SMILE: Laser Refractive Eye Surgery

SMILE (SMall Incision Lenticule Extraction) is a vision correction procedure which has been performed on over two million people around the globe. It delivers the same great visual results as LASIK, without creating a flap.

SMILE is a gentle procedure that results in rapid vision improvement.

SMILE uses an extremely fast and precise femtosecond laser to create a thin, contact lens shaped layer, which is removed through a tiny opening. A small incision is made at the top of the cornea where the lenticule is removed. This allows the curvature of the cornea to change precisely, allowing light to come into focus exactly on the retina.

SMILE is FDA-approved to treat both nearsightedness and astigmatism.

The Advantages of SMILE

There are, many advantages to choosing the SMILE procedure. One clear benefit is that there is no flap, leading to a quicker resumption of activities; such as wearing eye make-up, a quicker return to water sports/activities, and full contact sports. With the absence of a flap, the potential for flap complications is also decreased.

SMILE is associated with fewer dry eye symptoms, and faster resolution of post op dryness. By avoiding the creation of a flap, SMILE is able to keep more of the corneal surface intact, allowing the eye to maintain a more natural tear production during the healing period.

SMILE allows preservation of the natural corneal biomechanics. By creating only a small incision, the surface of the cornea is left largely unchanged. Maintaining the natural biomechanical state of the corneal helps protect the eye from life’s stressors such as eye rubbing or trauma.

LASIK vs. SMILE Incision

SMILE Criteria

SMILE is the procedure of choice for surgeons around the world when approaching patients who meet the appropriate criteria. SMILE is ideal for patients who have a myopic prescription between -1 to -10 diopters and astigmatism up to -3 diopters. As with LASIK and PRK, the procedure is only recommended for people with healthy corneas, a stable glasses prescription, and no signs of cataract.

SMILE Recovery

Patients who choose SMILE are able to get back to their normal activities faster. Following large incision surgery such as LASIK, there is a 2 week period of sleeping with eye shields, avoiding eye makeup, swimming, and contact sports. However, following SMILE, this downtime is minimized to 3 days, allowing people to get back to the things that they enjoy even faster.

Laser Vision Correction FAQ

So, you have made the decision to inquire about laser vision correction. Bravo to you for taking the first step! But are you a good candidate?

Below is a list of requirements:

  • You must be over the age of 18
  • You have "healthy eyes," meaning free from eye diseases or any corneal abnormalities, including scarring or infections
  • You are willing to stay out of soft contact lenses for 1–2 weeks prior to your consultation (4 or more weeks for hard contact lenses)
  • You are willing to use your post-op medications and come to your post-op visits

If you have answered yes to these questions, you are ready to schedule a laser vision correction consultation, where you will learn more about the procedure.

With today's precise technology, combined with the expertise and experience of our surgeons, most patients achieve 20/20 or better vision!

Vision following laser vision correction is often better than it was with glasses or contact lenses.

Visual outcomes are dependent on the underlying health of the eye. If the vision is limited by issues in other parts of the eye such as the retina or optic nerve, laser vision correction can focus the eye so that images are as clear as possible, but vision will still be limited by the underlying issue.

It depends on the severity of your dry eye issues. If the dry eye symptoms are resolved with hydration, artificial tears, supplements, or medications, laser vision correction may be an option.

Your surgeon will help you treat your dry eye issues prior to planning laser vision correction. Depending on the severity of your dry eye symptoms, your surgeon may recommend a vision-correcting surgery that has a lower impact on corneal dryness, such as SMILE, ICL, or RLE.

5 Reasons You Should Choose Heart of Texas Eye Institute for SMILE

  1. Personalized Care — Our surgeons spend time getting to know every patient and their specific needs before planning vision correction surgery. Every person is unique, and therefore every surgery plan is unique. We ensure that patients receive their desired outcomes by very clearly discussing their goals and what to expect following laser vision correction surgery.
  2. Customer Service — Every step in your journey to better vision is given deep consideration. We offer convenient scheduling with our online self-scheduler, continuous access to your personal surgery counselor, and efficient use of your time in our modern, beautiful office. These are just a few of the touch points that will make your experience at Heart of Texas Eye Institute pleasant and enjoyable.
  3. Technology — We are dedicated to providing the very best and most up to date diagnostic and treatment options. This allows us to customize the best treatment plan to meet each specific patient’s needs. For this reason, we are the first practice in central Texas to provide SMILE, which we offer along with every other modern vision correction option, including blade-free, all-laser LASIK, PRK, ICL, and RLE.
  4. Experience — Both of our board-certified ophthalmologists have combined experience of over 100,000 procedures, fellowship training in cornea and refractive surgery, and are industry leaders in refractive surgery.
  5. Flexible — We accept many forms of payment, including cash, check, and credit. We offer great financing options through Alphaeon Credit and Care Credit. Furthermore, you can use your Flex Spending Account (FSA) for laser vision correction!