SMILE – The newest vision correction technique

The new vision correction technology

Myopia affects nearly 25% of the global population and affects people well into their adolescence. But thanks to modern medicine and technology, nearsightedness has become a thing of the past.  Procedures like LASIK and LASEK have made life much more bearable for people who suffer from myopia. Now there is an even more advanced procedure, a procedure developed by Zeiss Eyeglass Company, which drastically decreases the discomfort of vision correction. It’s called SMILE or Small Incision Lenticule Extraction. Before we discuss how it works, what is myopia?

What is myopia?

Most of us have heard the term myopia or nearsightedness, but how many people actually know what it means. Myopia is a condition that causes vision to become blurry because of the eye’s inability to focus on an object that is far away. Nearsightedness is the opposite to farsightedness, which is a person’s inability to see things that are up close. For most people nearsightedness begins early on in life and can cause an array of problems such headaches due to squinting, straining of the eyes and of course difficulty seeing which makes everyday activities just that much more difficult.

Why are my eyes nearsighted?

The reason for nearsightedness isn’t so much to do with health or age but more with our physiology. Not all eye balls are created equally. Some are round and the ones that cause myopia are long from the front to the back. With a normal shaped eye the light coming in through the cornea gets focused on to the back of the eye surface, the retina. The retina contains all the light sensing cells that help us see. The problem with the long eyeballs is that the light coming into the cornea gets focused too far forward, missing the light sensing cells of the retina. This is what causes objects that are far away to appear blurry.

Light not reaching the retina

What about older more proven vision correction procedures?

Vision correction technology like LASIK and LASEK has been around for a decade or so and is very effective at restoring vision. These procedures have their own benefits that make them trusted procedures among millions. However, as technology becomes more advanced, so do the procedure techniques and equipment. The SMILE vision correction procedure is the next step in the progression of vision correction. The reason SMILE is so exciting is because this procedure can produce reliable results and while minimizing procedure discomfort and pain.

How does SMILE work?

The way it works is rather different to other procedures. With LASEK and LASIK the epithelium (upper part of cornea) is either opened up completely and moved aside or opened up and folded over. SMILE on the other hands will only make a 4mm wide arc incision on the corneal surface. The lenticule that was the created with the laser before the 4mm incision will then be removed and discarded. The removal of this lenticule is what corrects the refractive error by reshaping the cornea.

SMILE, LASIK and LASEK incision methods

What are the pros and cons of SMILE?

While there are many benefits to getting SMILE such as quicker recovery, less discomfort, less post-procedure care and also a faster turnaround time to get back to normal daily activities, there are also some limitations. Firstly SMILE is only suited for people older than 22 years of age. So it is not a procedure suited for children. Also as mentioned above, SMILE is a procedure that assists with myopia (nearsightedness) and not all other forms of vision problems. Next, the price for newer and better technology can be more expensive than other procedures and the same holds true for SMILE. But in the last year or so prices have reduced a significantly and SMILE is now only slightly more expensive than LASEK and LASIK.

Is SMILE right for me

If you are nearsighted and older than 22 then you just might be the right candidate for SMILE. The only way to find out is to consult with a doctor who specializes in SMILE procedures.

To make an find out more or to schedule a free consultation you can contact Shin Medical in Seoul and we will be happy to assist you.