• What Is Small Incision Lenticule Extraction?

    Written By: David Turbert
    Reviewed By: Jeffrey Whitman MD OCS
    Mar. 01, 2017

    Small incision lenticule extraction (SMILE) is a newer type of laser refractive surgery. This kind of surgery uses a laser to treat myopia (nearsightedness,) a specific refractive error.

    For you to see clearly, light rays must travel through your cornea and lens. The cornea and lens refract (bend) the light so it lands on the retina. With a refractive error, the shape of your cornea or lens keeps light from bending properly. When light is not focused on the retina as it should be, your vision is blurry.

    With SMILE, your ophthalmologist uses a laser to change the shape of your cornea. This improves the way light rays are focused on the retina. SMILE is FDA-approved to treat mild nearsightedness.

    The goal of SMILE is to correct your nearsightedness to improve your vision. SMILE may reduce your need for eyeglasses or contact lenses. In some cases, it may even allow you to do without them completely.