ReLEx SMILE (aka “SMILE LASIK”) Defined

ReLEx SMILE, or “SMILE LASIK”, approved by the FDA in September 2016, is a laser procedure that uses a femtosecond laser, which is the same type of laser used to create the LASIK flap. It creates a pocket cut in the cornea and then the tissue is removed through that pocket cut with tweezers. The higher level of myopia (nearsightedness), the more tissue is removed manually through the pocket. With LASIK or PRK, a laser removes the tissue to correct your vision.

Differences Between “SMILE LASIK” and LASIK or PRK?

Custom TreatmentNOYES
Accounts for Corneal CurvatureNOYES
Eye TrackingNOYES (500x/sec)
Optical Zone6.56.5 blended out to 7.5 reducing halos/glare
Treats AstigmatismNOYES (up to -6)
Type of Vision It TreatsNearsightedness OnlyNearsightedness (up to -12) Farsightedness (up to +6)
Maximum Nearsightedness-8.0-12
Enhancement / Second Treatment PossibleNOYES
Tool to Remove TissueTweezersLaser

In the FDA trials, the percentage of ReLEx SMILE patients that received 20/20 vision was only 88%. The results for 20/20 vision with LASIK or PRK are much better than that – even without Contoura topography guide treatment. At Providence Eye & Laser Specialists, the rate of our patients achieving 20/20 vision is 97%!

Advantages and Disadvantages of "SMILE LASIK"

Several studies have been conducted since the FDA approved ReLEx SMILE, which show that there is no real advantage over LASIK. Some “SMILE LASIK” advocates state that it is less invasive, may cause less dry eye, and may have less impact on corneal structural strength. However, none of the studies have supported these claims and they all have shown that the risks and recovery complications for “SMILE LASIK” are the same as LASIK.

Research “SMILE LASIK” Before Scheduling Your Surgery

Always do your research, and do not be lured in by a catchy phrase. Any type of laser vision correction surgery needs to be properly evaluated by an expert surgeon. You should fully understand the procedure that is being recommended before you get started and read online reviews about “SMILE LASIK” to make sure your experience and surgeon are going to meet your standards.

Contact us today for a complimentary LASIK consultation at Providence Eye & Laser Specialists.