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The Full Guide on Differences Between LASIK and SMILE

Laser surgeries used to correct refractive eye errors are relatively new. Since LASIK was officially approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), operations have become more popular to improve people’s visual clarity for myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism.


LASIK is one of the laser-guided operations performed to reshape corneas. This procedure works for all levels of refractive errors. Also, SMILE is a newer refractive procedure with fewer side effects. Though SMILE is less invasive than lasik surgery Sydney, it works for people with nearsightedness and associated astigmatism.

 differences between SMILE and LASIK

While there are some essential differences between SMILE and LASIK, the pros and cons of both overlap a lot. They are roughly the exact cost, have a similar healing period, side effects, and correct refractive errors within the same range, usually 20/40 or better.

However, you may be a perfect candidate for the SMILE procedure than LASIK. It is best to work with your doctor to determine which procedure would suit your eyes. Click here to read about Eyes – laser eye surgery.

SMILE Eye Surgery vs. LASIK

Refractive errors are the most popular forms of vision problems. They involve issues with the cornea shape, which makes it more challenging to see clearly at distances. Nearsightedness is the most common refractive error. Astigmatism, presbyopia, and farsightedness are also common.

For centuries, eyeglasses have been the best way to correct double or blurry vision. Then, contact lenses became the most common way to see clearly, without people sporting your refractive error. Despite the benefits, contacts can be uncomfortable. It also requires maintenance and does not correct vision for a long time.

Thanks to advancements in laser surgeries, starting with LASIK, many people worldwide have clear vision without eyeglasses or contacts. The LASIK procedure is the most famous of these surgeries, improving refractive errors to 20/40 clarity.

While LASIK surgery works for many people, it’s not a perfect solution for all. As a result, more f laser vision correction has been developed over time, like the SMILE procedure. Suppose you are looking for laser eye surgery to correct your refractive error. In that case, it is essential to know the differences between the laser surgery options. Visit to read about Why you need to undergo Lasik eye surgery.

SMILE vs. LASIK: Are there Similarities & Differences?

Laser-guided surgeries to improve refractive eye errors have evolved since the 80s. Initially, these procedures involved tiny scalpels making incisions and reshaping the cornea or lens. However, modern versions involve programmed lasers for much of the procedure. That reduces the time in the operating room, reduces invasiveness, and helps to improve surgical accuracy and recovery period. It is also more affordable.

  • LASIK basics: LASIK stands for laser-assisted in situ keratomileuses. During the procedure, the surgeon uses a laser to remove tissue from the cornea to reshape and refract light to your retina, which stands at the back of your eye.
LASIK basics

LASIK procedure takes up to 15 minutes per eye. The surgeon uses local anesthesia for flawless operation. Sedative medications will keep you awake during the procedure for your eyes to be responsive. Healing takes about a day or two. As a matter of fact, most people resume working the next day. Although it is good to avoid activities such as intense exercise, especially swimming, for some weeks.

During the LASIK surgery, your eye doctor will use a device to create a tiny flap in your cornea. They will either use a microkeratome (a little, machine-guided scalpel) or a specialized femtosecond laser. Then, they will remove corneal tissue to reshape your cornea with an excimer laser.

  • SMILE: SMILE means small incision lenticule extraction. It is a newer laser refractive surgery based on LASIK. Though this procedure has been used worldwide for more than ten years, the FDA approved the procedure and associated devices in 2016. SMILE treats nearsightedness. 

The setup for the SMILE procedure is like LASIK in a few ways. You get numbing eye drops to say awake during the procedure, the laser is preprogrammed with a plot of your cornea, and you sit down for up to 15 minutes per eye while your surgeon uses the laser to reshape your cornea. The healing period is almost the same, but there’s less risk of scarring on the corneal flap detaching from the eye. You won’t be moved from one device to another because only one laser is involved, reducing your risk of developing dry eye as a side-effect. SMILE procedure is a good option for you if you are struggling with myopia because you can’t have LASIK surgery.

Similarities Between LASIK & SMILE procedure

Similarities Between LASIK & SMILE procedure

There are several similarities between SMILE and LASIK procedures. The SMILE was developed from LASIK since it was so popular. In addition, they both take up to 10 to 15 minutes. They both require a day of rest and almost the same healing period. They both cost around $2,000 to $3,000 on average. The procedures and steps are similar.

Differences Between LASIK & SMILE procedure

While both LASIK and SMILE are procedures that use a laser to reshape a patient’s cornea and improve visual acuity, several differences can help determine if one might work better for your eyes.

Here are some of the significant differences in SMILE vs. LASIK procedure:

  • LASIK treats every refractive error. SMILE procedure treats nearsightedness with or without astigmatism; however, not farsightedness or astigmatism.
  • LASIK procedure requires the surgeon to cut a flap in the cornea for the excimer laser to reach the inner part of your eye. SMILE procedure reshapes the top of your cornea to flatten it.
  • The LASIK procedure is not a good choice for people with thin corneas. SMILE procedure can benefit nearsighted people with thin corneas.
  • The LASIK procedure has better recovery potency from side effects at a seven-day aftercare point than the SMILE procedure. However, there’s no difference in recovery period and rates.
  • The LASIK procedure has been around for over 20 years, and there are some new developments with the surgery. According to surgeons, SMILE surgery is recent to the U.S. and improving every day.


Both LASIK and SMILE procedures are good vision correction options with enduring results. They are similar in preparation, methods, and results. However, you might be more qualified for SMILE and not LASIK. This guide has given you an objective report about how the two options works. You can choose whichever procedure you prefer based on the prescription of your surgeon.