Advancements in vision correction technology invite individuals to see the world through a new lens, quite literally. 

Whether you’re weighed down by glasses, miffed by contact lenses, or simply eager for a more permanent solution to refractive errors, you’ve likely explored—or at least heard of—laser eye surgery options such as SMILE, PRK, and the latest innovation, SMILE Pro.

This blog post walks potential patients, eye health enthusiasts, and medical professionals through the nuances of these procedures, hoping to shed light on the distinctions and help you make an informed decision.


Understanding PRK Vs SMILE Vs SMILE Pro Procedures

  • PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy): The Pioneer:

PRK, considered the trusted and first generation of laser vision correction, involves the removal of the outer layer (epithelium) of the cornea – using either a brush or an alcohol solution. Then, an excimer laser precisely ablates (removes) tiny amounts of corneal tissue to reshape it and correct your vision. Finally, a bandage contact lens protects the healing epithelium. Unlike LASIK, no corneal flap is created during PRK, making it suitable for individuals with thin corneas or those engaged in high-contact professions.

  • SMILE (Small Incision Lenticule Extraction): The New Kid on the Block:

SMILE, the newest FDA-approved procedure, differs from PRK in that it does not use an excimer laser. Instead, a femtosecond laser creates a small keyhole incision in the cornea and delicately sculpts a lenticule (a tiny disc of corneal tissue) within. This lenticule is then extracted through the same incision, reshaping the cornea without disturbing the epithelium. 

The recovery period is speedier, and the physical impact on the eye is reduced—a selling point for active individuals.

  • SMILE Pro: The Advanced Evolution:

At the forefront stands SMILE Pro, wielding fully robotic AI technology to optimise precision and patient outcomes. It’s the pinnacle of what modern technology offers in laser vision correction for non-high prescriptions.


Diving Deeper into Each Procedure

Review the distinguishing factors of each procedure to make a more educated choice fitting for your vision needs:

Prescription Range

  • PRK:
    PRK offers a broader scope of treatment, effectively addressing higher levels of myopia and hyperopia. It is especially advantageous for individuals with irregular or thin corneas, dry eyes (where the epithelium serves as a natural tear barrier), or those who may not meet LASIK criteria.
  • SMILE and SMILE Pro:

Conversely, both SMILE and SMILE Pro cater to low and moderate levels of myopia and astigmatism.

If your prescription falls within this range, SMILE and SMILE Pro may be a suitable option, providing an effective alternative for those who were not ideal LASIK candidates. SMILE and SMILE Pro are not yet recommended for higher prescriptions or hyperopia. Additionally, individuals with severe dry eyes may not be considered ideal candidates.


Laser Usage

  • PRK:
    PRK utilises an excimer laser, which emits a distinct clicking sound and may produce a noticeable odour.
  • SMILE:
    In contrast, SMILE relies on a femtosecond laser. As the excimer laser is not employed in this procedure, it is known for its quietness and absence of odour.
  • SMILE Pro:
    The advanced SMILE Pro is powered by the latest ZEISS Visumax 800 femtosecond laser. Similar to SMILE, it avoids using the excimer laser, maintaining a quiet environment and eliminating odour during the procedure.


Healing and Visual Recovery

  • PRK:
    PRK has the longest healing period among laser eye surgeries. Epithelial regeneration takes about a week, with blurriness persisting for 1-2 weeks, and full visual recovery may take several weeks to months. Post-surgery discomfort and the need for a clear contact lens aid in the healing process.
  • SMILE:
    SMILE boasts a faster healing time compared to PRK. Many patients report a rapid visual recovery in 3-4 days, with complete recovery within a week or two.
  • SMILE Pro:
    Taking a leap further, SMILE Pro champions the fast track, boasting about recovery in a single day.


Invasiveness and Surgical Experience

  • PRK:
    PRK is a surface ablation procedure that creates an 8mm diameter surface removal. While it is less invasive than LASIK, it may result in more discomfort during the initial healing phase due to the epithelial disruption. Stinging, light sensitivity, and temporary blurry vision are common.
  • SMILE and SMILE Pro:
    SMILE and SMILE Pro are minimally invasive procedures that minimise discomfort, creating only a 2-4 mm corneal keyhole incision. This leads to more corneal stability post-surgery and less disturbance to corneal nerves compared to LASIK. Many patients report little to no pain after the procedure.


Unique Advantages

  • PRK:
    Suitable for correcting higher prescriptions or for those with thin corneas and dry eyes. Potential improvement for previous LASIK patients seeking enhanced distance vision.
  • SMILE:
    Less invasive with a smaller corneal incision. Moderate to medium discomfort compared to PRK.
    One-step laser procedure. The benefits of newer techniques make SMILE more effective and safer overall than PRK.
  • SMILE Pro:
    Shares the same minimally invasive quality with a smaller corneal incision as SMILE, but with even faster visual recovery and minimal to no discomfort in comparison to PRK. As a one-step laser procedure, SMILE Pro benefits from the latest advancements, making it significantly more efficient and safer than PRK. Additionally, evidence suggests SMILE Pro might boast a lower rate of retreatment compared to PRK, making it an exceptional choice for those seeking the benefits of PRK but with a quicker healing process.



  • PRK:
    The average cost for PRK is around INR 70,000.
  • SMILE:
    SMILE tends to be more costly compared to PRK, primarily because of its advanced technology. The average cost for SMILE, covering both eyes, amounts to INR 130,000.
  • SMILE Pro:
    Representing a premium option over both PRK and standard SMILE, SMILE Pro leverages cutting-edge technology. This elevates the average cost for treatment of both eyes to INR 150,000.


Crafting Your Vision Story

At the end of the day, your decision rests on personal circumstances, prescription specifics, and how each procedure fits into your world. Consult with a seasoned surgeon to ascertain the right fit for you and take a step closer to the clear, crisp vision you seek.

Remember, with PRK’s reliability, SMILE’s gentle approach, and SMILE Pro’s progressive tech, clear sight is just a procedure away. Choose wisely, and you’ll be enjoying unobstructed views of life’s finest moments in no time.

If you’re ready to turn the page on corrective eyewear and start a new chapter with sharper vision, contact your local eye care professional to discuss which procedure—PRK, SMILE, or SMILE Pro—is the perfect plot twist in your visual story.


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