What is ReLEx SMILE?

ReLEx SMILE, or small incision lenticule extraction, is one of the latest developments in laser vision correction. It can eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses by correcting short-sightedness (myopia) and astigmatism.

Although relatively new, it has a 10 years track record and over 2 million procedures have been carried out worldwide. ReLEx SMILE is a keyhole laser procedure that does not require a corneal flap. It involves the creation and removal of a lenticule from within the cornea.

The absence of a flap allows the treatment of high degrees of short-sightedness (myopia), thinner corneas, and eyes with mild to moderate dry surface.

What are the benefits of ReLEx SMILE laser eye surgery?

  • An active lifestyle without the hassle of glasses or contact lenses.

  • Spectacle independence.

  • No contact lens risks.

  • Less dry eye than following LASIK.

  • Potentially better preservation of strength of the cornea than following LASIK.

  • Quick improvement in vision following the procedure.


Is laser vision correction painful?

A slight pressure feeling may be noticed during the procedure but no pain. Your eyes will be slightly gritty and sensitive to light for the first day or two.

Can laser vision correction cause blindness?

Permanent serious loss of vision following laser vision correction is extremely rare, as the procedure is not carried out inside the eye but on the outside.

Poor vision may be caused if an infection were to develop following the procedure; the risk of this occurring is approximately 1 in 10000. In the worst likely scenario, a form of corneal transplantation may be required to replace a damaged block of tissue in the cornea, restoring vision usually to driving standards. Problems that can lead to the need for transplantation include scarring after infection or an abnormal healing response, and an unstable corneal shape, also called corneal ectasia. These problems occur infrequently, and can often be corrected without transplant surgery.

Does laser vision correction cause dry eye?

For patients with a healthy eye surface prior to the procedure, lasting dry eye symptoms are unusual. Dry eye symptoms and intermittent blurring (variable vision) can be caused by reduced stability of the tear film between blinks.

Tear film stability and dry eye symptoms improve over the first two to three months after the procedure. During this period, most patients require the use of frequent tear supplements. Contact lens wearers usually experience an improvement in dry eye symptoms compared to before the procedure!

SMILE has a faster recovery compared to other laser vision correction procedures.

Is laser vision correction permanent?

The effects of laser vision correction on the cornea and your vision are permanent. However, in your fifth decade of life and later the natural lens inside your eye undergoes changes that may change your prescription and need for reading glasses.

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