SMILE is an exciting new option for patients who seek even greater comfort, convenience and safety in a nearsighted vision correction procedure. At Atlanta Vision Institute, we are especially thrilled about the rising popularity of SMILE, as our own Dr. M. Farooq Ashraf is the only surgeon in the Atlanta area to offer SMILE in addition to PRK and LASIK.
Every great technological advance needs a cool acronym, and SMILE says it all: Small Incision Lenticule Extraction means that only a tiny incision is needed — and less of your valuable time, too.
During the in-office SMILE procedure, our advanced VisuMax femtosecond laser reshapes the cornea in 25 seconds, using a tiny “keyhole” incision to access the middle layer of the cornea. Unlike LASIK, the ophthalmologist does not need to create a flap to access areas of the cornea that will be reshaped. The technique of using one small incision means that recovery is faster and comfort is enhanced. Of course, a LASIK procedure is virtually pain-free, and so this is a very low bar to clear.
Less operating time and fewer incisions means the risks of complications are lower too. Because there is no need to create a flap, patients are less likely to develop dry eye, for example.
SMILE was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in September of 2016, but has been available for a decade in many European countries, where it has proven to be popular and effective.
Currently Dr. Ashraf and the skilled professionals at Atlanta Vision Institute perform SMILE for myopia (nearsightedness) and astigmatism, but the technique is also being clinically tested to determine whether patients with hyperopia (farsightedness), presbyopia and keratoconus can also soon benefit.
Because SMILE is relatively new, it cannot offer the same reassurance that comes with LASIK’s long record of success. Researchers are currently studying whether any long-term risks exist, and how a SMILE procedure might impact future eye surgeries, such as cataract removal. SMILE has been performed at least 1 million times worldwide, however, and no pattern of adverse outcomes has been reported.
If you would like to learn more about SMILE or other vision correction options, we invite you to schedule your personal consultation with Dr. Ashraf at any of our convenient Atlanta-area offices by calling (770) 622-2488 or emailing Atlanta Vision Institute today.