Did Eye Pressure Increases After Smile Surgery?

Smile eye surgery, also known as Small Incision Lenticule Extraction, has gained popularity as a minimally invasive procedure for vision correction. It was approved by the FDA in 2016 and has gained popularity as an alternative to LASIK surgery.

Patients often wonder about potential changes in eye pressure post-surgery and its impact on their vision health.

In this article, we will delve into the details of whether eye pressure increases after Smile eye surgery, exploring the factors at play and addressing concerns to provide a comprehensive understanding for the reader.


The Basics of Smile Eye Surgery

Before delving into post-surgery changes, it’s essential to grasp the fundamentals of Smile eye surgery.

Unlike traditional LASIK procedures, Smile surgery involves creating a small incision to remove a disc-shaped tissue, known as a lenticule, from the cornea. The procedure takes approximately 10-15 minutes per eye, with the laser component taking 22 seconds per eye.

This approach eliminates the need for a corneal flap, resulting in quicker recovery times and reduced discomfort.


Understanding Eye Pressure

Eye pressure, technically known as intraocular pressure (IOP), is the fluid pressure inside the eye. This pressure is crucial for maintaining the eye’s shape and nourishing its internal structures.

An imbalance in IOP can lead to conditions like glaucoma, a group of eye disorders that can damage the optic nerve and result in vision loss.


Potential Changes in Eye Pressure

Research suggests that Smile eye surgery may have minimal impact on intraocular pressure.

Some studies have suggested that SMILE surgery may cause a temporary increase in eye pressure immediately after the procedure. This is due to the creation of a small gas bubble during the laser portion of the surgery, which can put slight pressure on the eye. However, this increase is usually minimal and resolves within a few hours.

Other studies have shown no significant change in eye pressure after SMILE surgery. This is because the gas bubble dissipates quickly and does not affect the overall balance of fluid within the eye.


Factors Influencing Post-Surgery Eye Pressure

While most patients do not experience a significant change in eye pressure after SMILE surgery, some factors may increase the risk of elevated IOP. These include

  • Surgical Technique:
    The surgical technique itself plays a role in determining post-operative IOP changes. Surgeons take great care during the procedure to minimize any impact on eye pressure.
  • Corneal Thickness:
    The thickness of the cornea can influence post-operative eye pressure changes. Smile surgery involves minimal disruption to corneal tissue, contributing to the procedure’s gentle nature.
  • Individual Variations:
    Each patient’s eyes respond differently to surgical interventions. Factors such as pre-existing conditions, overall eye health, and the body’s healing processes contribute to individual variations in post-operative eye pressure.
  • Post-Surgery Medication:
    Some medications prescribed after SMILE surgery, such as corticosteroids, may also affect eye pressure. Patients need to follow their doctor’s instructions carefully and report any symptoms of high eye pressure.
  • Monitoring and Management:
    Eye pressure is routinely monitored in the post-operative period to ensure any deviations from the normal range are promptly identified and addressed. Surgeons employ various methods, including tonometry, to measure intraocular pressure accurately. This is a painless and non-invasive procedure that involves directing a small puff of air onto the surface of the eye. Continuous monitoring allows for timely intervention if any concerns arise. If there are any concerns about elevated eye pressure, the doctor may recommend additional tests, such as visual field testing or imaging of the optic nerve. These tests can help detect any changes in vision or signs of glaucoma.


Long-Term Impact on Vision Health

It’s crucial for patients to understand that the temporary increase in eye pressure after Smile eye surgery does not typically lead to long-term complications. Numerous studies have demonstrated the safety and efficacy of Smile surgery, with patients experiencing improved vision and minimal impact on eye pressure in the long run.


Post-operative Care and Tips

Patients can contribute to a smooth recovery and minimize the impact on eye pressure by adhering to post-operative care guidelines. These may include:

  • Follow-up Appointments:
    Attend all scheduled follow-up appointments to allow your surgeon to monitor your eye health and address any concerns promptly.
  • Medication Compliance:
    If prescribed, use any prescribed eye drops or medications as directed to support healing and maintain optimal eye pressure.
  • Avoiding Eye Strain:
    Minimize activities that may strain the eyes, such as prolonged screen time, especially in the initial days following surgery.
    Informed Choices for Clear Vision:

While there may be a temporary increase in eye pressure immediately after Smile eye surgery, the overall impact is minimal and poses no long-term risks to vision health.

If you are considering Smile surgery, it is essential to consult with an experienced eye surgeon who can evaluate your individual situation and provide personalized care. By understanding the potential effects of eye pressure and monitoring it closely after surgery, you can make an informed decision and achieve the best possible outcome for your vision.


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