ReLEx SMILE Eye Surgery: What to Expect

Posted by  On 26-01-2023

SMILE, or Small Incision Lenticule Extraction, is a laser eye surgery that is used to treat nearsightedness, otherwise known as myopia. The first procedure of its kind was performed in 2006, succeeding the introduction of the femtosecond laser by Zeiss, which is a medical technology company based in Germany.

Contrary to other surgical eye procedures, such as LASIK and PRK, the minimally invasive SMILE procedure involves a lesser degree of manipulation of the corneal tissue, ultimately minimizing potential risks and complications while also speeding up recovery time.

This article will discuss SMILE eye surgery in detail, including who it is most suitable for, in addition to what patients can expect before, during, and after the procedure.

How does SMILE work to correct vision?

ReLEx SMILE eye surgery corrects refractive errors through corneal adjustment. The cornea describes the transparent dome of tissue present at the front of the eye, and its role is to bend or refract light that enters the eye.

In order to improve a patient’s vision, the shape of the cornea must be altered in order to allow it to redirect and bend the light that passes through it to direct its focus to a clear point on the retina that exists at the back of the eye.

This is achieved with SMILE eye surgery through the utilization of the femtosecond laser to create a precise sliver of tissue within the patient’s cornea, referred to as a lenticule. Once this lenticule is created, it is extracted by the surgeon via a keyhole incision under 4 mm in width.

Who is SMILE eye surgery most suitable for?

ReLEx SMILE eye surgery can be a more suitable procedure for certain individuals compared to other refractive error correction surgeries. This includes people who suffer from a pre-existing dry eye condition, who work or spend time in environments presenting a higher risk of trauma (as the SMILE technique fortunately allows the cornea to stay more anatomically intact). 

The SMILE procedure can even be suitable for individuals with myopic prescriptions in the double digits, as well as those with astigmatism.

What to Expect Before Your SMILE Eye Surgery

Prior to your ReLEx SMILE eye surgery, you will have a thorough consultation with the doctor in order to ensure you are a fitting candidate for this type of refractive surgery. During this consultation, the doctor will take specific measurements necessary for calculating the shape and location of the corneal lenticule.

As every patient deserves to be as informed as possible before deciding to go through with eye surgery, you will also have a chance to ask the doctor questions and voice any concerns. The doctor will be there to educate you and to put your mind at ease, and will ensure that you’re aware of what’s required on your end for a successful surgical outcome.

What to Expect During Your SMILE Eye Surgery

During a standard ReLEx SMILE procedure, the eye will first receive topical anaesthetic eye drops to protect the patient from discomfort. A sedative is also offered to relax the patient during the procedure. 

Next, the eyelids will be kept open while you are asked to focus on a target light. This is when the special femtosecond laser will create the corneal lenticule, which will then be removed via keyhole incision.

The surgery is very short in duration, with the procedure on each eye taking only a few minutes and patients generally spending no longer than around 20 minutes on the operating bed.

What to Expect After Your SMILE Eye Surgery

Following your SMILE procedure, your doctor will provide you with post-operative instructions to follow. You will also need to arrange a follow-up appointment to monitor your progress. Most people are able to return to work and drive within just a few days of their procedure. However, some patients may need more time than this.

It will take some time for your new and improved eyesight to stabilize (generally, a few weeks). Most people, though, report that they notice significant vision improvement soon after surgery (as soon as the next day).

Clearview Vision Institute: The First Clinic in Canada to Offer ReLEx SMILE Eye Surgery

If you suffer from nearsightedness or astigmatism and are ready to finally part ways with your eyeglasses and contact lenses, the minimally invasive ReLEx SMILE eye surgery might be just the procedure you need.

Our team of experienced doctors is ready to speak with you to help you determine whether ReLEx SMILE is right for you and your unique set of eyes.

To book an appointment, call Clearview Vision Institute at 647-493-6371 or contact us here.

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