SMILE® Laser eye Surgery

SMILE® (Small Incision Lenticule Extraction) is the latest technique in laser eye surgery. Known as ‘keyhole’ laser eye surgery, it is minimally invasive, gentle and pain free. The recovery time is also quicker and there is less chance of infection and dry-eye associated with other procedures. 

Our principal surgeon, Dr John Males has helped pioneer the SMILE® procedure in Australia. We look forward to assessing your suitability for SMILE®

Is SMILE® available everywhere?

SMILE® is only available using the Carl ZEISS Visumax Femtosecond laser. Envision Eye Centre is one of the first practices in Australia to offer this newest proven technique. All SMILE® procedures are conducted onsite in our clinic.

ZEISS is known for precision and expertise in optics for more than 170 years. They developed the unique and innovative SMILE procedure which uses a highly precise femtosecond laser system.

Carl Zeiss Femtosecond Laser

What is involved in the SMILE® procedure?

SMILE laser eye surgery step 2

Step 1: Creating the lenticule

A small piece of corneal tissue (lenticule) and a small incision are created inside the intact cornea.

SMILE laser eye surgery step 3

Step 2: Removing the lenticule

The lenticule is removed through the small incision with minimal disruption to the cornea.

SMILE laser eye surgery step 4

Step 3: Correcting the refractive error

Removing the lenticule changes the shape of the cornea, correcting the refractive error.

What are the benefits of SMILE®over LASIK?

  • SMILE® is a minimally invasive creating only a small incision (80% smaller than LASIK) whereas LASIK creates a much larger incision to create an entire flap.
  • SMILE® is a 1 step laser procedure, whereas LASIK is a two-step laser procedure, meaning SMILE surgery itself can be completed in less than 30 seconds.
  • SMILE® leaves the upper layers of the cornea less affected than LASIK meaning a much less chance of dry eye or infection after surgery.
  • SMILE® has a quicker recovery with patients able to see clearly within a few days and often sooner than that.
  • SMILE® is silent and odour free whereas LASIK there may be a slight burning smell and the laser is audible
  • SMILE® is suited to people who play contact sports, surf or for those employed in the military or as flight personnel. The reason being, the flap created by LASIK can take many months to heal completely.

Who is suitable for SMILE® Laser Eye Surgery?

The following people are a good fit for SMILE® surgery:
  • Over the age of 21 who have had a stable refraction (prescription) for greater than 12 months.
  • Short-sighted patients (myopic) or patients with an astigmatism
  • People who have good vision in glasses or contact lenses

Who is not suitable for SMILE® Laser Eye Surgery?

  • SMILE® is not currently suited for far-sighted patients (hyperopic), although this may change in the future.
  • Patients must not be pregnant or breastfeeding

What are the risks of SMILE® laser eye surgery?

Australia is one of the pioneering countries for this procedure and Envision Eye Centre performed one of the first SMILE® procedures in Australia. Our principal surgeon, Dr John Males is a world renown cornea specialist and among the leading group of surgeons performing SMILE® surgery in Australia today. Still, with any surgery there are risks. The following will be clearly explained to you in your assessment:

  • While less than with LASIK surgery, there may still be a chance of infection and scarring. It is important to complete the post-operative eye-drop treatment and check-ups to avoid this.
  • During the procedure there may be a case of what is known as suction loss. If this occurs there may be a need to perform another type of vision correction. In the rare event this does occur, everything will be explained to you.
  • SMILE® is the latest technique of laser eye surgery. As a result there are no long-term studies. The level of predictability however is high. With over 2 million successful surgeries completed worldwide, the chances of complication are rare and considered as less than 1 in 5000.

Preparing for Surgery

What to expect for your SMILE® surgery

During the procedure

  • The actual SMILE® procedure (setup and surgery) takes about 5-10 minutes per eye. It will be a pain free experience as topical (eye drop) anaesthetic will be administered to numb the front part of the eye. You will also have an instrument inserted under your eyelids to stop you being able to close your eye or blink during the procedure.
  • The doctor will talk to you throughout the procedure with instructions on where to look. It is common to feel a bit of tugging as the doctor removes the lenticule, however this is pain free. 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.

Prior to surgery

  • Please expect to be in at the facility for 1 hour. This includes pre-operative administration of eye drops including a relaxing medication along with 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 to escort you home after the procedure. While you will be able to see you are not allowed to drive and your eyes will be extra sensitive to light.
  • Wear comfortable, warm clothes as the laser room is set at a specific temperature and humidity to ensure ideal operating temperatures for the laser.
  • If you wear contact lenses these should not be worn 3 days prior to surgery. This will be explained again to you in your free assessment.

Post-operative recovery

  • Hard eye shields will be given to you to wear whilst sleeping to prevent you rubbing your eyes during the night. A course of antibiotic and steroid drops will be given to apply at regular intervals.
  • A check-up will be performed the following day, followed by another check-up one week later. A 3-month and then 6-month check-up is required to test your vision and ensure everything has healed successfully.

Free Assessment Offer

We offer a free assessment to help you determine your suitability and treatment options for laser vision correction.