Dr. Hamilton, of the UCLA Laser Refractive Center, was the first surgeon in California to perform the newly-FDA-approved SMILE procedure. This procedure, SMall Incision Lenticule Extraction or SMILE, is a minimally-invasive alternative to LASIK. There is no flap creation in SMILE, as opposed to LASIK, and instead a small disk shaped lenticule is removed from a tiny tunnel incision in the cornea (the clear window on the front of the eye). SMILE, due to not using a flap, is able to minimize damage to surrounding nervous tissue in the cornea and thus reduce the likelihood of developing dry eye. Additionally, due to the minimally-invasive nature, the discomfort level post-operatively is much lower than with PRK or LASIK.
SMILE is one of the best options for individuals who have large corrections and limited to no astigmatism. Additionally, some patients my find that they are qualified for SMILE when they were not previously qualified for LASIK or PRK. This will be a powerful new tool that your surgeon has in order to best correct your vision. LASIK and PRK, however, are still wonderful options and the best decision for certain individuals depending on their unique prescription. Every individual has different physiology and needs to correct their vision, and your surgeon will be happy to inform you which of the three wonderful options, LASIK, PRK, or SMILE, would be best for you.
To watch a full interview about the first SMILE procedures performed throughout the U.S., click the link here.