There are two main types of spectacle removal with laser eye surgery :LASIK and SMILE. LASIK: The most popular type of laser eye surgery that creates a flap which is gently lifted so that the cornea can be reshaped. The treatment of LASIK surgery has a rapid visual recovery time for some patients. SMILE: Stands for Small Incision Lenticule Extraction (SMILE), is the least invasive treatment compared to LASIK. No need to create a flap, the cornea is reshaped through a keyhole procedure which means some patients usually benefit from a short recovery period. What is the difference between SMILE & LASIK Surgery?
- Method or technique (FLAP in Lasik and Flapless in SMILE): In LASIK there is creation of a “Corneal Flap” with an instrument called microkeratome or by using Femtosecond laser, commonly termed as bladeless LASIK. In LASIK there are mainly two steps, first- make the flap, second- treat the powers with another laser system called excimer. In SMILE a single cutting laser system is used to create a lenticule without any flap. which in simple words is part of the corneal layer, which once removed treats the powers or spectacle numbers.
- Use different Lasers: In SMILE there is only one laser used- i.e.; the Zeiss Femtosecond laser. While in LASIK, various brands of excimer lasers are used to treat the powers.
- Recovery time of the surgery is little varied: It is said that the actual recovery SMILE is quicker because there is not ‘cut’ or flap made and the small incision through which the lenticule is removed heals very quickly, by end of the day or next and can enjoy the activities like swimming, outdoor sports within the first week itself. In LASIK these kind of energetic activities are usually allowed after 15 days to a month.
- Safety and Comfort: Less disturbance of the cornea allows LASIK to be performed in a shorter amount of time and with less post-operative discomfort. But patients may experience some irritation and discomfort for up to 24 hours after surgery. While SMILE takes Laser Eye Surgery to another level of patient comfort. SMILE offers approximately half the amount and duration of dry eye over the recovery period and also strengthen the cornea as the flap is replaced by a cap.
- Not good LASIK candidate, SMILE is for you: If you are disqualified from LASIK eye surgery because of irregular shapes or thin corneas, chronic dry eye syndrome then SMILE surgery could be yours.
- Pricing: Budget is usually one of the important things to take consideration on. However, it should be not the only factor for the base of your decision. Since there are 2 different types of laser vision correction, the prices vary accordingly. But in general, SMILE surgery is most affordable for you.