The realm of laser vision correction has witnessed remarkable advancements, and among the diverse array of procedures available, SMILE and Femto LASIK stand out as prominent choices. As individuals explore options for liberating themselves from the constraints of glasses or contact lenses, understanding the nuances of these procedures becomes pivotal. 

Visual Aids Centre is here to illuminate the path with a comprehensive comparison, shedding light on their similarities and differences and guiding readers towards an informed decision regarding their vision correction journey.

Difference between SMILE and Femto LASIK

What Is SMILE?

SMILE, an acronym for Small Incision Lenticule Extraction, epitomizes the forefront of laser vision correction as a minimally invasive vision correction surgery.

This revolutionary procedure is fully-robotic and deviates from traditional methods like LASIK by utilizing a femtosecond laser to create a small, lens-shaped tissue within the cornea known as a lenticule. Then the lenticule is extracted through a minuscule incision of smaller than 6 mm, reshaping the cornea and rectifying common refractive errors such as myopia (nearsightedness) and astigmatism.


What Is Femto LASIK?

Femto LASIK (Femtosecond Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis), an evolution of the well-established LASIK procedure, introduces the precision of femtosecond laser technology.

This procedure is semi-robotic and uses wavefront analysis to create a detailed image of the corneal surface, guiding the correction treatment. Femtosecond laser technology is then used to create a precise and minimally invasive corneal flap, giving surgeons greater control and customization. The flap is delicately lifted to expose the underlying corneal tissue.

Utilizing the data from wavefront analysis, the excimer laser precisely reshapes the underlying cornea, effectively correcting refractive errors and sculpting its shape. Finally, the flap is gently repositioned and naturally adheres to complete the procedure.


Similarities Between SMILE And Femto LASIK:

  • Precision with Laser Technology:

The cornerstone of both SMILE and Femto LASIK lies in the deployment of femtosecond laser technology to reshape the cornea. This cutting-edge approach ensures unparalleled precision, contributing to the safety and efficacy of the procedures.

  • Cost Considerations:

Both options have a similar cost range of around INR 1,00,000 for both eyes.

  • Success Rate:

Both procedures boast a remarkable success rate, as the majority of patients achieve 20/20 vision or even better.


What Is The Difference Between SMILE And Femto LASIK?

  • Flap Creation:

SMILE sidesteps the need for a flap, opting for a smaller incision in the cornea to extract the lenticule. 

In contrast, Femto LASIK initiates the process with the precise formation of a corneal flap on the cornea using the femtosecond laser, which is then lifted to access the underlying tissue for reshaping. 

  • Suitability:

SMILE is an ideal option for patients experiencing dry eyes due to long-term contact lens use and those with contact lens intolerance. It is primarily recommended for correcting myopia (-1.00D to -10.00 D) and astigmatism (-0.75 D to -3.00 D), offering a limited range of correction compared to Femto LASIK.

On the other hand, Femto LASIK is suitable for a wider range of patients, including those with thinner or irregularly shaped corneas or with higher degrees of refractive errors. It exhibits versatility by addressing myopia (-0.5 D to -8.0 D), hyperopia (+1.00 to +5.00 D), and astigmatism (up to 4.00 D). However, it should be noted that Femto-LASIK may worsen dry eye symptoms in some patients.

The choice between these two procedures may depend on the specific nature of the refractive error in question.

  • Step Involved:

SMILE provides a streamlined one-step procedure, whereas Femto LASIK involves a two-step procedure.

  • Incision Size:

In SMILE, a smaller incision of less than 6 mm is made, minimizing the impact on the cornea and promoting faster healing with reduced discomfort.

On the other hand, Femto LASIK involves a larger corneal flap incision of about 20-30 mm because the excimer laser cannot penetrate the topmost corneal layer.

This distinction can have an impact on post-operative comfort and healing time.

  • Safety: 

SMILE is renowned for its painless and flapless approach, making it a safer alternative to traditional methods. By eliminating the need for a corneal flap, the risk of complications such as off-center, torn-off flaps, dry eyes, and flap displacement is significantly reduced.

Femto LASIK utilizes blade-free technology to minimize risks and improve predictability. This cutting-edge technology guarantees a safer experience for patients. However, it’s important to note that creating a large-scale opening in the upper corneal layer (flap) can potentially destabilize the eye’s surface, increasing the likelihood of flap-related complications and weakening the cornea.

  • Visual Recovery:

Following SMILE surgery, patients can anticipate a swift recovery, with visual improvement typically occurring within a few days.

Conversely, in Femto LASIK surgery, visual recovery is also rapid, with most patients experiencing clear vision the day after the procedure. However, the quality of vision may continue to enhance over the course of several weeks.

  • Corneal Tissue Preservation:

SMILE, by design, tends to preserve more corneal tissue as it does not necessitate a flap creation, whereas in Femto LASIK, a larger portion of tissue is removed.

This makes SMILE a more conservative approach, resulting in less damage to the cornea.


Which Is Better: SMILE Or Femto LASIK?

It’s not a one-size-fits-all answer! Determining whether SMILE or Femto LASIK is the superior choice depends on several factors:

  • Your Eyes: Corneal thickness, tear production, and refractive error all play a role. At Visual Aids Centre, our comprehensive eye examinations will determine which procedure is best for you.
  • Your Lifestyle: Contact sports enthusiasts may benefit from SMILE’s flap-free advantage. If you prioritize quick healing and minimal side effects, SMILE might be your match. Femto LASIK, however, boasts a longer track record and may be suitable for certain corneal conditions. It also offers versatility, addressing a wider range of refractive errors.
  • Your Preferences: Discuss your concerns and goals with experienced ophthalmologists at the Visual Aids Centre. They’ll walk you through the pros and cons, ensuring you make an informed decision.

Both procedures represent the epitome of laser vision correction. At Visual Aids Centre, we offer comprehensive consultations to guide patients through the decision-making process, ensuring a personalized approach to vision correction. Our experts will assess your eyes and provide valuable insights to help you make an informed decision aligned with your specific vision correction goals.

Experience clear vision without limitations. Explore SMILE and Femto LASIK at our clinic today, taking the first step towards achieving optimal eyesight. Trust in the expertise and experience of us that will change your life for the better with our exceptional and personalized care and results. 

Take the first step towards a world of uninhibited clarity. Remember – clear vision is just a SMILE or Femto LASIK away, us.

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