SMILE surgery may sound like a dental procedure, but it's actually a type of laser eye surgery. SMILE stands for small incision lenticule extraction. It can be used to improve your vision if you have myopia. Here are four things you should know if you're considering SMILE surgery:
1. Your eye doctor will cut away a small piece of your cornea.
Myopia occurs when the lens of your eye grows misshapen over time. Corrective lenses work because they change the way light enters your eye, compensating for your myopia. If you don't want to wear glasses or contacts, you can get surgery to reshape your cornea. SMILE surgery accomplishes this by using a laser to cut a very thin piece of your cornea away from the rest of your eye.
2. Your eye doctor will make an incision.
As the name suggests, a small incision is made on the surface of your eye during your SMILE surgery. Your eye doctor will put a tool through this incision to grab onto the loose piece of the cornea which was severed by the laser. They will pull out the sliver of corneal tissue and discard it, which will alter the shape of your eye enough to give you perfect vision.
3. Your SMILE surgery will be quick.
Your eye doctor can perform your surgery in under half an hour. You'll be able to go about the rest of your day as planned, although you should try to avoid strenuous activity to avoid putting pressure on your eyes. Even the recovery for SMILE surgery is fast. You may experience blurry vision until your eye fully heals, but most patients don't find this side effect severe. You will need to avoid getting water into your eyes for at least a week after SMILE surgery, but you can still shower carefully. You should feel better within one or two days, with no lingering pain at the surgical site.
4. Your SMILE surgery will not create a flap in your cornea.
LASIK surgery is another type of corrective vision surgery. During this surgery, a flap is created in your cornea, and the surface underneath is reshaped. LASIK surgery can be contraindicated for people who spend time at high altitudes because their corneal flap can become disrupted at high altitudes, which may cause pain and vision damage. If you're worried about flap complications, you may want to choose SMILE surgery for your vision correction needs.
For more information on SMILE surgery, reach out to a local eye surgeon.