SMILE Vs. LASIK – A Comprehensive Comparison

SMILE Vs. LASIK - A Comprehensive Comparison

The world of vision correction surgery has been revolutionized over the past few decades, and today, there are several options to consider for those who wish to minimize their dependence on glasses or contact lenses. SMILE and LASIK have emerged as two frontrunners in the field, both promising improved vision and a better quality of life. But how do these procedures compare? Which might be the better choice for your unique needs? This blog aims to provide a comprehensive comparison of SMILE vs LASIK surgeries.


What Are SMILE And LASIK?SMILE and LASIK are both advanced forms of refractive eye surgeries. Both aim to correct common vision problems such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. And help in reducing or eliminating the need for glasses or contact lenses.

  • SMILE (Small Incision Lenticule Extraction)

SMILE is a relatively newer technique in refractive eye surgery. It has gained popularity due to its minimally invasive nature. The procedure is carried out using a femtosecond laser, which creates a small, lens-shaped piece of tissue (lenticule) within the cornea. This lenticular is then removed through a small incision. And the removal causes the shape of the cornea to change, correcting the refractive error.

The primary advantages of SMILE are that it doesn’t involve the creation of a corneal flap. That means there is less risk of certain complications, and it can result in less dry eye syndrome post-surgery compared to LASIK. It is typically used to treat myopia and astigmatism.

  • LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis)

LASIK, on the other hand, is a well-established and widely recognized refractive surgery technique. In the LASIK procedure, a thin flap is created on the surface of the cornea using a femtosecond laser or a microkeratome. This flap is then lifted, and an excimer laser is used to reshape the underlying corneal tissue. The flap is then repositioned back into a place where it adheres naturally.

LASIK has a long track record and is approved for a wider range of vision problems. It also generally offers a rapid visual recovery with most patients achieving good vision within a day or two.

Is LASIK And SMILE The Same Thing?

No, LASIK and SMILE are not the same thing. While both procedures are designed to correct refractive errors in the eye using laser technology, the methods they employ are quite different.

In LASIK, a corneal flap is created, lifted, and the underlying cornea is reshaped with an excimer laser. The flap is then replaced, serving as a natural bandage for the reshaped cornea. SMILE, on the other hand, does not involve creating a corneal flap. Instead, a small lenticular (a piece of corneal tissue) is created and removed through a small incision, thereby changing the shape of the cornea.

Although the aim of both procedures is to improve vision by altering the cornea’s shape, the choice between LASIK and SMILE will depend on a variety of factors. Always consult with a qualified ophthalmologist to determine which procedure is most suitable for your unique needs.

Difference Between SMILE vs LASIK

Difference Between SMILE vs LASIKWhile both SMILE and LASIK are surgical techniques designed to correct refractive errors, there are several key differences between them. From the nature of the procedure to the recovery process and potential side effects:

Procedure Methodology

  • LASIK: Involves creating a thin flap in the cornea’s surface, lifting it to reshape the underlying corneal tissue with an excimer laser, and then repositioning the flap.
  • SMILE: A lenticular (small disc of corneal tissue) is created and then removed through a small incision. This changes the shape of the cornea. Notably, SMILE does not involve creating a corneal flap.

Invasiveness and Healing

  • LASIK: As it involves flap creation, LASIK is considered more invasive. The healing primarily involves the outer layer where the flap was created.
  • SMILE: This procedure is considered less invasive as it does not involve flap creation. The smaller incision also may lead to more structural stability of the cornea and potentially fewer dry-eye symptoms postoperatively.

Correctable Vision Problems

  • LASIK: It is approved to treat myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism.
  • SMILE: And, this SMILE surgery is primarily used to treat myopia and astigmatism.

Technological Requirements

  • LASIK: Requires the use of two lasers – a femtosecond laser to create the flap and an excimer laser to reshape the cornea.
  • SMILE: Only requires a femtosecond laser to create and remove the lenticular.

Visual Recovery

  • LASIK: Typically offers rapid visual recovery, with most patients achieving improved vision within a day or two.
  • SMILE: Visual recovery may be slightly slower compared to LASIK. Full visual outcomes might be achieved a few days after the procedure.

Please note, while the above differences provide a general guide, every individual case is unique. The choice between SMILE and LASIK should be made in close consultation with a qualified eye surgeon, taking into consideration the specific eye condition, lifestyle, and personal preferences of the patient.

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