You may think that if you’ve heard of one vision correction procedure, you’ve heard of them all, especially when it comes to SMILE and LASIK. But that’s actually not even close to true!
The truth is, there may be some similarities between LASIK and SMILE, but they are not the same thing. Keep reading to learn why and to decide if one of these procedures may be right for you!
How SMILE and LASIK are alike
If you’re going to compare these two procedures, the biggest similarity is they both provide patients with visual freedom. Now, keep in mind, that’s only if you qualify.
Like any kind of surgical procedure, you must first qualify for LASIK or SMILE before you can undergo them. But if you are a good candidate, expect a whole new world to open up around you!
Say goodbye to glasses and contacts and hello to vision as you’ve never seen before. You may think that you can “see” with your glasses and contacts, but these procedures are all about providing you with the best possible vision.
Glasses and contact lens prescriptions can only improve your vision so much. Permanent vision correction procedures like LASIK and SMILE allow you to see with clarity and take your vision to the next level.
Another way that LASIK and SMILE are similar is they are both permanent procedures. It would be awful to achieve the best vision of your life and then have it revert back, wouldn’t it?
Both SMILE and LASIK are permanent because they reshape the cornea. If you have any refractive errors like nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, these are the reason you need to wear glasses or contacts to see.
Both LASIK and SMILE are minimally invasive procedures that only take a few minutes to complete and are easy to recover from.
How SMILE differs from LASIK
Although they bear some similarities, SMILE is not the same procedure as LASIK. The next question that usually comes up is which procedure is better, SMILE, or LASIK?
There’s no right or wrong answer here because it depends on the patient. For some patients, due to factors beyond their control, like corneal thickness, SMILE may be a safer procedure.
Why SMILE is safer for those that weren’t LASIK candidates: no-flap creation and smaller incision
Patients may have found out they are not a good LASIK candidate but are better suited for SMILE instead. One of the biggest things that set SMILE apart from LASIK is there’s no flap created during SMILE.
Creating a flap with an incision is a crucial component during LASIK because it is how the cornea is reshaped and refractive errors are permanently corrected. But during SMILE, instead of a flap, a small incision is created inside the cornea.
The smaller incision created during SMILE is about the size of a contact lens, which is about 4 millimeters in length. Traditionally, the incision that’s created during a LASIK procedure is approximately 20 millimeters, which is much larger than the SMILE incision.
Now, why does this matter? 4 millimeters compared to 20 millimeters doesn’t sound like it’s that much bigger.
But it can make a big difference when it comes to recovering and potential side effects. With LASIK, the most common temporary side effect patients experience after the procedure is dry eyes.
Because of that smaller incision (a difference of 16 millimeters!) patients that undergo SMILE experience fewer dry eye symptoms compared to LASIK. There’s even more significance here because many people that don’t qualify for LASIK and get SMILE may already have dry eye syndrome.
For those that already have dry eye syndrome, a procedure like LASIK could make their dry eye symptoms worse, at least temporarily.
For sufferers of dry eye syndrome, patients with thinner than normal corneas, larger pupils, and those with an extremely active lifestyle that LASIK wasn’t right for, SMILE may be the vision correction solution you’ve been looking for! A major advantage of SMILE over LASIK is the smaller incision.
While the smaller incision is better for those that have dry eyes, it may also allow those that are severely nearsighted to get SMILE if they didn’t qualify for LASIK. Patients that may have been previously turned away for LASIK but still want freedom from glasses and contacts are often more likely to qualify for SMILE as a result of its quick recovery, smaller incision, and no-flap creation.
SMILE provides gentle and comfortable vision right away
SMILE may not be right for everyone, but for those that it is right for, it’s a life-changing procedure. A good SMILE candidate might look like the following:
- You are nearsighted, with levels that are between -1 and -10
- You have mild astigmatism that’s up to 3 diopters
- You are at least 18 years old
- Your prescription hasn’t changed in at least a year
- You are in good health
- Your eyes are healthy
- Your eyesight is stable
- You have healthy enough corneas
You may notice that some of the qualifications that go into SMILE candidacy are a little different from those with LASIK. As discussed before, it’s because they are not, as some people believe, the same procedure.
One thing that may stand out, in particular, is that there’s nothing up there about being farsighted. As of right now, if you’re farsighted, SMILE is not the right procedure for you.
FDA approval for SMILE only extends to mild astigmatism (up to 3 diopters) and nearsightedness. If you’re farsighted, you may want to consider procedures like PRK or LASIK instead for this reason.
Vision correction can seem like a dream come true. Who wouldn’t want to finally be able to wake up every morning and see without glasses or contacts? Make your dream a reality by scheduling a consultation at IQ Laser Vision, the #1 SMILE Laser Vision Center in the USA in Los Angeles, CA today!
If glasses and contacts feel like they are holding you back, isn’t it time to take control and do something about it?