There are a lot of questions when it comes to laser eye surgery. This website covers general information and some of the most frequently asked questions are answered below. For further information and specific questions about an individual case and eligibility, it is important to consult an eye doctor.
Am I a suitable candidate for laser eye surgery?
If your eyesight has been stable over the past year (usually after the age of 18), you wear glasses or contact lenses to correct your vision and are otherwise healthy and not pregnant, you may be a candidate for laser eye surgery. Your eye doctor will be able to tell you if this is a viable option for you.
How do I find the right doctor for laser eye surgery?
One of the most important parts of a laser eye surgery is finding the right clinic. There are many factors to consider, including the doctor’s experience, and the technology he or she uses. Visiting doctors, researching surgeons and comparing them might help when choosing the doctor or clinic you feel most comfortable with. When consulting a doctor, it is good to prepare your questions beforehand.
Can both eyes be done at the same time?
Yes, both eyes can be treated during the same session. Your eye doctor will decide whether this is possible.
Does laser eye surgery hurt?
In almost all cases, laser eye surgery is virtually pain free. You will receive anesthesia drops to numb your eye. You may feel some pressure around the eye at times during the surgery, but this is completely normal and not painful. After surgery, you may have a foreign sensation in your eye for a few hours.
How long do the effects of laser eye surgery last?
Laser eye surgery is usually permanent, but if your prescription changes in the future, you may need to wear glasses or contact lenses, or consider an enhancement surgery.
Who is eligible for SMILE?
SMILE is designed to correct myopia, astigmatism or a combination of the two, but is currently not an option for farsightedness (hyperopia) yet.
The nature and degree of the refractive error, and the curvature and thickness of the cornea also play a role.
Your profession and hobbies are also important. If you often participate in strenuous contact sports, your doctor might recommend a treatment with SMILE.
As with other laser vision correction methods, you will first need to undergo a detailed eye examination to determine whether you are a suitable candidate.
Together, you and your doctor can chose the best option to suit your needs.
PRK/LASEK also requires no flap in the cornea. How do these solutions differ from SMILE?
PRK/LASEK procedures have a longer healing time and involve some discomfort until reaching the final stabilized vision result. The stabilization of visual acuity also takes more time.
After SMILE, how long does it take before I will be able to see properly without glasses or contact lenses and return to my normal routine?
The healing process differs for every patient. In most cases visual acuity is very good one or two days after surgery and stabilizes within one week. Just a few days following the treatment, the majority of patients are able to drive, work, and participate in sports without glasses or contact lenses.
My eye doctor has never heard of SMILE. Is this not a popular solution?
Lenticule Extraction is the latest advancement of laser vision correction and SMILE has been available since 2011. The technique is known and recognized by medical trade associations related to refractive laser eye surgeries.
The popularity of SMILE continues to grow, and over 1,800 surgeons have already successfully treated more than 3 million eyes.
Is SMILE a proven application?
Femtosecond laser technology is clinically proven and is used for Femto-LASIK as well as cataract surgery. SMILE is the latest development using this laser technology for laser vision correction.
It has been performed in controlled clinical studies since 2007 and has been commercially available since 2011. The first SMILE-patients have been monitored for over ten years post-treatment. It is currently established in over 70 countries worldwide.
What advantages does Femto-LASIK offer over the classic LASIK method?
The difference between the Femto-LASIK and the classic LASIK method is the way the flap in the cornea is created. A laser is used to cut the flap in Femto-LASIK. With the classic method, the surgeon opens the cornea manually with a microkeratome (mechanical device).
The laser can be more precise and predictable in cutting the flap than the manual method with a mechanical device. However, eye surgeons do not have a uniform opinion that one method is more clinically superior than the other. The decision between the two is based on a patient’s existing conditions and the doctor’s preferences.
What are my chances of seeing as well as when I wore glasses or contact lenses after LASIK surgery?
Not everyone will end up with 20/20 vision after undergoing LASIK surgery. A global review of LASIK from 2009 however, found that more than 95% of LASIK patients from 1995 to 2003 were satisfied with the outcome of their surgery.
PRK/LASEK and SMILE surgeries require no flap in the cornea. How do these solutions differ from LASIK?
PRK/LASEK is not typically recommended for the treatment of severe nearsightedness, while SMILE can’t treat farsightedness.
It’s best to discuss your options with an eye specialist and find an ideal solution for your individual needs.
How long will it take to recover after LASIK surgery and return to my normal routine?
The procedure typically takes around 30 minutes, and you can return to your daily activities within a day or two.
Recovery time differs between individual patients, but the flap should be stable within a matter of days. Your vision may take a few days to become stable after the surgery.
Doctors typically require a follow-up exam the day after and one month after surgery to check on your progress.
What is the difference between LASEK and LASIK?
There are two big differences between these types of laser eye surgeries.
With LASEK the inner layers of the cornea are exposed. The doctor applies an alcohol solution to loosen the epithelium , which is temporarily pushed aside. The doctor then applies the excimer laser, an ultraviolet laser used in eye surgery, to remove corneal tissue by ablation. During LASEK, this is done at the exposed top layer of the cornea.
With LASIK, a flap is cut with a mechanical device or a laser, folded back for surgery, and then repositioned when surgery is complete. The layer of corneal tissue ablated in LASIK occurs in the stroma, a sublayer of the cornea.
The second difference is the recovery time and patient experience. LASIK patients typically have a much shorter healing period with less discomfort.
I have thin corneas. Does this mean I should get a treatment with PRK over SMILE or LASIK?
The surgery most suitable for you also depends on your prescription and other pre-existing conditions – such as dry eye syndrome. If you are ineligible for LASIK, a possible solution could be either PRK/LASEK or SMILE. Both applications might be alternatives for those with thin corneas or more severe cases of myopia. Candidates also include those who may be at a high risk for flap complications (e.g certain jobs, sports and hobbies that are strenuous or involve contact). Your eye doctor will be able to recommend the best laser eye surgery procedure for your individual case.