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Is SMILE Eye Surgery Beneficial or Not?

It is believed that one of the most effective refractive surgeries for the correction of nearsightedness is SMILE. There is a range of refractive surgeries which are being preferred by people suffering from vision disorders. Laser Eye Surgery has been advancing ever since its inception and there are many treatments with which vision disorders can be effectively removed. Surgeries like LASIK, PRK, and LASEK among other are done to treat people who have chronic vision problems. Differing in the methods and procedures, every refractive surgery is distinct from the other. One of the LASER eye surgeries which have been used the most to treat myopic patients is SMILE.

What Do We Know About SMILE?

Before addressing it as a good or bad vision correction surgery, we should know what SMILE laser eye surgery actually is. SMILE is an acronym for Small Incision Lenticule Extraction. This is a medical procedure which is very much similar to LASIK eye surgery. SMILE is used for the correction of mildly to highly myopic eye. In LASIK and in SMILE, the similarity is that both the surgeries require an opening in order to reshape the cornea underlying. The only difference in between both of these is that in LASIK the opening is a bit large whereas in SMILE, the opening is relatively smaller so as to remove the lenticule. As the name signifies, only a small incision is made upon the surface of cornea. This corneal incision starts to heal in a few days after the surgery and the vision becomes sharper in a short span of time or LASIK.

The Benefits of Getting a SMILE Treatment

Mainly there are two benefits associated with the SMILE eye surgery procedure. Both of them have been listed below:

1. Small Incision is less risk

The first and the foremost benefit, which is also a major one, is the small incision. There are minimal changes which take place on the corneal surface. And as there are fewer changes, the time to heal is also reduced. In addition to the reduced recovery time, there is a very less or absolutely no risk of infection. After getting SMILE treatment, one is able to get back to normal work in a really short time.

2. The Procedure is Safe

Again, the small incision makes a great difference. As we are now aware that the incision in this procedure is smaller and this makes the procedure 10 times safer than all other refractive surgeries done for the myopic eye. This is also an effective treatment for the patients who have a thinner cornea.

3. No Flap Problems

This is one of the benefits which are exclusive in just the SMILE laser eye procedure. This procedure seems out to be very beneficial and overpowers other refractive surgeries in this case.

Have a Look at the Disadvantages

As we have seen what benefits are associated with the SMILE laser eye procedure, now is the time to look at the disadvantages associated with it. It isn’t like that there are only benefits of SMILE surgery. There is a whole range of disadvantages of SMILE laser eye surgery procedures.

1. Not for Hypermetropia

The first and major disadvantage is that unlike other refractive surgeries, this procedure is meant only for the myopic eye. This means that the SMILE procedure cannot be performed on the patients who are suffering from disorders like hypermetropia, astigmatism, and presbyopia. This is certainly one of the biggest demerits of SMILE laser eye surgery. There are still a lot of patients who are suffering from far-sightedness and astigmatism who are not at all benefitted with this.

2. Maintains Corneal Strength

Another disadvantage which should be mentioned over here is the misconception of corneal strength. It has been claimed by some of the SMILE enthusiasts that this procedure doesn’t hamper the strength of the cornea. It is a fact that the superficial layers of the cornea aren’t harmed with the incision. But there is no evidence to support this fact.

3. No Dry Eye: A Myth

It is very correctly stated that the corneal nerves suffer less cuts in SMILE eye surgery. It is said that the fewer the cuts the lesser is the dry-eye after the treatments. There have been many cases where the problem of dry-eye has been reported even after the SMILE surgery. However, this is also observed in other refractive surgeries also but SMILE is no different.

4. Higher-Order Aberrations

There is one potential risk with SMILE laser treatment for eyes and that is of the higher-order aberrations. These have an adverse impact on the quality of vision of the eye. And, the risk is observed higher at night. There have been a fair number of cases where HOAs are reported.

5. PRK for Residual Refractive Error

If after SMILE laser eye surgery the patient suffers any sort of the residual refractive error then the patient would certainly need a PRK.

6. Recovery

Instant recovery isn’t available with SMILE and so with any other type of refractive surgery. But with LASIK eye surgery there are still a lot of chances of getting a useable vision in just a few hours after the procedure. Recovery period, as you read in this blog earlier, is shorter but can even last up to a month. This is also one of the demerits associated with SMILE eye surgery.

7. Less Advanced than newer procedures – Contoura Vision

The SMILE procedure is a rather old way for the treatment of vision disorders. This is just suitable for specific nearsighted patients which aren’t in the case of other surgeries. There is one more risk which is associated with SMILE, the formation of wrinkles and adversely affected vision.

Newer procedures such as Contoura Vision have completely replaced Smile, providing benefits and safety unmatched by any Smile procedures


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