Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) vs. Small Incision Lenticule Extraction (SMILE): A Comparative Analysis
If you're considering eye surgery, it's important to understand the differences between LASIK and SMILE procedures. Two popular vision correction procedures are Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) and Small Incision Lenticule Extraction (SMILE). If you're considering undergoing surgery, it's essential to understand the ideal candidates, costs, and potential complications associated with each procedure.
Key Facts about LASIK Surgery
LASIK, which stands for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, involves using an excimer laser to permanently reshape the cornea, the clear front covering of the eye. During the procedure, your LASIK surgeon will create a corneal flap using a laser or blade device. This surgery aims to address your vision needs effectively. To find a skilled LASIK surgeon for this procedure, utilize the LASIK directory provided on the Trusted LASIK Surgeons website.
Essential Information about SMILE Surgery
SMILE surgery, short for small incision lenticule extraction, is another type of vision correction surgery that also alters the corneal shape. By enhancing the accuracy of light focus in your eyes, SMILE allows your retina to receive light properly, resulting in improved vision. While SMILE surgery is a relatively recent alternative to LASIK, it has shown promising results, making it a viable option. Unlike LASIK, SMILE does not require the creation of a large corneal flap, which means that fewer corneal nerves are affected by the SMILE procedure. This may explain why there is a lower risk of dry eyes after a SMILE procedure compared to LASIK surgery.
Ideal Candidates for LASIK and SMILE
While SMILE can only correct myopia (nearsightedness), LASIK and other forms of laser vision correction surgery can correct higher degrees of myopia, hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism.
LASIK surgery is generally suitable for individuals who have stable vision and meet certain criteria. Ideal candidates should be at least 18 years old, have a stable prescription for at least one year, and have sufficient corneal thickness. They should also have good overall eye health and not suffer from certain conditions, such as severe dry eye or corneal diseases.
SMILE surgery is often recommended for individuals who have myopia (nearsightedness) with or without astigmatism. It can also be suitable for individuals with presbyopia, a condition that affects near-vision focus which is typically associated with your ability to read fine print. However, SMILE is not typically recommended for individuals with high degrees of myopia or astigmatism.
Costs and Financing Options
The costs of LASIK and SMILE surgeries can vary depending on several factors, including the surgeon's experience, location, and the specific technology used.
On average, LASIK surgery costs range from $2,000 to $3,000 per eye.
SMILE surgery may have a slightly higher average cost, ranging from $2,500 to $3,500 per eye.
It's important to consult with a reputable vision correction surgeon to obtain an accurate cost estimate based on your individual needs. Many LASIK and SMILE surgeons offer financing options, such as monthly payment plans or medical financing, to help make the procedures more affordable.
If you’d like to learn more about the total price of LASIK, please visit our True Cost of LASIK discussion.
While LASIK and SMILE surgeries are generally safe and effective, it's essential to be aware of potential complications. Common side effects may include dry eyes, glare, halos, or temporary vision fluctuations.
Serious complications such as infections, corneal scarring, or persistent vision problems can occur in rare cases. It's crucial to discuss these risks with your eye surgeon and ensure you understand the potential outcomes before proceeding with any vision correction surgery.
Visit Trusted LASIK Surgeons™ for More Information
If you're considering LASIK surgery or another vision correction procedure, we invite you to visit our Trusted LASIK Surgeons™ Directory, which only features the best LASIK surgeons who have proven expertise so you can find a highly skilled LASIK surgeon near you.
To learn how we screen LASIK and cataract surgeons for inclusion in our directories, please visit our discussion entitled “Qualifications and Screening of LASIK and Cataract Surgeons.“