The predominant difference between LASIK and SMILE is how the doctor makes the incision in your corneal flap. While a LASIK incision removes almost a 300-degree portion of the flap, SMILE makes a much smaller incision and doesn’t actually create a corneal flap. It’s just a small incision that’s typically around only 60 degrees. This means that the laser incision in SMILE is more minimally invasive than LASIK. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s the better option.
LASIK has one of the fastest recoveries of almost any surgery. Within 48 hours to a week, your eyes are in tip-top shape and you can see in 20/20 vision. Just a week or two after that, you’re ready to resume your normal activities, including more strenuous exercise, contact sports, and swimming.
While less invasive, SMILE has a far longer recovery period — often in the three- to six-month range. That doesn’t mean you can’t resume normal activities; it simply means that the incision is more susceptible to foreign matter getting under the cornea, which can create problems if you’re not careful. If you’re an active person, you may find that the LASIK is the better choice.
Both SMILE and LASIK hold the titles of the best refractive eye surgeries available on the market today. However, there’s a major difference between the two. SMILE can only fix astigmatism and myopia; it’s not currently available for hyperopia — also known as farsightedness.
If you want to repair your vision if you have hyperopia, LASIK is the preferred choice in terms of recovery time and successful repair of your vision.
The two procedures are similar in terms of how they work and their options. And while the right option is subjective, LASIK offers more benefits in terms of a shorter recovery time and conditions it fixes (hyperopia included) — and typically at a lower price.
Another important note is that LASIK is available on patients 18 and older, while SMILE requires patients to be at least age 22. If you are an active college student or play college athletics, LASIK is certainly the better choice for your needs.
Ultimately, the choice of the procedure is up to you. Dr. Alexandra Chebil has been performing vision correction surgery in Newport Beach for multiple decades. With over 70,000 successful procedures, she is able to guide you on the best choice for your particular needs.
With a bit of advice and the peace of mind that comes with our experienced eye surgeon, you can select the option that will fix your vision and give you a new and improved quality of life.
Contact us for a complimentary vision correction consultation in Orange County.