SMILE Laser Eye Surgery St. Louis
Brinton Vision offers SMILE as a LASIK Alternative
SMILE is an acronym for Small Incision Lenticule Extraction, a laser eye surgery procedure that, in 23 seconds, treats patients with myopia, or nearsightedness, and astigmatism. SMILE is the latest technique in our lineup of laser vision corrective services, which includes Advanced LASIK plus its other variations: Implantable Contact Lenses (ICL), KAMRA Inlay, PRK, SBK and Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE). SMILE may be an option, even for people who’ve been told in the past that they are not good candidates for other advanced laser procedures.
Everyone has a different pair of eyes, and there is no one-size-fits-all corrective surgery at Brinton Vision. This is why we aren’t called “Brinton LASIK.” Dr. Brinton is not just a LASIK surgeon; he is a world-renowned, fellowship-trained, comprehensive refractive surgeon.
During your Brinton Vision Ocular Analysis (BVOA), we’ll determine the degree of the refractive error, the thickness and shape of your cornea, and other important factors to consider when selecting the best LASIK eye surgery options. Your surgeon will spend about half an hour discussing your results to determine which procedure is best for you.
What happens during SMILE surgery?
Just a few short years ago, LASIK utilized a mechanically controlled metal blade called a microkeratome. It was a good procedure; it was safe and it helped a lot of people, but it was not quite as precise as many ophthalmologists would have liked.
Then along came SBK. SBK utilizes what’s called a femtosecond laser. Not only do many patients have even better vision afterward, but their results are more predictable. Additionally, many patients who were once excluded from LASIK eye surgery have now been able to enjoy the visual freedom that SBK LASIK can provide.
IT’S SAFE. SMILE is a proven laser vision correction procedure. Even though it is relatively new in the United States, it has been available in 61 other countries worldwide since 2011 and has proven to be safe and highly successful.
IT’S COMFORTABLE. SMILE is one of the gentler vision correction procedures available. Most SMILE patients say they feel nothing at all and consistently describe the process as painless and very comfortable, both during and after the procedure. Because it is so minimally invasive, patients heal quickly. And, because it is not performed under a flap like some laser surgeries, there is a lower risk of dry eye symptoms that are sometimes experienced by LASIK patients are less likely. Most people are able to work, drive, swim, wear eyelid makeup and even play contact sports the next day!
IT’S FAST: From start to finish, the SMILE procedure takes just 15 minutes. The laser does its job in just 38 seconds, and it is a 100% femtosecond laser-based procedure.
What to Expect on the Day of the Procedure
Plan to be at the Brinton Vision surgery center for about 3 hours. You will need a driver to take you home, as your vision may be blurry after the procedure. Several tests will be repeated before your surgery.
When it’s time for your SMILE laser eye surgery to begin, anesthetic eye drops will be administered to numb your eyes. Then a small, gentle eyelid holder is placed between your eyelids so you don’t have to worry about blinking during the procedure.
Using the Zeiss VisuMax femtosecond laser, your surgeon will create a thin lenticule, or a disc-shaped piece of tissue. The surgeon will remove the lenticule, which will adjusts the shape of the cornea. This change of shape will change the way you see and will correct your vision.
Step 1: Lenticule creation
A microscopic “lenticule” (disc of tissue) is created inside the intact cornea.
Step 2: Lenticule removal
The lenticule is extracted through a small opening.
Step 3: Vision correction complete
Removing the lenticule alters the shape of the cornea, thereby achieving a refractive correction.
Post-Operative Care and Recovery
Brinton Vision’s medical technicians will provide instructions regarding the type and frequency of eye drops and restrictions that you will need following surgery. Unlike LASIK plus its five other variations, SMILE is the only vision correction procedure that does not require wearing eye shields.
SMILE patients usually report little if any discomfort during or after the procedure. Your vision may be blurry for the first few hours following surgery, but you will notice rapid and significant improvement shortly afterward. Most patients’ vision is good enough to drive or use a computer within four hours after surgery. We will see you for a follow-up visit the morning after surgery to make sure progress is as expected, but chances are good that you will be back to normal activities — only you’ll be able to see much more clearly!