What is a SMILE procedure?

One of the joys of being an eye surgeon is that new technologies are always coming along. And Zeiss, the well-known German optical company, who produces ophthalmic lasers, have developed a laser that carries out what’s called a SMILE procedure.

What it involves is using a femtosecond laser, to create two layers of bubbles in the cornea and then, through a small keyhole incision, a disk that’s created by the bubbles, is removed from the cornea. The cornea shape is then remodeled and it addresses the short-sightedness or astigmatism and in the future will address longsightedness.

The SMILE procedure is not for everybody but it can be very advantageous procedure for certain groups of people. In patients for whom the SMILE procedure is suitable, a great advantage is, instead of having a surface procedure, patients can have the SMILE procedure which is associated with a very rapid recovery – like a flap procedure – and the comfort for the patient is excellent.

It’s a more comfortable procedure, certainly than a surface procedure, but also a flap procedure, because the only surface incision made in the cornea is in the tiny keyhole incision. And that makes the procedure very comfortable.

It is also advantageous in that it maintains the structural integrity of the cornea much better than a flap procedure. And this is what’s so interesting about it and we will understand more over the coming years.

More about Robert Morris

Rob Morris is a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at The Grange Eye Consultants. His special expertise is in cataract and refractive surgery, including Refractive Lens Exchange, and adult squint. He has over 30 years experience in treating people with eye problems. Rob Morris founded Grange Eye Consultants to manage the increasing demand for more complex refractive surgery. He leads clinical trials investigating novel eye treatments. He is currently Medical Director at Optegra Eye Hospitals.