If you are considering laser surgery to correct a refractive error such as myopia or astigmatism, SMILE may be a viable option.
What is the SMILE technique?
Micro-invasive surgery for vision correction
SMILE, Small Incision Lenticule Extraction or extraction of the lenticule by micro incision, is the latest advance in laser eye surgery. This minimally invasive procedure corrects various visual disturbances such asmyopia and astigmatism.
It’s a popular option, proven by the more than 1,300 clinics and 2,500 surgeons worldwide who use SMILE every day. Millions of eyes with myopia and/or astigmatism have been operated on with the SMILE technique in more than 80 countries.
How does SMILE work?
SMILE technology uses a femtosecond laser to reshape the cornea. This femtosecond laser is an infrared laser that delivers ultra-short pulses and is also often used to create a LASIK flap. The high intensity delivered punctually by the laser over a very short pulse duration (a few femtoseconds) creates extremely precise individual impacts (bubbles) which together form cuts or planes in the corneal tissue without affecting the adjacent tissues.
It takes less than 30 seconds for the laser to cut a small, lens-shaped strip of corneal tissue (called a lenticule) inside the cornea. Then, in order to reshape the cornea and correct the refractive error, the surgeon extracts the lenticule through a small incision made in the outer part of the eye.
The femto second laser produces (or creates) a thin layer just below the surface of the eye surgery, and at the same time creates a small opening. This procedure is virtually silent and odorless, the patient can remain in the same position from start to finish.
The femtosecond laser is designed to pass through the upper layers of the cornea without damaging them, in order to create the lenticule only at the level of a specific sub-layer inside the cornea, in other words:
With an incision of less than 4 mm on the surface of the eye, SMILE® makes it possible to carry out a micro-invasive procedure.
The outer layer of the cornea does not need to be removed.
The corneal nerves that stimulate the lacrimal glands are less affected and remain able to lubricate the eye. Side effects, such as dry eyes, are rare after SMILE.
The stability of the cornea remains intact, as none of its upper layers are affected.
Preparing for the procedure
Before and on the day of the intervention
Before the procedure, the doctor usually gives patients the following instructions:
Discontinue wearing hard contact lenses for at least four weeks and soft lenses for two weeks before the procedure, as they may interfere with preoperative diagnostic tests.
Do not wear make-up, or apply perfume or lotion the day before and the day of the procedure. These products sometimes leave residue around the eye and lashes, increasing the risk of infection.
Plan another transport solution for the return home after the intervention and, possibly, in the days that follow.