If you haven’t yet heard of SMILE eye surgery, perhaps that’s because it’s among the newest laser eye surgery options in St. Louis. SMILE is an acronym for “small incision lenticule extraction,” and is a form of laser eye surgery used to treat myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia, and astigmatism. It’s an alternative to LASIK, and St. Louis was the first city in the U.S. to debut it, thanks to Dr. Jason Brinton at Brinton Vision.
SMILE combines the advantages of ASA (sometimes called PRK) and LASIK, plus it is minimally invasive and is considered to be a flapless procedure. The entire process is done by a single femtosecond laser — the same laser used in SBK. Because there is no flap, there are no flap-related complications, including dry eye experienced by patients who have other procedures.
SMILE is a great LASIK alternative when it is performed by a skilled refractive surgeon on patients who are thoroughly screened for candidacy. At Brinton Vision, SMILE has been very successful, and has given our patients a lot to smile about, including:
1) It’s new, but it’s not.
SMILE eye surgery received FDA approval in the United States in late 2016, and Dr. Brinton is proud to be the first U.S. surgeon to perform SMILE after FDA approval. But it isn’t without plenty of research. In fact, SMILE has been used across Europe, Asia, and Australia for years, beginning in 2008, and has been refined ever since.
2) It’s minimally invasive.
In several refractive procedures, including LASIK, the rounded surface of the cornea is reshaped using laser technology. In SMILE, a segment of the cornea, called a lenticule, is removed through a tiny 3 mm keyhole opening, creating a more regular surface.
3) It’s an option for many people who don’t qualify for LASIK.
LASIK in St. Louis is typically a safe and effective option, but it isn’t for everyone. For example, if you have dry eye or ocular surface disease, you may have been told you have no options. If you’be been told you can’t get LASIK in St. Louis (or anywhere else, for that matter), you may now be a candidate for SMILE eye surgery, and a comprehensive Brinton Vision Ocular Analysis will determine if that’s the case.
4) The numbers are out, and they’re good!
A growing number of peer-reviewed studies show that there is no significant difference in safety or effectiveness between SMILE laser surgery and LASIK eye surgery.
5) One and done!
Unlike LASIK, which uses a femtosecond laser to create a flap, then an excimer laser to reshape the surface of the cornea, the entire SMILE procedure requires only one laser. Better yet, it uses the quietest of the two lasers — the femtosecond laser — which means less stress for patients who feel anxious.