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LASIK, PRK, SMILE – An Overview of Laser Eye surgery And How They Work


Dr Hemlata
Dr Hemlata
4 min read

Individuals who suffer from refractive disorders of the eye are the ones with prescription glasses. These errors include myopia, hypermetropia and astigmatism. They undertake laser eye surgery to get rid of the glasses. All laser eye surgeries are short and precise procedures that are highly effective in correcting vision problems. Depending upon the patient’s condition, different laser eye surgeries are suggested to different people. The most commonly done laser eye surgeries are LASIK, PRK and SMILE. All three belong to different generations of evolution in the field of laser treatments for the eyes.


Photorefractive Keratectomy is a first generation procedure where a manual instrument is used to remove the outer layer of your cornea, called the epithelium. Then, an excimer laser is used to reshape your cornea so that your vision is improved.

People who persistently endure dry eyes syndrome along with their number are eligible for PRK. Patients who have thin or irregularly shaped corneas also qualify for PRK rather than other options like LASIK. Another category of patients that suit better to this treatment are people who have high-risk occupations where their eyes get more of direct contact. While the 2-6 weeks of recovery time of a PRK surgery is the longest out of the three, it is a safe and trusted treatment method.


The most commonly done laser eye surgery, Laser Assisted Stromal In-situ Keratomileusis is a second generation treatment. It is popularly used to cure mild cases of myopia, hypermetropia and astigmatism.

It differs from the previous treatment because, during this procedure, a small corneal flap is created from the tissue with a femtosecond laser. This flap is folded back, and then an excimer laser is used to reshape your cornea underneath it. The main requirement for this surgery is that the patient needs to have a certain level of thickness in their cornea for the flap to be created. Thus, people with thin corneas cannot have this surgery. People with dry eyes also cannot have this treatment as LASIK only amplifies that condition.

Smile surgery

Small Incision Lenticule Extraction or SMILE is the third generation laser eye surgery, hence the most advanced one out of all the options. One massive difference between SMILE and the previously mentioned surgeries is that SMILE only uses a single laser, no excimer laser is required here.

During this treatment, a femtosecond laser is used to create a minute incision in the cornea and remove a small part of the tissue (lenticule), changing the shape of the cornea. The lenticule extraction reshapes your cornea and treats the vision problem. Since the procedure disturbs the cornea least, there are hardly any side effects related to corneal stability after it. SMILE is accurate and takes the least recovery time out of the three.

If you are looking to get your vision improved and glasses removed, laser eye surgery is a safe way to do so. Get your eyes tested by a doctor to know which procedure will suit your condition best.