Small Incision Lenticule Extraction, better known as ReLEx SMILE from ZEISS, is a minimally-invasive corneal refractive procedure performed on the ZEISS VisuMax femtosecond laser. SMILE may be an option for many people with a variety of vision impairments – from mild refractive errors to severe nearsightedness and astigmatism.

Astigmatism is a common vision condition which causes blurred vision. It occurs when the cornea (the clear front cover of the eye) is irregularly shaped or sometimes because of the curvature of the lens inside the eye. An irregularly shaped cornea or lens prevents light from focusing properly on the retina, the light-sensitive surface at the back of the eye. As a result, vision becomes blurred at any distance. This can lead to eye discomfort and headaches. Astigmatism can also be corrected by reshaping the cornea through LASIK (laser in situ keratomileusis) or PRK (photorefractive keratectomy). LASIK removes tissue only from the inner layer of the cornea, while PRK removes tissue from the superficial and inner layers of the cornea. Both are effective vision correction procedures, but for those who have been turned away from LASIK or PRK because they were not good candidates for surgery in the past, SMILE maybe a good option. SMILE was first introduced in the fall of 2016, for the treatment of myopia (near-sightedness). However, this treatment was not available for patients with myopia and astigmatism until now.  Hoopes Vision is the first surgical (October 23, 2018) center in Utah to perform the SMILE technique for patients with astigmatism.

SMILE is a novel technique where just one laser is required, the Zeiss Visumax. ZEISS ReLEx SMILEutilizes the high-precision femtosecond laser VisuMax® to create a lenticule inside the cornea and access incision in a single treatment step. Its outstanding cutting precision, exceptional speed, and gentle treatment make it an ideal platform for advanced corneal surgery such as SMILE®. Incisions are made through microscopic-photodisruptions of tissue, created by ultrashort pulses.

Based on the prescription of the patient, the laser will create a microscopic “lenticule” (disc of tissue) inside the intact cornea. The lenticule is then extracted through a small opening. One of the main advantages is that SMILE is not performed under a flap or at the surface, allowing for a quick recovery.

ReLEx® SMILE® from ZEISS made its U.S. debut in 2016. In the last 10 years, over 1.5 million SMILE® treatments have been performed worldwide, constituting over 10 percent of global laser vision correction procedures. To date, there are over 1700 surgeons using SMILE® in over 70 countries.

If you are interested in learning more about the SMILE procedure or would like to make an appointment to meet with one of our specialists, please contact us at 801.568.0200 or simply click on the CONTACT US button.

Leave a Reply