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smile vs lasik


Which Procedure Offers the Best Results for Vision Correction?

If you have been researching LASIK surgery, you may have come across articles about a newer refractive surgery called SMILE. The acronym—which stands for Small Incision Lenticule Extraction—is catchy, but it is important to know that SMILE is not the same as LASIK. Let us take a look at a few key differences between SMILE and LASIK.


Both surgeries involve reshaping the cornea but use different methods and technology.

During the SMILE surgery, a single femtosecond laser removes a small lens from the cornea by making four minor incisions on the cornea’s surface. During wavefront-optimized LASIK, two different lasers are used to create a tiny corneal flap and reshape the corneal tissue. LASIK technology allows for more precise and customized vision correction.


SMILE offers vision correction for patients with nearsightedness and astigmatism—and that is it.

LASIK can also be used to correct farsightedness and other higher-order aberrations. At this time, patients with cataracts, glaucoma, corneal abrasions, or a history of eye disease—among other conditions—are not good candidates for SMILE but can sometimes be treated with LASIK.

Are you wondering whether LASIK or SMILE is a better option for your vision correction? While the American Academy of Ophthalmology notes that the advantages and results of SMILE may be comparable to LASIK, it is still too soon to know reliable outcomes. In addition, there is a higher rate of retreatments with SMILE. Eye, a publication of Nature.com that focuses on the latest clinical and laboratory-based research in visual science, published an article in September of 2023 that addressed this:

“SMILE has created a significant interest due to the potential benefits and its advertised safety profile. However, most of these advantages have not been proven over time.

[Regression] of myopia after refractive correction is also a major issue with SMILE. A number of studies have shown that highly myopic eyes experience significant regression after 1 year post-operatively.”

For this reason, LVC of Cleveland does not perform SMILE at this time. We will continue to stay on top of the latest SMILE outcomes and studies and provide updated information to our patients.

If you are interested in vision correction for your nearsightedness or astigmatism, we recommend speaking to your eye doctor and scheduling a consultation at LVC to learn more about the outcomes available through LASIK.

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