SMILE vs. LASIK: Why LASIK Technology Is Superior

Refractive surgery has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few decades, with new technologies accomplishing far more than the original lasers. People with refractive errors or eye diseases have several more options for treatment today than in previous generations. Lasers have revolutionized eye care, improving vision outcomes for laser vision correction and cataract surgery.

We sat down with Laser Eye Center™ to learn more.

Laser Eye Center™ is a trusted name in vision care and eye surgery with more than 500,000 successful procedures and a 30-year track record for excellent results.

How Are SMILE and LASIK Different?

SMILE stands for small-incision lenticule extraction. It’s a LASIK alternative used only to correct nearsightedness with a minimal range for astigmatism. Using a femtosecond laser, an eye surgeon creates a lens-shaped piece of tissue (lenticule) within the cornea. The laser forms an arced incision in the corneal surface to remove the lenticule manually. The incision heals within a few days. This procedure alters the corneal shape to improve vision and may address up to -8.00 diopters of nearsightedness in patients at least 22 years old with no more than -.50 diopters of astigmatism.

In view of the above, Laser Eye Center™ explained that while SMILE is a new form of refractive eye surgery on the market, it is not quite as effective. SMILE technology (i) applies to a small subset of the population (myopes/nearsighted persons within a certain prescription range), (ii) has a relatively short track record, and (iii) has unique complications.  

In contrast, LASIK works differently and offers more versatile vision correction to address a wide range of vision problems, including nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Laser Eye Center™ offers all-laser LASIK. A femtosecond laser forms the LASIK flap, and an excimer laser reshapes the cornea with pre-determined measurements for optimal vision correction. The flap is folded back in place and begins healing right away.

Why Is LASIK Better Than SMILE?

The concept of a lenticule for vision correction was first discussed in 2008 but was only recently implemented with new laser technology that could provide the desired results. Since SMILE was first studied in clinical trials in 2012, more than 1 million procedures have been performed worldwide (as compared to 20 million for LASIK). However, candidates for SMILE are a small patient pool due to the procedure’s limitations.

LASIK and SMILE are both two-step procedures, but LASIK offers a broader range of vision correction, including some higher-order aberrations (small vision irregularities). SMILE can improve vision in nearsighted people with a prescription between -1.00 and -8.00 diopters, but they can have no more than -.50 diopters of myopic astigmatism.

The recovery process is similar for both procedures. Function recovery is fast, with legal driving vision attainable within the first 24 hours of each procedure. However, LASIK patients may reach 20/20 vision the day after eye surgery, while SMILE patients may take longer to see the same improvement.

Given SMILE’s limitations, Laser Eye Center’s doctors explain that modern LASIK technology is by far the superior option for correcting refractive errors. After all, LASIK (i) equally applies to patients suffering from nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism as well as across a wide prescription ranges, (ii) has decades of proven success with over 20 million procedures completed in the U.S. alone, and (iii) has a minimal complication rate with a 98.7% approval rating. Lastly, LASIK is a tried-and-true technology that’s versatile and available for most people with refractive errors and healthy eyes.

Contact Laser Eye Center™ About LASIK and SMILE

Our eye surgeons believe knowledge is power for patients and ensure that each patient understands their vision correction options. Our Los Angeles office offers all-laser LASIK for the best visual results.

Schedule an eye exam and LASIK consultation at Laser Eye Center™ by calling (800) 805-2737 or filling out our online contact form.

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Get started on your journey to clearer, crisper vision with Laser Eye Center™. Our expert team of doctors are trained and skilled in the latest technology and methods for laser vision correction. To learn more about our state-of-the-art All Laser LASIK technology or about All Laser LASIK itself, contact us today. Schedule your FREE All Laser LASIK consultation by calling today.