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LASIK vs SMILE: Which is Best for You?

  • 6 min read
A LASIK surgeon performs laser eye surgery on a patient

LASIK and SMILE are both laser vision correction procedures that can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. They are both considered safe and effective. Still, there are some key differences between the two procedures. These differences may make one a better option for a particular patient.

Read on to compare SMILE vs. LASIK and make the right decision for you and your eyes.

SMILE vs LASIK: The Similarities

Both SMILE and LASIK have the same end goal. Both procedures alter the shape of your cornea, a structure at the front of your eye responsible for sight.

The cornea’s main job is to help your eyes focus so you can see the world clearly. It accomplishes this by bending (or refracting) the light as it hits your eye. If your cornea is the incorrect shape, it can make this process less efficient. As a result, you won’t see as clearly.

By reshaping the cornea, your surgeon will ensure that your eye refracts light as intended. As a result, you may achieve up to 20/20 vision. 

Each procedure uses a slightly different technique to accomplish this change. Regardless of the technique, the end result is significantly improved vision. Most patients do not need glasses or contact lenses after LASIK or SMILE. 

SMILE vs LASIK: The Differences

Why would a patient choose one procedure over another? Some people are more familiar with LASIK and feel more comfortable with a procedure they understand. They may have friends or family members who had a successful LASIK procedure. Likewise, some individuals prefer the newest, most advanced technology, even if it’s less familiar. 

We’ve found that patients feel more confident choosing SMILE vs LASIK when they understand the differences between each. We’ve explained more about each surgery below.

What Is LASIK?

LASIK is a more traditional laser vision correction procedure. It involves creating a flap in the cornea and then using a laser to reshape the underlying corneal tissue. More advanced LASIK procedures, such as SuperLASIK, may not require an incision. Still, the creation of a corneal flap is what sets this surgery apart from similar refractive procedures.

What Is SMILE?

In contrast, SMILE is a newer procedure that does not involve creating a flap. SMILE stands for small incision lenticule extraction.

Instead of a flap, it uses a laser to create a small incision in the cornea. The surgeon then uses a suction device to remove a small segment of corneal tissue. This segment is the lenticule, the small disc-shaped piece of tissue that gives the procedure its name. 

A smiling LASIK surgeon prepares to perform a procedure on his patient

Is SMILE Better than LASIK?

Many patients ask us if SMILE is “better than” LASIK. A better question would be, “Is SMILE a better procedure for my vision level, eye health, and financial situation?” 

Most individuals are candidates for both procedures and “better” is subjective. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind when choosing between the SMILE procedure vs LASIK surgery. They may help you determine which is better for your unique situation.

The Advantages of LASIK

There are several advantages to LASIK. It is a more established procedure with a longer track record of success. It is also typically less expensive than SMILE. However, LASIK has a slightly higher risk of side effects, such as dry eyes and glare.

The Advantages of SMILE

SMILE has several advantages over LASIK. It is a less invasive procedure with a lower risk of side effects. It is also typically faster and more comfortable than LASIK. 

You may experience a faster recovery, allowing you to return to work or other activities sooner. For some patients, this makes it more financially feasible.

However, SMILE is a newer procedure with a shorter track record of success. It is also typically more expensive than LASIK.

For many people considering LASIK vs SMILE, cost is a significant consideration. Still, most agree that peace of mind is worth the slightly higher expense.

How Do I Choose SMILE vs LASIK?

What is the best laser vision correction procedure for a 22-year-old with stable refraction and normal corneas? There is no single correct answer. The patient should always choose the procedure that is right for them. Discuss your individual needs and preferences with your eye doctor to determine which procedure is the best option.

LASIK vs SMILE: A Summary

Here is a table that summarizes the key differences between LASIK and SMILE:

InvasivenessMore invasiveLess invasive
Risk of side effectsHigherLower
ComfortLess comfortableMore comfortable
CostTypically less expensiveTypically more expensive
Track record of successLongerShorter

As you may note from the table, SMILE is much better for most consumers. 

Furthermore, using the advanced SMILE equipment requires specialized training and continuing education. A surgeon’s ability to perform the procedure speaks to their dedication to their practice.

When it comes to your vision, it’s critical to choose a talented, experienced surgeon who you trust. Expertise and extensive training lead to more positive outcomes for patients. A SMILE-trained surgeon is a surgeon who has made their practice a priority.

With that said, at Khanna Institute, we want to give our patients the best without adding financial strain. That’s why we offer SMILE at the same, lower price as LASIK. Now cost does not have to factor into your decision to choose the right procedure for you. The best part is that our success rate of SMILE is comparable to that of LASIK.

Experience SMILE or LASIK at Khanna Institute

It is important to note that these are just general guidelines. The best way to determine which procedure is right for you is to talk to your eye doctor. 

Your journey toward improved vision begins with a free consultation at Khanna Institute in Beverly Hills. For your convenience, we offer remote consultations at satellite offices throughout the greater Los Angeles area. Reclaiming your vision has never been easier or more accessible. We can’t wait to help you experience clearer sight in our comfortable and welcoming office. 

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