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LASIK vs SMILE: Navigating the Landscape of Vision Correction

In the realm of vision correction, two leading procedures vie for attention: LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) and SMILE (Small Incision Lenticule Extraction). These refractive surgery techniques share a common objective – addressing vision issues like nearsightedness – but their execution varies significantly

The LASIK Approach: Precision with a Flap

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In the LASIK procedure, a thin flap is meticulously crafted on the cornea using a microkeratome or femtosecond laser. This flap is then lifted, allowing the underlying cornea to be reshaped with an excimer laser. Patients typically enjoy rapid visual improvement within the initial 24 hours, with full stabilization requiring a few weeks. Postoperative discomfort is minimal, and LASIK is suitable for myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, and can be combined with monovision for presbyopia. Pros include quick visual recovery and minimal discomfort, while potential cons involve rare flap-related complications and the possibility of temporary dry eyes.

The SMILE Technique: A Unique Minimally Invasive Alternative

On the other hand, SMILE involves creating a corneal “lenticule” with a femtosecond laser, which is extracted through a small incision without the need for a corneal flap. Visual recovery is longer compared to LASIK, taking several weeks to months for full stabilization. Postoperative discomfort is mild, and SMILE is primarily designed for myopia correction. It may be suitable for individuals with thinner corneas or those ineligible for LASIK. Pros of SMILE include its minimally invasive nature(recent studies show that this is not as true as originally thought). However, limitations include its limited availability, slower visual recovery, and similar complications to LASIK, including the potential for temporary dryness. Additionally, the cost of SMILE can be significantly higher than LASIK or PRK.

Choosing Wisely: Which is right for you?

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Choosing between LASIK and SMILE depends on individual factors such as corneal thickness, preference for flap creation, and the importance of quick recovery. Both procedures are effective refractive surgery options, and the decision should be made in consultation with an experienced ophthalmologist who can consider your unique needs and circumstances.

While SMILE is marketed as a less invasive alternative to LASIK, it is a relatively recent addition to laser vision correction. Due to the limited availability of long-term data regarding its safety and effectiveness, we have not yet incorporated SMILE into our offerings at LasikPlus. Our commitment to providing the best care prompts us to await a more comprehensive understanding of this procedure before making it available to our patients.

It’s crucial to clarify that our decision to postpone adopting SMILE is not a reflection of its safety or effectiveness. Instead, it emanates from our confidence in the extensive medical community experience with LASIK over the years. Consequently, we stand with assurance in offering LASIK as the preferred choice to our patients at LasikPlus.