Posted on: 12/9/16

Lasik Surgery, Refractive Surgery

In our Fort Collins and Denver office’s we’re seeing patient’s ask what ReLEx SMILE is. We thought we’d address the question here for everyone to review.

What Is ReLEx SMILE?

ReLEx SMILE (small incision lenticule extraction) is a new form of refractive surgery and being promoted as an alternative to LASIK with some surgeons stating it is safer than LASIK. The SMILE procedure is performed using the ZEISS femtosecond laser to create a lenticule inside the cornea and access incision in a single treatment step. This procedure is uses to treat short-sightedness in patients with or without astigmatism.

Are There Risks With ReLEx SMILE?

Any refractive surgery procedure, LASIK, LASEK, PRK, Intacs, IOL, ReLEx SMILE, etc. come with their own set of risks. To say one is riskier than the other depends on a number of factors but comes down to the surgeon performing the procedure. ReLEx SMILE uses one of the more advanced lasers available but this does not mean it is safer than LASIK which has been around for more than 20 years with many studies performed about the risks. ReLEx SMILE is a new procedure so we find the true evaluation of risks has yet to be determined.

Is ReLEx SMILE Right For Me?

Just as with any refractive procedure, we can’t say which procedure is best for you. Each patient and level of vision loss differs, therefore you would want to be evaluated by a ophthalmologist to determine which refractive procedure will deliver the best results for you. Just because something is new, doesn’t mean it’s the best option for your vision correction.

Conclusion on ReLEx SMILE

When evaluating ReLEx SMILE, we’re optimistic that the procedure may lead it to becoming as popular as LASIK in the future. As far as discussing advantages and disadvantages, it’s too early to determine. ReLEx SMILE is such a new procedure that we aren’t able to evaluate long term results.

LASIK continues to be the gold standard in refractive surgery. In comparison, LASIK has been around for over 20 years. LASIK as been performed over 28 million times worldwide compared to ReLEx SMILE at just over 100,000 procedures performed worldwide.

ReLEx SMILE deserves its place in refractive surgery, it is yet to be determined if the advantages can take the place of LASIK. The one thing we know is LASIK is not going away any time soon and will continue to be the top refractive procedure performed for years to come. ReLEx SMILE can’t compare to the proven capabilities of LASIK.

If you think you’re a candidate for refractive surgery, contact the location closest to you, Denver or Fort Collins.