Laser Vision Correction - SMILE

Small incision lenticule extraction

SMILE is third generation laser technology. It is best described as “keyhole “ laser surgery. It is minimally invasive and is a flapless procedure. It is described by surgeons as the gentle treatment option. SMILE is only available with the Carl Zeiss Visumax Femtosecond laser, for this procedure.

Envision Eye Centre is one of the first practices in Australia to offer this newest proven technique in the continuing advancements in the world of laser vision correction surgery.

Envision Eye Centre was formerly known as Sydney Cornea Clinic


What are the steps?

The laser creates a small piece of tissue called the lenticule inside the cornea with the laser which is removed through a small keyhole incision of 2-4mm. Removing the lenticule changes the shape of the cornea and corrects the refractive error.

How does SMILE differ from LASIK?

SMILE is a minimally invasive small incision procedure. The upper layers of the cornea are left unaffected. This means reduced dry eye as compared to LASIK where the incision is 80% larger.

SMILE is a flapless procedure, unlike LASIK where a flap is created. No flap with SMILE means it may be a more suitable treatment option for patients who play contact sports, and for military and flight personnel.

With SMILE, the laser procedure takes less than 30 seconds. The laser is silent and odourless. It is a one-step one laser procedure unlike LASIK which is a two step laser procedure.

Who is suitable?

Good candidates are over the age of 21 with a stable refraction for greater than 12 months

Suitable patients include myopic (short sighted), and patients who have astigmatism

SMILE is not suited for hypermetropic (far sighted) patients at the current time, although this may change in the future

Suitable for patients with higher levels of myopia

Patients must not be pregnant or breastfeeding

Good vision in glasses or contact lenses

What to expect on the day?

Please expect to be in at the facility for 1 hour. This includes pre-operative administration of drops and relaxing medication and some instructions on what to expect when you are in the laser suite.

It is important to have a friend or family member accompany you on the day. Wear comfortable, warm clothes as the laser room is set at a specific temperature and humidity.

The actual SMILE procedure takes about 5-10 minutes per eye. It will be a pain free experience as topical anaesthetic will be administered to numb the front part of the eye. You will have a special instrument inserted under your eyelids to stop you being able to close the eye.

The doctor will talk to you throughout the procedure with instructions where to look. It is common to feel a bit of tugging as the doctor removes the lenticule. Once the treatment is complete the doctor will apply both an antibiotic and steroid eye drops.

Patients will then be taken to a consulting room where the surgeon will run through instructions and check the cornea. It is normal for vision to appear hazy. It is very important not to rub the eye after surgery. Hard eye shields will be given to wear.

Advantages of SMILE over LASIK

Safety and Reliability

SMILE is third generation laser surgery and although is hasn’t been around as long as PRK and LASIK the results are predictable.

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