Smile vs Lasik - Detailed Comparisons of Laser Eye Surgery Options



Smile vs Lasik - Detailed Comparisons of Laser Eye Surgery Options

Are you tired of fumbling with contact lenses every morning? Laser eye surgery offers a life-changing solution to correct common vision problems caused by refractive errors in the cornea. Spectra Eye Hospital understands that choosing the right procedure can be daunting, which is why we are here to help you make an informed decision. In this detailed comparison, we will explore the differences and similarities between two popular laser eye surgeries - Smile (Small Incision Lenticule Extraction) and Lasik (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis).

Understanding Laser Eye Surgery: Smile and Lasik - 

Lasik, introduced in 1995, was one of the pioneering laser eye surgeries designed to reshape the cornea and correct various refractive errors. It is suitable for individuals aged 18 and older with moderate prescriptions, thick corneas, and healthy eyes. Lasik can correct near-sightedness, farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism, making it a versatile option for many.

On the other hand, Smile, approved by the FDA in 2016, is a relatively newer procedure. Unlike Lasik, Smile does not require the creation of a corneal flap. It is primarily used to treat myopia (near-sightedness) and astigmatism and is typically recommended for individuals aged 22 and older with stable prescriptions.

Similarities Between Lasik and Smile

Despite their differences, Lasik and Smile share several common aspects:

1. Procedure Time: Both surgeries can be completed in about 15 minutes or less.

2. Recovery: A day of rest and healing is required for both procedures.

3. Comfort: Neither procedure is associated with significant discomfort during or after surgery.

4. Qualifications: Both require otherwise healthy eyes, with no underlying conditions affecting healing.

5. Outcomes: Most patients achieve at least 20/40 vision, with many reaching 20/20. Long-term results are consistent and predictable.

6. Side Effects: Both surgeries may result in temporary side effects like glares, halos, dry eyes, and vision issues in low-light conditions. Some patients may need glasses or enhancements.

Differences Between Lasik and Smile Regarding Safety

1. Eligibility and Conditions Treated: Lasik treats a broader range of refractive errors, including hyperopia, which Smile cannot address.

2. Corneal Flap vs. Flapless: Lasik involves creating a corneal flap, which, while generally safe, may have a higher risk of flap-related complications compared to Smile's flapless approach.

3. Recovery Times: Studies suggest that Lasik often has better recovery outcomes at the seven-day follow-up point compared to Smile. However, there is no significant difference in recovery rates at one-month post-operation.

4. Prescriptions and HOAs: Lasik can address higher-order aberrations (HOAs) that impact night vision, while Smile cannot treat these issues.

5. Access and Surgeon Expertise: Lasik is a more established procedure with a longer history, leading to more surgeons specializing in it. Smile, being relatively newer, requires surgeons to undergo more intensive training, resulting in fewer specialists.

Which is safe - Smile or Lasik?

Both Smile (Small Incision Lenticule Extraction) and Lasik (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) are generally considered safe and effective laser eye surgery procedures when performed by skilled and experienced surgeons and for appropriate candidates. However, the safety and suitability of either procedure can vary depending on individual factors and the specific refractive error being corrected. Here are some key safety considerations for both Smile and Lasik:

Safety Considerations for Smile:

1. FDA Approval: Smile received FDA approval in 2016, indicating that it has met stringent safety and efficacy standards.

2. Conditions Treated: Smile is primarily designed to treat myopia (nearsightedness) and astigmatism. It is not intended for hyperopia or astigmatism alone.

3. Procedure Technique: Smile is known for its flapless approach, which reduces the risk of flap-related complications seen in Lasik.

4. Recovery Time: Most patients experience relatively quick initial recovery within 24 to 48 hours, although full healing may take longer.

5. Ideal Candidates: Smile is typically recommended for individuals aged 22 and older with stable prescriptions, near-sightedness, or astigmatism, and healthy eyes.

6. Surgeon Experience: Smile is a newer procedure, and fewer surgeons may have experience with it compared to Lasik.

Safety Considerations for Lasik:

1. FDA Approval: Lasik received FDA approval in 1995, signifying its long history of evaluation and use.

2. Conditions Treated: Lasik can correct myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism, offering a broader range of treatment options.

3. Procedure Technique: Lasik involves creating a corneal flap, which, while generally safe, may have a slightly higher risk of flap-related complications compared to Smile's flapless approach.

4. Recovery Time: Like Smile, Lasik patients typically experience initial recovery within 24 to 48 hours, with complete healing taking longer.

5. Ideal Candidates: Lasik is suitable for individuals aged 18 and older with myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, and healthy eyes.

6. Surgeon Experience: Lasik is a more established procedure, and many surgeons have experience in performing it, which can contribute to its safety.

Lasik vs Smile: Comparing Costs

When it comes to choosing between SMILE and Blade-less LASIK for your refractive surgery, cost is an important factor to consider. The price of any surgical procedure is determined after a careful evaluation of your eyes and the type of refractive error that affects your vision. Additionally, your health history is taken into account during this evaluation.

The complexity of your refractive error can impact the cost of the surgery. However, you can expect to pay in the following range for both eyes:

  • SMILE: Rs 85,000 to 90,000/-

  • Blade-less LASIK: Rs 75,000 to 90,000/-

Considering these costs, it’s advisable to consult with an eye specialist who can guide you in choosing the most suitable option based on your specific needs and budget.

How does lasik or smile eye surgery work?

Both Lasik and Smile involve the use of lasers to reshape the cornea accurately. Advanced computer guidance ensures precise and safe surgery:

· Consultation: You'll work with an ophthalmologist or optometrist to determine the best procedure for your refractive error.

· Cornea Mapping: A map of your cornea is created and programmed into the laser.

· Reshaping: The cornea is reshaped using a guided laser.

· Recovery: You'll rest at home for approximately one day after either procedure. Avoid contact lenses, makeup, and protect your eyes from irritants for a week or two. Antibiotic eye drops are typically prescribed to prevent infection.

Why is Spectra Eye Hospital is the Best Choice for Lasik and Smile?

Only a limited number of eye specialists in India possess the necessary training and expertise to conduct this specific procedure. Spectra Eye Hospital stands out as the primary center for laser and LASIK surgeries in Kolkata. In addition to Spectra Eye Hospital, other renowned hospitals in India, such as L.V. Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad and Sankara Nethralaya in Chennai, also provide lasik eye surgery options.


1. What is the difference between SMILE vs LASIK and which is better?

The core difference between SMILE eye surgery and LASIK eye surgery lies in the mechanics of the procedure, recovery time, and potential side effects. LASIK and SMILE perform the same job: reshaping the cornea to correct refractive errors. However, SMILE or small incision lenticule extraction is a less invasive procedure compared to LASIK, as it does not involve creating a corneal flap. Some studies suggest the risk of dry eye is lower after SMILE surgery compared to LASIK.

2. Is SMILE or LASIK more cost-effective?

The cost of the procedures can vary based on location, doctor expertise, and individual patient needs. Typically, the cost is on par for both SMILE and LASIK. It is essential to consider other factors like recovery time, risk, and potential complications when comparing the two.

3. Can SMILE surgery correct astigmatism?

Yes, SMILE surgery can correct myopia and astigmatism, which makes it an effective option for patients with these conditions. The SMILE procedure is further known for a minimal risk of dry eye, and a fast recovery time.

4. What is the recovery time for SMILE surgery vs LASIK?

Visual recovery can be slightly faster in LASIK compared to SMILE. Patients can often see improvements within a few hours after LASIK surgery, whereas SMILE can take a few days for vision clarity. But it's worth noting, SMILE surgery often has a lower incidence of post-operative dry eye.

5. Is SMILE eye surgery safer than LASIK?

Both surgeries are extremely safe for individuals with healthy eyes. SMILE, in particular, may be more suitable for individuals with thin corneas as it does not involve creating a flap. However, it is important to note that neither surgery can be classified as unsafe, and both have consistently high levels of patient satisfaction.




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