What is the downside of SMILE eye surgery?

Downsides to SMILE – Are there any?

Smile is the latest technology in correcting short-sightedness and astigmatism with excellent results. This flapless keyhole surgery is as safe as LASIK and gives a quick visual recovery.
In fact, it gives the fastest route back to carrying out a safe and active lifestyle out of all the laser vision correction options currently available. The day after surgery, almost all patients are 20:20, and can even return to work if required.
We recommend you take three days out for physical sporting activities and a week out for swimming, surfing and other water-based activities.

SMILE has been performed on over 5 million eyes around the world (“SMILE Eye Surgery”). However, all laser eye surgery comes with a risk, and almost all of them apply to each different eye treatment.
A comprehensive assessment of patients with the most up to date technology i.e. ultrasound scans will help determine a patients suitability, making sure they meet the criteria for a safe and effective outcome.

The downsides of SMILE

There will always be one of two negatives to any variety of eye correction surgery, so we’re here to set the record straight about the downsides to SMILE.

1. Not available for long-sighted prescriptions

SMILE is a life-changing vision correction procedure that provides an excellent treatment for short-sightedness (myopia) but it’s not yet available for long-sighted prescriptions.

2. A trickier surgery to carry out

“Some surgeons say that working with the SMILE lenticule is much more technically difficult than performing the steps involved with LASIK. Though working with the lenticule is more involved than cutting and lifting a flap, LASIK still has a learning curve of its own.” (“Point-Counterpoint: SMILE vs. LASIK”)

3. 0.5% of patients need LASIK or PRK for enhancement

Although SMILE has the most accurate results out of all the laser eye treatment methods, patients who require an enhancement (less than 0.5%), would need to undergo LASIK or PRK.

4. Expensive state-of-the-art technology is required

SMILE can be a big investment for laser clinics, as it means purchasing state-of-the-art technology, and unfortunately not enough clinics have this technology in Melbourne.

5. Not suited to patients with thin corneas

SMILE cannot be carried out on patients with very thin or irregular corneas. PRK, with a longer recovery time, may be the only option for such patients.

There will always be risks with any surgery

There will always be risks with any surgery to the eyes and we pride ourselves on giving an unbiased opinion as to what treatments would suit their needs to each one of our patients.

At Eye Laser Specialists, we discuss the risk factors at your initial consultation and provide a comprehensive consent form that explains all the unlikely complications (which rarely occur).

It’s important to keep investing in the latest and safest technology, which is precisely what we do at Eye Laser Specialists.
So, perhaps we should be asking; WHY NOT SMILE? And the answer is quite simple… With no flap, quick visual recovery and fewer dry eye issues, why choose anything else?

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About the expert

Dr Anton van Heerden, MBCHB; FRANZCO
Ophthalmologist & Laser Eye Surgeon

Based in Melbourne, but with a reputation that transcends borders, Dr Van Heerden sets the highest bar for laser vision correction surgery in Australia. While his skills and experience are second to none, it is his fun, caring and down to earth nature that truly set’s him apart from the rest. You can sit back and enjoy the journey knowing every detail has been carefully considered.