centre of the cornea. This may sound a little alarming, but bear in mind that using the latest 3D technology, this is incredibly accurate. The pulses from the laser are less than 1/100th of the width of a human hair.
The laser pulses are used to outline the tissue that needs to be removed to reshape the cornea, and a tiny tunnel is then formed, through which the tissue can be removed. The difference between SMILE and other forms of laser eye surgery is that no flap is formed, so healing and post-operative recovery is even faster.
SMILE eye surgery only takes a matter of minutes, and within a few hours your vision will have improved. After a few days, you’ll notice even more improvement and you will have fully recovered in just a few weeks.
If you look back at the evolution of laser eye surgery, you can see that there has been constant progress towards safer, more accurate techniques. And SMILE represents the pinnacle of what has been achieved.
Aftercare and recovery
Of course, even SMILE is still a form of surgical procedure, so you need to be aware that there will be some recovery time needed. Your vision may be blurry for a few days after surgery and you may experience some dryness or itching.
Here at Optegra, we take your aftercare very seriously. Your very own surgeon will check up on you the following day and you will also get follow up appointments at regular intervals over the next twelve months to make sure everything’s progressing well.
The benefits of SMILE eye surgery
LASIK and LASEK are both well-established procedures which have helped thousands of people to enjoy better vision, but they aren’t suitable for everyone. SMILE eye surgery makes a great alternative for people who aren’t able to have traditional types of laser eye surgery, and the technique also has a number of advantages which could make it your preferred option.
Firstly, the treatment and recovery times are fast. It is also better for the stability of the cornea, and there is less risk of developing dry eyes in the days after surgery. Because no flaps are created there is no risk of flap complications, and more patients are eligible for the treatment.
Where can you get SMILE laser eye surgery?
Patients in and around London will be delighted to know that we offer the SMILE treatment at our central London hospital. We strive to be at the forefront of our field, which is why we were keen to start using this pioneering treatment as soon as possible.
Located just a stone’s throw from Harley Street, an area renowned as a centre of medical excellence, our flagship eye hospital is sure to impress. Costing £13 million to develop, the hospital puts us at the forefront of London eye care, and offers a comprehensive range of services, including SMILE.
You can expect exceptional service, outstanding facilities and some of the best eye surgeons around, so if you’re looking for the best laser eye surgery in London, then you’ve come to the right place.