If you feel uncomfortable about the idea of having a laser vision correction procedure, know that you’re not alone. Your eyes play an integral role in how you see the world around you so it’s only natural to feel nervous. It can be even harder to consider SMILE vision correction surgery when there are so many myths about the procedure. Here are some myths about SMILE surgery to keep in mind.
You might be wondering if there are any noteworthy SMILE surgery myths to keep in mind. Is the surgery particularly dangerous or painful? We’ve outlined the top seven myths if you’re considering this procedure.
Many patients hear that SMILE is a relatively new procedure and its risks are cause for concern. They assume that the technology hasn’t developed or there hasn’t been enough research around the efficacy of the procedure. In reality, SMILE has been an FDA-approved procedure since 2016. It is equally as safe and effective as the LASIK procedure.
There have been many studies on SMILE refractive surgery and all results point to the fact that it is a safe and effective way to correct astigmatism and nearsightedness. Refractive surgery technology is constantly advancing and it’s a straightforward way to get the vision you’ve always wanted. Rather than wearing glasses or contact lenses to see clearly, you’ll be able to experience clear vision without assistance.
This is a minimally invasive procedure that doesn’t take you away from your daily routine for a significant amount of time. In fact, most patients can return to normal tasks the day after the procedure. SMILE surgery recovery is fast and easy.
There isn’t a total guarantee that you won’t need your glasses following a SMILE surgery procedure, but most patients who opt for this procedure secure visual freedom and no longer need to wear contacts or glasses to see.
Although it’s not a huge deal to wear glasses or contacts daily so you can see, consider how much better your life would be if you significantly reduced or eliminated the need to constantly have access to glasses or contacts in order to see clearly. Seemingly simple activities such as working out or going swimming when wearing glasses can be challenging. Just as you’re getting into your workout zone, the last thing you’ll want to deal with is glasses sliding down your nose. Why not ditch the added stress and opt for SMILE surgery instead?
If you’re a good candidate, a SMILE surgery could change your life! It’s important to note that SMILE surgery is only ideal for treating current refractive errors such as nearsightedness or astigmatism. If you have eye conditions such as cataracts or presbyopia, you might still need glasses when you are older.
Another question that candidates have is about safety. Is SMILE surgery safe and could it result in losing your vision following the procedure? If you hear negative things about how safe this procedure is, know that these myths are false. The safety record for this procedure is excellent. Although there are always risks and the potential for complications involved in any medical procedure, going blind is not one of these risks.
One significant factor in the safety of the SMILE procedure is that you must qualify for it before you can get the surgery. Before you move forward with the procedure, you’ll meet with a doctor to discuss specifics in a consultation.
If the following apply, you may be a good candidate for the SMILE procedure:
If you qualify, your doctor will discuss instructions leading up to the procedure. For example, you’ll need to stop wearing hard contacts for at least a month before the procedure and soft contacts should be avoided for a few days before the procedure.
Is SMILE surgery painful? This is another common myth. While it may sound like a vision correction procedure that reshapes your cornea is accompanied by a lot of pain, in reality, this isn’t the case. Before your procedure begins, you’ll receive numbing eye drops that address the nerves in your eye. By numbing these nerves, it ensures that you won’t feel any pain or discomfort while the procedure takes place. As soon as the eye drops cover the surface of your eye, your surgeon can begin the SMILE procedure. From start to finish, it takes 10-15 minutes to complete.
The process of reshaping your cornea using a laser takes roughly 30 seconds and doesn’t include any pain. At the most, you might feel some slight pressure as your eyes are held open with an eyelid holder. This portion only lasts for a small amount of time and doesn’t cause any pain. Procedures such as LASIK involve creating a flap in the cornea, however, SMILE does not. Rather, your surgeon will create a lens-shaped piece of tissue, referred to as a lenticule, inside of your cornea to help reshape it. Once the lenticule is created, your surgeon will make a small incision less than 3 millimeters long on the surface of your eye. Following the incision, your surgeon will create a small opening in the cornea through which they will pull out the lenticule. This process reshapes the cornea and results in the vision that you’ve always dreamed of.
There is another myth about SMILE surgery recovery. Although the SMILE eye surgery recovery time slightly differs for each patient, the procedure itself is a minimally invasive procedure. This means that there should be minimal discomfort during the recovery period. Similar to any surgical procedure, it’s important that you leave some time for yourself to heal, but the process is very straightforward and reasonable. During the first few days following your procedure, your vision will continue to improve. It’s possible that you feel some minor discomfort when you get home from your SMILE procedure, you shouldn’t feel any pain.
On the day that you get the procedure, it’s ideal for you to spend the rest of the day at home relaxing and getting plenty of rest. You’ll want to coordinate with a friend or a family member to drive you home from surgery. It’s possible that you will already see your vision begin to improve shortly after the surgery. In most cases, patients notice that their vision stabilizes within the first week following the procedure. There aren’t usually issues returning to work, playing sports, driving, or wearing makeup a few days after the procedure.
Another SMILE eye surgery myth is that it isn’t suitable for severe prescriptions. This procedure is FDA-approved for those with nearsightedness, astigmatism, or a combination of the two. In the case that you’re farsighted, SMILE isn’t a suitable procedure for you, and it’s likely that you’re a better candidate for a different procedure such as PRK instead.
Keep in mind that there are some limits to what SMILE can correct even if you are nearsighted and have astigmatism. To qualify for the procedure, you’ll have to have a prescription between -1 and -10 diopters for nearsightedness.
In the case of astigmatism correction, the SMILE procedure can correct up to 3 diopters.
Is SMILE surgery permanent? Yes and no. Doctors can not guarantee that SMILE surgery means there won’t be a need for future eye correction procedures in the future. For some patients, there are underlying health conditions that cause their eyes to react differently while their eyes are healing from the procedure. A very small percentage of eyes may benefit from a second or enhancement procedure.
SMILE stands for “small incision lenticule extraction” and is one of the most recent advancements in laser vision correction. Ophthalmologists recommend this procedure to some patients instead of LASIK depending on specifications. Now that we’ve covered some myths about the procedure, let’s focus on some interesting facts that you might not have previously known.
This procedure is known for cutting fewer corneal nerves, but what does this mean for the patient? Following eye procedures such as LASIK, some patients experience dryness due to the cut nerves. Dry eyes following SMILE are less common than LASIK.
Many eye surgery patients note that the most uncomfortable part of the SMILE procedure is the pressure felt to keep the eye still while the laser is working on the eye. Even though the laser works quickly and efficiently, it can add pressure to the eye that feels uncomfortable at the moment.
Another interesting fact about this procedure is that it is extremely quiet and odorless. During LASIK, for example, there is a buzzing sound that lasts roughly 4 seconds and there’s an odor when the corneal tissue is removed by the laser. In the SMILE procedure, on the other hand, there is no excimer laser used, meaning there is no noise or smell involved.
One of the main advantages of SMILE over LASIK is that the cap could resist eye trauma significantly better. So those involved in contact sports or martial arts are better suited for the SMILE procedure.
At Discover Vision Centers, we are proud to offer both SMILE and LASIK for our qualified patients. If you’re interested in improving your vision but you aren’t sure where to start, our smile online test is a great resource. We’re looking forward to working with you soon!