Health Beat: SMILE: An alternative to Lasik | Health Beat

Health Beat: SMILE: An alternative to Lasik | Health Beat

TAMPA, Fla. — Kelby Dolata is all about adventures, such as scuba diving in Thailand.

“I also like outdoor activities like rock climbing, biking, swimming,” shared Dolata, 25.

But dealing with glasses and contact lenses would sometimes leave his active lifestyle floundering.

“If I’m swimming or doing something outdoors and get something in my eye, I always have to worry about contacts washing away,” continued Dolata.

So, Dolata looked for a solution to get rid of his vision problems for good. That’s when he found SMILE, or small incision lenticule extraction. With Lasik, eye surgeons use a laser to create a flap on the surface layer of the cornea, but…

“With SMILE, we don’t have to use a flap,” said Dr. Michael Manning, an ophthalmologist. “So, we’re using a laser to create the correction just below the surface of the eye of the cornea through a very tiny opening.”

Since there is not a flap, there’s no chance of the flap shifting, folding, or dislocating while doing physical activities.

“As soon as the next day, patients can resume those activities,” Manning continued.

Dolata had the SMILE procedure.

“My vision was already almost a 100% better just the next day,” said Dolata.

That allowed him to have better vision for his newest adventure — welding.

“I can just wear safety glasses or the welding helmets and my glasses never get in the way,” Dolata said.

Manning said people with dry eye can also benefit more with SMILE than with Lasik. The SMILE procedure takes about a couple minutes per eye and 30 minutes in total. The price is about the same as Lasik at $2,500 per eye and is not covered by insurance.

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Luke Everdeen

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