SMILE eye surgery is a microprecision 30 second procedure irrespective of the treatment required. It is innovative twist to lasik eye surgery. As you may recall Lasik and Superlasik use mechanical devices or lasers to cut a plane in the cornea. What you may not be aware of that before lasers were deployed to improve vision, a procedure called ALK or Automated Lamellar Keratectomy existed. Here two different settings in a mechanical keratome cut a disc proportionate to the amount of vision correction required. This was not very accurate but that’s the same principle being used in SMILE eye surgery. Full form of SMILE is Small Lenticular Extraction.
Just like ALK it removes tissue from a deeper part of the cornea than lasik. This layer of cornea is less dense and contributes less to the strength of the cornea. Theoretically, therefore more tissue could be removed from this deeper layer than the front of the cornea.
The laser platform used in SMILE eye surgery is Visumax. It has been developed by Carl Zeiss, from Germany. Carl Ziess is well known in the ophthalmic community. They have produced advanced diagnostic equipment for decades. Slit lamps and topographers have set the industry standard. This laser can make flaps of different sizes. This is a femtosecond laser. That means it can be used with Visx laser to do lasik eye surgery. Normally femtosecond lasers like intralase generate one cleavage plane. Visumax laser has the ability to produce one or two cleave planes. The tissue between the two cleavage planes is removed. This is essence is SMILE Lasik eye surgery or small lenticular extraction procedure.
IS SMILE Lasik eye surgery an option for you?
Like Lasik eye surgery SMILE also requires a thorough evaluation. It may be a little forgiving but still has to respect the fundamentals of safe Corneal Refractive Surgery. Therefore, a stability in refraction is essential. A pachymetry distribution map in conjunction with color corneal topography is analyzed for safety of corneal intervention. A pentacam with computerized analysis is also helpful. Of course, absence of cataracts, glaucoma, maculopathy and other eye disease is required.
Who Can do SMILE Eye Surgery?
Only the very best lasik eye surgeons certified in SMILE eye surgery by Zeiss. This requires having done 50 lasik with the visumax laser. You see, this is a breakthrough technology which is painless. It require cooperation between surgeon and patient, without holding the eye with high pressure which causes pain, redness and visual disturbance. That’s why Zeiss insists on a strict training protocol.
SMILE Eye Procedure vs PRK And LASIK
Surface ablation just below the epithelium
Reshaping done below epithelium and a portion of corneal stroma
A disc of corneal stroma is removed
Excimer laser like Allegretto or Visx reshapes the cornea
Excimer laser and a microkeratome or Femtosecond laser like intralaser employed
Only one femtoseocnd laser the Visumax used
One plane treatment
One plane treatment
Two plane treatment designs the outline of the lenticule
Patient discomfort commons
Risks of flap complication
No flap complications