What Are the Risks and Benefits of SMILE?
Like any surgery, small incision lenticule extraction (SMILE) carries the risk of problems or complications you should consider. These include:
- glare and halos around lights, particularly at night
- debris where the corneal disc was removed
- inflammation within the treated area
- retreatment which must be done with surface PRK
Also, with SMILE, your vision may end up being undercorrected or overcorrected. These problems often can be improved with glasses, contact lenses, or additional laser surgery.
Most complications can be treated without any loss of vision. However, very rare problems may include:
- having worse vision than before SMILE, even with glasses or contacts (called loss of best-corrected vision)
If you are happy wearing contacts or glasses, you may not want to have refractive surgery. Together, you and your ophthalmologist can weigh the risks and rewards of SMILE.
What are the benefits of SMILE?
Small incision lenticule extraction (SMILE) is a newer refractive surgery. Ophthalmologists expect that it will have a couple advantages over LASIK and have similar good outcomes.
- No corneal flap is made during SMILE. There should not be problems with the flap that can happen with LASIK.
- The corneal disc is removed through a very small incision. Since the surface of the cornea is minimally disturbed, long-term dry eye should be less common with SMILE.