Laser eye surgery has improved the vision of millions of Americans, helping women and men see more clearly without worrying about glasses or contact lenses. Now, an innovative laser surgical technique called ReLEx SMILE® is helping to improve laser surgery procedures and outcomes.
Because the technology is exclusive, ReLEx SMILE is only offered at select medical practices in the United States — including Advanced Lasik in Long Beach, California. Randa Garrana, MD, uses the ReLEx SMILE approach to treat patients with myopia, including patients with high degrees of nearsightedness. Here’s how it works.
Vision starts when light enters your pupil through the dome-shaped cornea. The cornea helps bend or “refract” light rays so they focus on the light-sensitive retina at the back of your eye. If the cornea is misshapen, it can affect how the light is bent, resulting in “refractive errors” like myopia.
Laser refractive surgery uses very precise laser energy to reshape the cornea, eliminating distortion associated with myopia. In LASIK, that reshaping begins with the creation of a flap made by cutting into the cornea and folding back the upper layers to reveal the deeper layers. Those deeper layers are then shaped by a laser, creating a more “normal” cornea shape that supports the crisp, clear vision.
ReLEx SMILE also uses lasers to reshape the cornea. But instead of using a flap, the ReLEx SMILE technique uses a very small incision to access the cornea’s under layer, loosening and removing a very thin “slice” of the cornea to normalize its shape and improve vision. By avoiding the flap, patients undergoing a ReLEx SMILE procedure can enjoy much faster recovery compared to LASIK and PRK treatments, with excellent near- and long-term results.
Because it avoids making a flap, ReLEx SMILE takes less time than PASIK or PRK — only about 10 minutes per eye, including about 20 seconds of laser time. There’s no pressure or noise, and the corneal tissue is removed using that tiny incision — about 4 mm in length.
Afterward, you’ll spend a very brief time in recovery before being discharged home. The incision will heal on its own over time — no sutures needed. Before you leave the office, Dr. Garranna will provide you with complete care instructions, as well as schedule follow-up visits.
Like other types of laser eye surgery, ReLEx SMILE is recommended for adults with stable vision. That means your lens prescription should have been stable for at least the past year. Your corneas should be healthy, and your myopia (measured in diopters, or D) should fall somewhere between -1 D and -10 D, ideally.
It may not be a good choice for you if you have:
As with any eye surgery, before Dr. Garranna recommends any treatment, you’ll have a complete eye exam, along with a thorough review of your health and medical history.
ReLEX SMILE builds on the success of LASIK and PRK, improving on the traditional techniques for faster healing, improved safety, and excellent results. To learn more about ReLEx SMILE and whether it might be a good choice for you, call Advanced Lasik or book a consultation online.