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      SMILE Laser Eye Surgery

      ReLEx® SMILE is a minimally invasive, bladeless form of keyhole laser eye surgery, offering a great alternative to LASEK and LASIK treatment.

      The treatment can correct higher degrees of myopia (short sightedness), and is suitable for individuals with or without astigmatism.

      Operating theatre at Optegra Hampshire

      How Does SMILE Eye Surgery Work?

      During SMILE eye surgery, a state-of-the-art Carl Zeiss VisuMax laser places a series of pulses in the centre of the cornea, with extraordinary 3D accuracy. These pulses form bubbles that are less than 1/100th the width of a human hair, and which outline the tissue that needs to be removed to change the shape of the cornea. The laser then creates a tiny connecting tunnel through which the surgeon draws out this tissue.

      With SMILE, no flap is created, so the eye is more comfortable postoperatively than other laser eye surgery techniques. The procedure takes a matter of minutes, and the vision is 80% better within a few hours. After a few days, the vision is excellent, and it reaches 100% within a few weeks (according to trials conducted on over 1,000 patients between the UK, Germany, France and Denmark).

      Patients can expect a quick recovery time with SMILE laser eye surgery; however, it is completely normal if your vision is blurry for a little longer after you have had the procedure. Optegra offer a comprehensive aftercare plan, which involves a follow-up appointment the next day, and then follow-up checks at intervals lasting for up to 12 months after this.

      Benefits of SMILE Laser Eye Surgery

      • Fast treatment – SMILE takes less than 15 minutes, with the laser only used for a fraction of this time
      • Quick recovery time
      • Better for the stability of the cornea
      • Less risk of developing dry eyes
      • No discomfort thanks to the use of numbing drops
      • More patients are eligible for SMILE
      • No flap complications
      Picture of female mountain climber tinted blue

      SMILE Laser Eye Surgery with Optegra

      At Optegra, we will carry out an in-depth assessment to make sure you are right for SMILE eye surgery. If not, we will recommend a different laser eye treatment or other types of corrective eye surgery such as lens replacement surgery. During the consultation process, you will be assigned a qualified and experienced ophthalmic surgeon, who will be with you every step of the way. This includes carrying out the initial assessment, conducting the surgery and supporting any aftercare you may require. At Optegra, we pride ourselves on offering an extremely high level of personalised care, which sets us apart from other clinics.

      Are you suitable for SMILE eye surgery?

      One of the great things about SMILE laser eye surgery is that more people are suitable for this than for LASEK and LASIK treatment. With regards to the latter two options, patients with dry eyes generally aren’t accepted, so if you have mild to moderate dry eyes, SMILE treatment may be ideal. You could also benefit from SMILE eye surgery if you have an intolerance to contact lenses and/or a thinner than average cornea.

      During your consultation, one of our expert ophthalmic surgeons will assess your suitability for laser eye surgery and advise you on which laser eye treatment is best for you. To book a free, no obligation consultation with us, please fill out the consultation form below.

      SMILE Laser Eye Surgery Aftercare

      SMILE laser eye surgery recovery is generally a quick process, with less chance of complications and discomfort, such as dry eye symptoms, than other laser eye surgery procedures. Most patients report improved sight within 24 hours of their surgery, however it can take a few weeks for eyesight to show 100% improvement.

      It is important that patients rest after surgery. Those who have ReLEx SMILE surgery cannot drive for the 24 hours immediately following the procedure and some sources of light, such as TVs, mobile phones and other screens, should be avoided. More regular usage can be resumed approximately 2-3 days after ReLEx SMILE laser eye surgery.

      SMILE Laser Eye Surgery Side Effects

      ReLEx SMILE laser eye surgery poses very few risks to patients, and the side effects are minimal, even compared to other types of laser eye surgery procedures.

      In the vast majority of cases, the only side effects will be those expected from the procedure, such as blurred vision and “halos” seen around light sources during the healing process.

      SMILE Laser Eye Surgery FAQ

      SMILE laser eye surgery is very safe. As this treatment is less invasive than other laser eye surgery procedures, the risk of complications arising from the surgery are reduced. As a newer generation of laser eye surgery, SMILE damages nerves in the cornea less than previous laser eye surgery techniques. This makes dry eye symptoms and general irritation much less likely. SMILE laser surgery also weakens the cornea less than either LASEK or LASIK treatment.

      SMILE laser eye surgery is permanent. Some patients, particularly from the age of 45 onwards, may still experience deterioration in vision. However, this is due to the natural aging process and not because of reduction in results from SMILE or any other laser eye surgery.

      SMILE laser eye surgery is one of the quickest laser eye surgery procedures. The procedure itself can take as little as 15 minutes to complete, with the lasers on the eye for only a small percentage of this time. However, most patients will require around 20-30 minutes for full treatment.

      SMILE costs approximately £2,495 per eye however the final price tag differs from patient to patient depending on a number of factors. The patient’s age, eye health, and current prescription, among other variables, are all considered during the consultation process. Cost of treatment can be spread over a number of months thanks to our payment plans.

      SMILE laser eye surgery can fix astigmatism. In fact, LASEK, LASIK and ReLEx SMILE surgeries are all capable of fixing astigmatism in patients.

      Although ReLEx SMILE offers advantages over LASIK surgery, LASIK is still an extremely safe and effective form of treatment. There are many benefits to SMILE laser eye surgery over other laser eye surgery techniques, but if your consultant advises another form of laser eye surgery, you can still achieve the same great results.

      ReLEx SMILE procedures fully heal over a period of 3 to 6 months. Although this may sound like a long time, most patients see improvements in their vision within the first 2-3 days and can begin to return to undertaking some normal activities within this same time period. Those who play sports can usually begin to do this again within 1-2 weeks after surgery.

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        By Author: Amir Hamid

        Mr. Amir Hamid is our Medical Director for Vision Correction and an expert refractive surgeon, based in London.


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