ReLEx SMILE and LASIK are the two most commonly used surgeries in the world that are used to treat myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. Both procedures are painless and bladeless and involve the utilization of lasers for gaining better accuracy and fewer complications. A survey shows us that almost 92-98% of eye patients are happy with the post-surgery results of ReLEx SMILE. In extremely rare cases of LASIK, the patients have to still continue wearing glasses or contact lenses post-surgery because their eye condition is either over- or under-corrected.
What is LASIK laser surgery?
LASIK stands for Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis and is one of the most commonly performed eye surgeries in the world. The treatment is used to cure myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. It is a laser refractive surgery that is used to reform the front part (cornea) of the eye which enables the light to enter and pass through it without the involvement of glasses or contact lenses. LASIK is also a painless method and demands only 15-20 minutes max. to treat both the eyes. A patient can feel the difference soon and vision improvement is imminent and the whole procedure needs only 24 hours to stabilize.
What is ReLEx SMILE?
ReLEx SMILE surgery is one of the most popular and widely used surgeries in the world which is used to cure myopia and astigmatism. SMILE stands for Small incision lenticule extraction and previously, it was known as Femtosecond lenticule extraction (FLEx). The method was pioneered by Carl Zeiss Meditec and the entire process is painless, bladeless, and stitchless. It is at par excellence with traditional eye surgery which utilizes hand-held tools like diamond blades. ReLEx SMILE uses advanced Femtosecond laser for 3D mapping and the process is more accurate and encompasses fewer precautions than the traditional one.
Difference between ReLEx SMILE and LASIK
LASIK requires Flap and ReLEx SMILE is Flapless: In LASIK, an eye surgeon makes a corneal flap with the help of an instrument called microkeratome or with Femtosecond laser. Why flap is required in LASIK? It is because to treat myopia or astigmatism, the eye specialist cannot treat the eyes in its first layer of the cornea because it is very sensitive to external factors. Even a single dust particle is dropped on the 1st layer of cornea, you will feel a burning sensation. They have to go deeper and operate in the internal layers.
With ReLEx SMILE, there is no cut or flap required for the treatment and this treatment method is chosen by those patients who have a fear of having a “cut” in their eyes. The Femtosecond laser makes a small “lenticule”, which is used to treat eye conditions.
Different types of laser used: ReLEx SMILE surgery utilizes a Femtosecond laser developed by Carl Zeiss Meditec and is super accurate for making 3D mapping of the affected eye. On the other hand, LASIK uses Femtosecond laser or different types of excimer lasers.
Different recovery time: The recovery time for ReLEx SMILE surgery is lesser than LASIK because no cut or flap is made during ReLEx SMILE. The total recovery time for ReLEx SMILE is 2-3 hours and the total recovery time for LASIK is 15-30 days. A patient treated with ReLEx can resume their work within a week but the same is not possible for LASIK.
Taking part in outdoor activities: A patient who has been treated with ReLEx SMILE can take part in activities such as cycling, swimming, and exercise just after 2 days post-surgery. But a patient, who has been treated with LASIK will require at least 30 days for taking part in exercises and outdoor activities.
The cost incurred: There is a difference between the cost of LASIK and ReLEx SMILE based on the technology and procedure used in the treatment. Also, it depends upon center to center and the type of laser and accessories used.
So, we came to know that ReLEx SMILE surgery is better than LASIK because ReLEx doesn’t involve any flaps to be made during the surgery and also, ReLEx SMILE procedure’s recovery time is lesser than that of LASIK. A LASIK-patient can take part in outdoor activities after a month, but a ReLEx-patient can resume their work within 2 days, max. The good thing about LASIK is that it is comparatively cheaper than the ReLEx SMILE procedure.
Dada Laser Eye Institute is one of the best eye clinics in India and here, we treat patients with LASIK and ReLEx SMILE according to their choice or preference. Dr, Jeevan Ladi has 25+ years of experience as an ophthalmologist and has been awarded a Gold Medal for his extensive work in laser eye surgery.