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What is ZEISS SMILE® laser eye surgery?

The facts about ZEISS SMILE

ZEISS SMILE is an advanced laser eye surgery procedure. Using the ZEISS femtosecond laser, your surgeon can now correct myopia (nearsightedness) with or without astigmatism in a minimally invasive, flapless, and bladeless procedure. ZEISS SMILE aims to eliminate or reduce your dependency on glasses or contact lenses! 

Why choose ZEISS SMILE as your corrective eye surgery?

The ZEISS SMILE procedure takes on average 10 - 20 minutes and allows many patients to have a quick recovery. You should notice an improvement in your vision within a short period of time after your ZEISS SMILE procedure. With ZEISS SMILE, some patients can return to many of their regular activities of daily living as soon as the day following the procedure. However, patients should avoid risky activities such as contact sports or being in dusty or smoky environments. Before the eye surgery, your doctor will advise you on when it is appropriate and safe to resume any specific activities.

What are the advantages of the ZEISS SMILE procedure?

Minimally invasive—faster recovery

ZEISS SMILE uses a single laser which means the laser part of the operation takes up to only 30 seconds. The entire procedure, including the removal of the corneal tissue, generally takes 10 to 20 minutes in total. Due to the way the ZEISS SMILE system is designed, no unpleasant odors are produced during the procedure.
For comparison: with LASIK, the surgeon creates a flap to access your cornea; this flap could be dislocated which can cause complications afterwards. ZEISS SMILE is a minimally invasive flapless and bladeless procedure, intended to correct nearsightedness with or without astigmatism. Your doctor creates a small opening that’s less than 4 mm, which means faster recovery than typically the case with regular LASIK procedures, and a reduced risk of complications related to a corneal flap.

Schedule a consultation today and see if ZEISS SMILE may be the right choice for you.

  • Minimal invasive icon.

    Minimally invasive

    The ZEISS SMILE eye surgery is a minimally invasive procedure done on just one laser. The laser part takes less than 30 seconds. The opening created by the laser is less than 4mm.

  • Minimal invasive icon.

    Instant better vision

    No flap is required with ZEISS SMILE laser eye surgery. As a result, there is minimal disruption to the surface of the eye and your vision should stabilize within a few weeks.

  • Back to work icon.

    Faster recovery

    Vision in patients who receive ZEISS SMILE usually stabilises with a few weeks, and they can be back to work, exercising or wearing makeup pretty soon. Check with your doctor for your specific instructions and timings.

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    Less dry eye symptoms

    Because less corneal nerves are disrupted, patients may experience less post-operative dry eye symptoms with ZEISS SMILE.

What happens during the ZEISS SMILE procedure?

The three simple steps to correct your vision

The laser portion takes less than 30 seconds and the whole procedure, including the removal of the corneal tissue, generally takes 10 to 20 minutes in total. Before the procedure, your doctor may provide you with a mild sedative to help you relax throughout the procedure, ensuring your comfort.   

Many different people that could be suitable for SMILE.

Is ZEISS SMILE right for me?

ZEISS SMILE is FDA approved and is a high-precision, flapless procedure that can correct myopia (nearsightedness) with or without astigmatism. To find out if ZEISS SMILE is the right type of laser eye correction for you, we have provided some guidance for you. However, also always talk to your eye doctor who will do a personal vision and medical assessment if ZEISS SMILE is the right procedure for you.   

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Astigmatism and ZEISS SMILE

Check if you are suitable for the procedure

Astigmatism is a very common condition, leading to blurred vision that can cause headaches and eye strain. Astigmatism oftentimes comes together with other vision imparities such as far- or nearsightedness. Many patients with milder forms astigmatism may also profit from the benefits of ZEISS SMILE.   

ZEISS SMILE facts & figures

Did you know that …

  • 6,000,000

    ZEISS SMILE has successfully treated over 6 million eyes worldwide. As an FDA approved laser eye treatment, ZEISS SMILE might alsow be an option for you!   

  • 175 Years

    Carl Zeiss has over 175 years of leadership innovation and is a pioneer in high-precision optics. Today, ZEISS produces award winning medical technologies, laser systems, precision lenses, eyeglasses, and scientific optical systems.

  • 30 Seconds

    The laser part of the ZEISS SMILE operation takes just 30 seconds using precise femtosecond laser pulses. The overall procedure usually takes up to 20 minutes per eye.   

Hear what actual patients are saying about ZEISS SMILE

Alex Pieraccini

“I had the SMILE procedure after having terrible vision for over 20 years and I couldn't be more satisfied with the results.”

Alex Pieraccini

Clinical psychologist from Maryland

Brodie DeJernett OD

“SMILE has been a great refractive surgery option for me and my practice. My outcome with the procedure was exceedingly positive and the same can be said for my SMILE patients.”

Brodie DeJernett OD

Therapeutic optometrist from Texas

Cordt Flaetgen MLS Toyos

“I woke the next day with my vision better than ever and was ready to play in my professional soccer match the next day!”

Cordt Flaetgen MLS Toyos

Professional soccer player from New York

Francesca Presti

“SMILE was quick and truly life changing. My only regret is not having it done sooner!”

Francesca Presti

Radio talk show Host from Maryland

Map of the United States.

Find a ZEISS SMILE clinic near you!

Eye clinics offering the ZEISS SMILE procedure

To find out more about ZEISS SMILE and your personal suitability, don’t hesitate to talk to an eye doctor that offers ZEISS SMILE. While many laser eye correction clinics and chains in the U.S. will offer a seemingly good price of laser eye surgery, they are not using the advanced ZEISS SMILE procedure. To find a clinic offering ZEISSS SMILE near you, have a look at our clinic finder.

Frequently asked questions about ZEISS SMILE

  • Who is ZEISS?

    ZEISS technology is leading the way in various sectors, from medical technology to high-precision vision care and even microchips.
    You may know ZEISS from your last visit to the eye doctor, as ZEISS is a leading manufacturer of lenses and eyeglasses. ZEISS’ expertise also stretches to camera lenses and binoculars as well as observation and rifle scopes. In fact, ZEISS optics in the James Webb Space Telescope even allow humanity to see into the furthest reaches of the universe.
    But the company is more than that. With a history that stretches back over 175 years, ZEISS is an established, world-leader in advanced medical lasers and scientific optics. From its roots in Germany, the company now employs more than 35,000 people at 160 locations in 50 countries. Research and development are undertaken in 27 specialist research and development facilities to ensure ZEISS is always at the forefront of technology.

  • What equipment is used during ZEISS SMILE laser eye surgery? 

    Your surgeon will use the latest ZEISS medical technology during your corrective eye procedure. The ZEISS VisuMax system contains a femtosecond laser which produces infrared laser pulses at an extremely high rate. Each laser pulse delivers a very precise burst of light, thereby harming as little as possible any nearby, healthy tissue that must remain intact.
    To help the surgeon do their job effectively, the ZEISS VisuMax also features high-quality ZEISS microscopes, digital cameras, advanced interactive touch screens and integrated illumination. And for you, the patient, there’s a comfortable, ergonomic reclining support system.

  • Are there risks to the ZEISS SMILE procedure? 

    As with all surgical procedures, you may experience side effects after your surgery. However, ZEISS SMILE has been designed to be as minimally invasive as possible. Unlike other laser eye correction procedures, your surgeon only needs to create a small opening in your eye and the upper layers of the cornea remain virtually unaffected. However, you should know potential side effects may include: 

    • Disorders of the cornea, retina, and other parts of the eye 
    • Visual disturbance 
    • Visual impairment  
    • Ocular pain
  • How long will I need to recover?

    Even when your vision will need some weeks to stabilize, you might already see a difference in your vision shortly after the surgery. However, it is recommended that you do not rub your eye and follow the instructions of your doctor with regards to post-operative medications and any restrictions. During the healing process, you may feel some minor discomfort, such as a foreign body sensation or some blurry vision while your eye is healing. Also check with your doctor for specific instructions regarding your personal recovery.   

Please review our Patient Information Booklet for ZEISS SMILE safety information.