SMILE: An alternative to Lasik
TAMPA, Fla. – Around 10 million Americans have had Lasik surgery to correct their vision since it was FDA approved 20 years ago. Now a lesser-known vision correction procedure is offering a smaller incision and quicker recovery. Ivanhoe has details on why doctors are considering this Lasik 2.0.
Kelby Dolata, 25, is all about adventures, such as scuba diving in Thailand.
“I also like outdoor activities like rock climbing, biking, swimming,” Dolata said.
But dealing with glasses and contacts sometimes would 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.
Or even put him in dangerous situations.
Dolata explained, “One time I ran completely out of lenses, and I had to drive a motorcycle to the contact lens store with one eye like this trying to avoid potholes.”
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. 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,” said ophthalmologist Michael Manning, MD, FACS.
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,” continued Dr. Manning.
Dolata had the SMILE procedure.
“My vision was already almost 100% better just the next day,” said Dolata.
Allowing 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 stated.
Allowing him to spark new interests with clearer vision.
Dr. Manning said people with dry eye can also benefit more with SMILE than with Lasik. The SMILE procedure takes about a couple of 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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