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A “flapless LASIK,” SMILE is a minimally invasive Laser Vision Correction procedure. During SMILE laser eye surgery, a lenticule is created inside the intact cornea using the ZEISS VisuMax femtosecond laser. The removal of the lenticule through a very small peripheral corneal incision achieves the desired vision correction.
Because no large cut is made in the cornea as in LASIK, the cornea retains its natural architectural structure and physiology better than LASIK. The result is greater corneal biomechanical stability and potential for less dryness following surgery. For these reasons, the procedure is particularly more suited for people with thin cornea and dry eyes. Furthermore, without the flap, patients are able to resume almost all normal activities immediately after surgery.
Dr. Paul C. Lee, at CCRS, was the first U.S. eye surgeon to be certified on this revolutionary laser vision correction procedure in November of 2014 by performing the very first SMILE surgery on the West Coast.
In SMILE, laser vision correction is done without making a corneal flap, as is done in LASIK. A small sliver of corneal tissue is removed through a tiny incision, leaving the cornea essentially intact. For this reason, SMILE is referred to as the flapless LASIK. By not making a corneal flap, all potential flap-related complications are eliminated.
SMILE surgery takes about 15 minutes per eye, which is similar to LASIK surgery.