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.