What Is the Difference Between Lasik and Relex Smile Procedures?

Posted by  On 26-10-2021

Most people have heard of LASIK. Since coming on the scene all those years ago, it’s revolutionized the field of ophthalmology, increasing the powers of eye surgeons to radically change the lives of the patients they want to help.

However, time waits for no technology, and new methods and techniques are being constantly developed and refined, offering unique advantages and downsides.

If you are considering eye surgery, you shouldn’t decide without having the full knowledge of the different methods and what they entail. After all, what else would be fair?

So that search for understanding has led you here, reading this article. Keep reading a bit more, and you’re sure to understand the difference between LASIK and ReLEx SMILE.

What is LASIK Laser Eye Surgery?

Let’s start with an explanation of what these procedures are. After all, it might make sense to understand that which seems more commonplace and well known.

LASIK stands for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis and it is a type of vision correction eye surgery.

This procedure has been tried and tested for years and is safe, effective, quick, and long-lasting. It works for several refractive issues, including hyperopia, myopia, and astigmatism.

A LASIK procedure then can be done either traditionally or using the bladeless technique.

The “traditional” method, as it were, as it’s hardly traditional, is to cut a flap in your cornea (the clear top layer to your eye). From there, the internals can be hit with lasers to reshape them and fix the issues that affect your eyes. The only difference for bladeless is that it uses a laser instead of a scalpel to cut the incision. Regardless of how you do it, both procedures are considered very effective and safe.

What is SMILE?

ReLEx SMILE, known by some as small incision lenticule extraction, is a great option for vision correction.  

This procedure is newer than LASIK and was first approved for widespread use in 2016. However, it has already been shown to be just as safe and effective as LASIK and can treat myopia and myopic astigmatism problems.

SMILE works through the use of a femtosecond laser. The surgeon will use this powerful laser during surgery to create a thin contact lens-shaped layer below the cornea’s surface. It takes just 30 seconds to create this object. Then the marking is removed through a tiny millimetre-wide opening in your cornea.

Then the surrounding tissues fuse and heal together within just a few days, clearing up your vision. 


So now you know both. However, learning about them doesn’t give you that much insight into which one you should be using.

The important thing to remember is that both of these choices are extremely effective and safe refractive surgeries. They are very similar in their usage of lasers and their god-like reshaping of your eyes, but they get to their ends through very different means.

You will likely need to make this decision with your eye doctor, who can understand your exact needs and desires. However, there are some known advantages and disadvantages to each.

Benefits and Downsides

The shared benefits of both these procedures are pretty impressive. They’re both low-risk and have very limited downtime, meaning you can get back to daily activities like exercising within just a few days.

As well, both of these procedures are relatively painless and rapid, meaning you can return home immediately after the procedure. And once you wait a day or two, you can expect to have 20/20 vision in a heartbeat.

However, there are some definite differences. For instance, LASIK uses both an excimer and femtosecond laser, while SMILE uses just a femtosecond laser..

LASIK surgery comes with the risk of developing dry eye symptoms, while SMILE has significantly smaller risk of dry eye symptoms.

Similarly, SMILE has a generally faster recovery time than LASIK, whereas, after LASIK, you have to operate under postoperative restrictions for some time, restricting your lifestyle.

Similar to the first point, SMILE’s procedure, in general, is less invasive, not requiring the corneal flap that LASIK demands.

But even though the advantages lean towards SMILE, there’s one big catch. LASIK can correct certain refractive issues that SMILE just can’t touch. Specifically, SMILE cannot correct hyperopia, more commonly known as farsightedness. 

Thankfully you can choose the right option for yourself without worrying too much. Both procedures cost approximately the same.

Closing Thoughts

So there’s a lot of jargon and technical aspects to digest here. The important thing to realize is the differences in procedure and how that affects which one you should choose. SMILE is generally the better option for you owing to its less invasive nature and faster recovery time, but you may have to use LASIK if you have certain eye conditions. 

By this point, you should have a pretty firm grasp of the two laser eye procedures and the advantages and disadvantages of each. However, even with all this information, deciding on a surgery that may impact one of your most important senses, that of vision, is not an easy one to make.

Thankfully, this isn’t something you have to do all alone. Our professionals who deal with LASIK and ReFlex SMILE surgery in Toronto all day can inform you about what you can and should choose.

To learn more about the difference between LASIK and ReFlex SMILE, call Clearview Vision Institute at 647-493-6371 or contact us here.

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