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SMILE (also called SMILE-LASIK and Keyhole-LASIK) is a newer procedure based on the success and decades of experience of LASIK. The procedure is similar to LASIK in that a laser is used to modify the shape of the front surface of the eye to improve the focus. The difference is that instead of using two lasers – one to create a flap and one to shape the cornea – the entire procedure is done with one laser. Over 1 million SMILE procedures have been performed worldwide, it is very popular!

Despite this, very few centers in Arizona offer SMILE today. The reason is generally economics – the lasers are expensive. Discount LASIK centers seldom offer SMILE and those that do will charge more for it. At Carrot LASIK & Eye Center, we have every modern vision procedure there is, and fit the right procedure to every patient—and we offer all our laser vision correction procedures for the same affordable price.

SMILE stands for SMall Incision Lenticule Extraction, which basically describes the procedure. With SMILE, the femtosecond laser (the same one used to make a LASIK flap) is used to shape a lens within the cornea, called a “lenticule.” The lenticule is the inverse or “negative” of the shape of a contact lens that would be needed to correct the vision. The lenticule is then removed through a very small incision. When the lenticule is removed, the corneal takes on a new shape that replaces the need for a contact lens or glasses.

Essentially, SMILE does the same thing as LASIK, but without lifting the flap, and using just one laser.

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LASIK and Safety

LASIK remains the most popular procedure for vision correction in the US

LASIK remains the most popular procedure for vision correction in the US. It is the gold standard – very comfortable, very predictable, and very safe. LASIK can also treat a wider range of refractive errors than SMILE treat. Both SMILE and LASIK can treat myopia (nearsightedness) with and without astigmatism, while LASIK can treat other conditions as well. Many people will fall into the range for either SMILE or LASIK. If this is you, the expert surgeons at Carrot LASIK & Eye Center will help guide you to the right procedure for you.

SMILE and Moms

Mothers love SMILE

New moms are very special—and caring for babies and toddlers is hard enough without having to worry about glasses. Babies love to grab things and glasses are often within reach. New moms don’t have time for glasses!

There have been many studies about LASIK and pregnancy. LASIK during pregnancy is not recommended – there are too many changes happening throughout the body during pregnancy and drops and other medications are best avoided. Once pregnancy and nursing are finished it its very common for mothers to have LASIK. Being able to see without glasses makes it easier and safer to care for children and removes a major hassle from a busy mother’s day.


Athletes choose SMILE-LASIK

One common reason for choosing SMILE is if you are at risk for being struck in the eye. SMILE makes sense for gymnasts, people in contact sports, etc. because the flap is never lifted, and therefore cannot be displaced. Flap displacement is rare after LASIK, and is impossible after SMILE. Another common reason is for people with dry eyes, since the recovery after SMILE tends to be quicker than LASIK.

Making LASIK Affordable

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LASIK Calculator

Everyone knows that LASIK saves money over time. How much does it save? You can estimate your savings with our LASIK Calculator. The average savings for a 21-year-old are over $18,000!

LASIK may save money over time but making LASIK affordable now is another matter. At Carrot, you know your costs before the procedure. We have a one-price policy and never use bait-and-switch tactics. We also provide the drops needed for after surgery as part of the procedure cost, which can cost several hundred dollars at the pharmacy. At Carrot LASIK & Eye Center, there are no hidden costs.

We also offer several financing options with excellent terms – including no interest for up to two years – and higher approval rates than other programs.

The earlier you have LASIK the longer the benefits. Don’t let money stand between you and a better life.

LASIK Recovery

What is it like to have SMILE-LASIK?

SMILE is a very comfortable procedure to undergo. The VisuMax laser is extremely gentle, and since only one laser is used there is no need to move between one laser and another. Drops are used to numb the eye – no needles, no shots – and the procedure is completely painless. It takes only a few minutes to complete the procedure for each eye, and both eyes are done in the same session.

Occasionally, the surgeon will decide to convert from SMILE-LASIK to regular LASIK during surgery. This is rare and is generally a non-event, since the procedures are essentially the same. If this occurs, the corneal shaping will be done with a second “excimer” laser, rather than with just one laser.

Vision after SMILE is restored immediately. The vast majority of people see 20/20 on the first day after surgery. Most people report seeing a slight haze for the first few days and describe it like looking through a light fog. Vision may take a few days to become crystal clear while the fog clears.

Unlike LASIK, the flap is not lifted with SMILE so fewer nerves are cut. This translates into reduced need for tears and other drops after surgery. Most people who undergo SMILE do not experience the short-term dryness that LASIK can cause.

“Excellent experience! I was looking for a new eye doctor and they use the latest technology for the exam. This was what I was looking for as our family has a history of eye issues. There were no puffs to the eye or dilation as their advanced machines check your eye health in total comfort.”

– Donna K

Watch a SMILE-LASIK Procedure


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