How long does ReLEx SMILE take?

Typically patients having ReLEx SMILE have both eyes operated on at the same sitting, which is typical of all corneal laser refractive surgery such as PRK or LASIK. And the reason for that is that if one eye is treated and the other eye isn’t, a patient is very unbalanced. And as the risks are low nearly surgeons treat patients bilaterally.

Saftey checks.

So, when talking about how long ReLEx SMILE takes, from the time a patient walks into the operating room until the time they live will take approximately 15 to 20 minutes. A lot of that will be when the patient comes into the operating room their name is checked, they wear a wristband with their name and date of birth on it, any allergies, we check the laser, so everything is doubled checked and triple checked when a patient comes in the room. Because safety in laser eye surgery is really important. And in the same that if you were a passenger on an airplane, you would expect the pilot to double check, have a checklist, double check against the checklist before starting the engines; the same is true with laser eye surgery. When a patient comes in the room the patient is checked, the patient is double checked, the laser is checked, the laser is double checked, and then the laser is checked again just before treatment.

The quick procedure.

So some of the time, that 15 to 20 minutes, is the safety because it’s all about safety. Then the patient lies down, we’ll make the patient comfortable and typically I operate on the right eye first. So, the left eye is covered with a little tape so that nothing is seen through the left eye. And then during the procedure, all the patient can see with the eye that’s being operated on is a green flashing light, then their vision goes misty.

Then to treat the eye, each eye, takes anything from four to six or seven minutes, so the procedure’s very quick. So, typically to treat both eyes, the actual treatment time, maximum of four to six, maybe seven minutes occasionally. So, it can be as little as six minutes, three minutes an eye, but the whole procedure takes 15 to 20 minutes to make sure we get those safety checks absolutely perfect.

About the Author

Mr Robert Morris

BSc(Hons), MB BS (Hons), MRCP, FRCS, FRCOphth
Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

Robert Morris trained at St Bartholomew’s Hospital part of the University of London. He graduated with Honours in his final examinations. Robert completed his post-graduate ophthalmic training at the renowned units in Oxford Eye Hospital and London’s Moorfields Eye Hospital. Within the NHS, he has had a high volume cataract surgery practice and performed over 12,000 cataract procedures. He has an interest in squint surgery and is a national expert in this field. In addition to his NHS work, Robert manages a successful independent private practice. He continualy updates his training to keep abreast with the latest technology and techniques in refractive surgery.