If you’re thinking about vision correction, you’ve probably heard of LASIK. But do you know about another procedure called SMILE? It may be just the answer you’re looking for.
What is SMILE?
SMILE is an FDA approved vision correction procedure. SMILE uses a laser to correct your nearsightedness (myopia) with or without astigmatism.
SMILE does this by changing the shape of your eye’s cornea. This allows light rays that enter the eyes to correctly focus onto your retina.
The goal of having SMILE is to improve your vision. Most patients can reduce or even eliminate the need to wear glasses and contacts after having SMILE.
What happens during the SMILE procedure?
The procedure involves making a tiny opening of less than 4 mm on the cornea. Your surgeon at Frantz EyeCare does this by using the highly precise, computer guided VisuMax femtosecond laser.
You will receive numbing eye drops before your SMILE procedure begins. This ensures you will not feel any pain!
There’s also an eyelid holder called a speculum that keeps your eyelids from blinking. Light suction is used to prevent your eye from moving.
The surgeon then uses the VisuMax laser to create a piece of corneal tissue. This tissue is known as the lenticule and it is about the same size as a contact lens.
The lenticule is then gently removed through the incision. Removing the lenticule changes your cornea’s shape.
This corrects your nearsightedness and astigmatism. It is flapless laser vision correction and heals on its own within a few days.
The result is sharper vision thanks to a procedure that lasts only 10 to 15 minutes per eye.
How is SMILE different from LASIK?
LASIK creates a much larger opening in the cornea. The opening created during LASIK is approximately 20 millimeters which is then used to create a flap.
The surgeon then opens the flap and uses another laser to reshape the cornea. The end goal is the same as SMILE, which is better vision.
SMILE uses a newer, more advanced laser. Creating a significantly smaller incision in the cornea disrupts it less without sacrificing visual acuity. The incision created during SMILE is only 4 millimeters or less.
Less Eye Trauma
Another benefit of having SMILE is that SMILE patients often experience less dry eye symptoms than those who undergo LASIK. There are fewer corneal nerves affected during SMILE than during LASIK.
SMILE also allows the cornea to naturally maintain more of its stability. For patients that have been told that they do not qualify for LASIK because of a condition like dry eye syndrome, they may be better suited for SMILE instead.
Lower-Risk of Needing Future Enhancement Procedures
When addressing high degrees of nearsightedness, LASIK patients are at a higher risk of needing an enhancement procedure to achieve clear vision without glasses or contacts. With SMILE patients, the risk of this occurring is often lower.
During SMILE, the cornea experiences less dehydration.
Your SMILE eye surgery in Fort Myers or at other Frantz EyeCare locations can’t correct farsightedness or stand-alone astigmatism. SMILE is only FDA approved to correct astigmatism that’s accompanied by myopia.
Who is a good candidate for SMILE?
To undergo SMILE, you must be a good candidate for the procedure. Good candidates for SMILE include:
- You are nearsighted with or without astigmatism
- You have between -1.00 and -10.00 diopters of myopia and up to -3.00 diopters of astigmatism
- You are 22 years of age or older
- Your eye prescription hasn’t changed in at least the last year
- Your eyes and cornea are both in good health
SMILE eye surgery in Fort Myers is an especially good LASIK alternative for people with active lifestyles or jobs. If you’re more active, not having to worry about a corneal flap that can move out of place or get wrinkled or torn may be a safer option!
Even if you seem to check all the boxes, the only way to know if you are a SMILE candidate is to have a SMILE consultation. Your eye care professional will be the one that determines if SMILE is right for you.
At Frantz EyeCare, we’ll conduct a comprehensive diagnostic examination. This will match you with your best vision correction option in Fort Myers or at our other locations based on your unique circumstances and needs.
What is the recovery after SMILE like?
Recovery after having SMILE is incredibly fast. Here’s what your recovery timeline might look like:
Right after the procedure:
Someone needs to drive you home. Take this time to rest your eyes and relax.
Within one to two days:
You should be ready to use laptops and computers. Be sure to take regular screen breaks to reduce eye fatigue and dry eyes. You can also go back to low-impact, routine activities. You can usually drive the next day, however, Frantz EyeCare will give you detailed driving-related advice to ensure your safety.
After one week:
You can resume high-impact activities like swimming and contact sports after your eye doctor clears you. Your vision may stay blurry for a few weeks as your cornea continues to heal. The best thing to do during this time is to keep your eyes rested and avoid eye strain.
Your eye surgeon at Frantz EyeCare will also prescribe medication and eye drops. Instructions should be precisely followed to ensure a full recovery.
Most people’s vision is 80% better only a few hours after getting SMILE. Within the next one to weeks, most patients notice a 100% improvement in their vision.
If you’re ready to wake up in the morning with clear vision, schedule your SMILE consultation! Contact Frantz EyeCare in Naples and Fort Myers today!