The Nuts & Bolts Of SMILE Laser Eye Surgery

Fri Apr 02 2021

The human eye is considered the main sensory organ of the visual system. Visual clarity can be impacted due to refractive errors like nearsightedness (myopia) and farsightedness (Hyperopia). In nearsightedness, the distant objects appear blurry whereas in farsightedness, the nearby objects may appear blurry.

The good news is that advancements in technology have led to various solutions to address these common eye problems. A common solution is ‘laser eye surgeries’ like SMILE eye surgery and LASIK that are largely driven by cutting-edge technology. In this blog, we cover the ins and outs of SMILE eye surgery.

What is SMILE eye surgery?

SMILE (Small Incision Lenticule Extraction) is a key-hole laser vision correction surgery that is performed using the Femtosecond Laser. SMILE, also referred to as ReLEx (Refractive Lenticule Extraction) SMILE, is an FDA-approved procedure which has been in existence since 2012.

SMILE eye surgery is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that has the potential to treat astigmatism with a cylindrical power of up to 5 Diopters. The age limit for SMILE surgery is 18 to 40 years.

SMILE Eye Surgery Procedure

SMILE eye surgery is a highly advanced bladeless vision correction surgery that offers more precision than other alternatives like LASIK and Contura. Here are the major steps involved in SMILE eye surgery:

  1. Eye drops (anaesthetic) are used to numb the eye
  2. A Carl Zeiss Visu Max laser is used to create a small lens-shaped tissue (lenticule) within the cornea
  3. Using the same laser, an arc-shaped incision is made inside the surface of the cornea
  4. The lenticule extracted through the incision is discarded
  5. The shape of the cornea is altered to correct nearsightedness

The corneal incision heals without any stitches, and the entire procedure is completed in less than 15 minutes. The vision is restored within a few hours and is approximately 80 percent better than the earlier vision. You will experience 100 percent vision improvement within a few weeks of SMILE eye surgery.

Precautions after SMILE Eye Surgery

Though the entire procedure of Smile Eye Surgery takes less than half an hour, it is important to take precautions post-surgery.

  • Do not self-drive when heading back from the hospital due to low visibility (owing to the surgical procedure).
  • Take a nap or relax for a good amount of time after you have reached home. This is to avoid unnecessary strain on the eyes.
  • Use eye drops as prescribed by the doctor.
  • Avoid getting water in the eyes at least for 3-4 days.
  • Resume day-to-day activities only after a week as vision would have restored completely within that time frame.

On the whole, your vision will gradually improve with each passing day. Taking the above-mentioned precautions will ensure that there is no impact on the recovery time of SMILE eye surgery.

Side effects of SMILE Eye Surgery

The common question that would come to your mind is ‘Does SMILE eye surgery have any side effects?’. Well, SMILE eye surgery’s side effects and complications are expected to happen only in a minuscule percentage of eye patients.

Here is the list of the major SMILE eye surgery side effects:

  • Night Vision Issues

Akin to other forms of laser eye surgery, SMILE eye surgery also has the risk of side-effects related to night vision. The glare and halos from the bright light can occur during the night. Night lenses should be used for dealing with glare and halos.

  • Difficulty in near vision

This is a common side effect and can be treated by some simple home exercises

  • Double Vision

In Double vision (or diplopia), the objects appear as ghost images. It mainly occurs due to the mismanagement between the image receptors. Follow-up procedures for correction are required only in case of severe double vision issues.

If you observe any of the SMILE eye surgery side effects, contact the eye doctor at the earliest.


ReLEx SMILE surgery is a preferred refractive eye surgery in comparison to other options. One of the very few disadvantages of ReLEx SMILE is that it does not correct Hyperopia.

It is essential to choose an eye hospital well-equipped with advanced facilities and has experienced eye surgeons. Centre for Sight is one of the very few eye hospitals in India with the best team of doctors, SMILE surgeons, and other support staff. That’s not all; Centre for Sight has performed the maximum SMILE procedures in India.

Article: The Nuts & Bolts Of SMILE Laser Eye Surgery
Author: CFS Editorial Team   |   Apr 02 2021 | UPDATED 12:00 IST

*The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Centre for Sight.

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