We know that a lot of people are starting to hear about ReLEx SMILE and LASIK. But what is the difference between these two types of surgery? Is one better than the other? How much does each cost? In this blog post, we will compare and contrast both procedures to make an educated decision about which procedure is right for you.

An Overview Of LASIK Treatment

LASIK is a surgical procedure that uses an excimer laser to correct refractive errors by correcting the shape of the cornea. The word “LASIK” refers both to the surgery and the equipment used for it. Still, when people talk about LASIK, they are using this type of surgery to correct vision problems like nearsightedness or astigmatism.

LASIK is the most commonly performed laser eye surgery globally, with over two million operations done every year, but it’s not perfect for everyone. Some people are more likely than others to experience problems after LASIK treatment; these include older patients (over 40), very nearsighted individuals or those who have astigmatism in addition to nearsightedness.

An Overview Of SMILE Treatment

SMILE is a form of laser eye surgery that uses an ultra-thin flap to help it reshape the cornea. SMILE doesn’t have LASER in its name for no reason. This type of treatment, which stands for Small Incision Lenticule Extraction, works by removing tiny lenticules or tissue from within your eyes instead of just removing them on top, as with LASIK. 

The removal process creates a thin flap to create access into your corneas before any corrections are made. As a result, your vision may be improved immediately after completing SMILE surgery, and you won’t need to follow up care as glasses or contacts will likely not be necessary either.

The Differences between ReLEx SMILE and LASIK

Both LASIK, as well as SMILE, are very secure and effective refractive procedures. They are comparable in many ways, yet they differ significantly in terms of adverse effects and methods. Many of the benefits of SMILE are similar to those of LASIK and PRK (photorefractive keratectomy). Another form of refractive vision correction is PRK, which reshapes your cornea to improve your vision.

  • Method and Technique Used

In a traditional LASIK surgery, doctors use a microkeratome or a femtosecond laser to cut a flap in the surface of your eye that they lift so that they can treat the underlying tissue with an excimer laser. In ReLEx Smile treatment, no flap is created since the doctor uses a specially designed surgical microscope to create a corneal pocket to remove the tissue.

  • Procedure time 

SMILE takes less than ten minutes, whereas the entire LASIK procedure can take up to 30 minutes or more, depending on your doctor’s preferences and specific surgery plan.  

  • Recovery Time

Most patients experience discomfort for about 24 hours after their surgery; however, they report that this is significantly reduced with SMILE compared to traditional laser eye surgeries like RK (Radial Keratotomy) or PRK (Photorefractive keratectomy). 

  • Hospitalization

SMILE is done on an outpatient basis, meaning you will go home after your surgery and recover there for a day or two rather than in a hospital room. With LASIK, you may be hospitalized for a night or two.

  • Post-op care

SMILE procedure requires no special post-operative care, and the only thing that your doctor will likely recommend is wearing sunglasses during the first few days after surgery to reduce any discomfort from light exposure. After that, LASIK patients need several weeks of drops and possibly other treatments directed by their doctors to heal properly without damaging their eyesight due to wrong movements.

The Bottom Line

ReLEx is the latest innovation in LASIK surgery, which has been around for 20 years or more. ReLEx stands out as quicker, easier to perform, and less risk of complications than traditional LASIK eye surgery.