The new SMILE laser allows operations on patients with myopia of over five dioptres and up to twelve dioptres more safely and effectively, and ensures greater structural stability in the cornea in the long run. In addition, complications of dry eye are reduced as the surgery is minimally invasive.
The SMILE technique is the most advanced technique in corneal surgery to correct myopia and myopic astigmatism and it will also soon be licensed to correct farsightedness (hyperopia). The technique involves the creation of a corneal lenticule using a femtosecond laser this is extracted through a 2 mm incision.
This surgery is completely painless with a rapid postoperative recovery, so the patient has good vision within a week of the intervention.
How is SMILE better than LASIK or its improved versions such as Intralasik?
- It is a less aggressive surgery, preserving the cornea’s anatomical stability: while LASIK involves a cut of 270° around the cornea (around 20 micron) to generate a flap which is lifted and then reset, with SMILE a cut of only 20° (about 2 microns) is made. This means that the cornea’s biomechanics are preserved, that is, the anatomical stability of the cornea. There is, consequently, a lower risk of traumatic complications, so the technique is especially recommended for high risk professions (fire brigade, police, etc.) and athletes.
- SMILE allows operations on high myopia, up to twelve dioptres, and it is recommended from five dioptres, precisely due to the greater extent to which the anatomical stability of the cornea is preserved.
- It does not cause dry eye, since the damage to the corneal nerves is less than with LASIK. The recovery of normal tearing is, therefore, more favourable, particularly in women over 30 years of age and in contact lens users or for people who have previously suffered from dry eye.
- The LASIK and SMILE techniques are identical from the point of view of accuracy and effectiveness.
The main indication for surgery for myopia with the modern SMILE technique is in cases of myopia and myopic astigmatism exceeding 5 dioptres, where safety and long-term stability are much more guaranteed with SMILE than LASIK and in all cases of dry eye.