What Is ReLEx® SMILE?

June 06, 2017

Vision correction has come a long way, and it continues to advance through technology. Until now, the most advanced method of vision correction was LASIK, which is a procedure which continues to change the lives of many patients, especially those suffering from Myopia (nearsightedness) or Astigmatism (a condition that causes distortion in what you see). However, while LASIK is still a great choice for a wider population of patients, the innovative new procedure known as ReLEx® SMILE, a minimally invasive refractive surgery, is an excellent alternative for patients who require surgical treatment for myopia or astigmatism but lack thickness in the cornea.

How Does It Work?

Simply put, ReLEx® SMILE is the process in which the lenticule is removed mechanically through a small incision, whereas in LASIK a femtosecond laser is used to cut a corneal flap. A more detailed description of ReLEx® SMILE is that the inner corneal tissue is separated into a 3D shape (lenticule) through the use of a femtosecond laser, after which the lenticule is removed through a small corneal surface incision of only 2-4 millimeters, which reshapes the cornea and improves visual acuity. The major difference between ReLEx® SMILE and LASIK is the corneal flap. Because ReLEx® SMILE does not include this procedure, patients can avoid the possible complications of flap shifts or injury/trauma in the future, which can be a concern for LASIK patients. However, which procedure is best for which patient is still something that should be determined through a discussion with your doctor. The ReLEx® SMILE procedure promises a faster healing time while reducing eye irritation, leading to better results with fewer complications. Most patients of ReLEx® SMILE can expect to return to their normal activities within a couple days after the surgery, although exact healing time will vary by each patient.

Is ReLEx® SMILE Right for You?

If you’re someone who suffers from Myopia or Astigmatism, chances are high that you’ve probably heard of vision correcting procedures such as LASIK. While traditional procedures are still a great options for correcting these conditions, ReLEx® SMILE is minimally-invasive and the nerves in the eye will not be significantly affected, so patients can expect much fewer complications after surgery. For most people, the major deciding factor is the flap, as ReLEx® SMILE removes the fear of future flap-related complications. Additionally, ReLEx® SMILE is a better choice for patients who lack the necessary thickness in the cornea, as this procedure does not include cuts to the corneal flap and very little pressure is applied to the eye. Patients of ReLEx® SMILE also experience less pain and a smaller wound, which means less effect on the nerve. Generally speaking, patients of ReLEx® SMILE arrive at the decision to choose this procedure after careful discussion with their doctor about the risks, benefits, and possible complications of all available procedures.

Let’s Talk About It

The Eye Center at Bumrungrad International Hospital features this and many other highly specialized and individualized procedures for the correction and treatment of vision disorders. From the latest technology to doctors and specialists who are at the top of their fields, Bumrungrad is prepared to offer each patient the care they need.

If you or someone you love is still suffering from a vision disorder, contact the Eye Center today set an appointment online. We’re standing by to care for your precious eyes.

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