When do you start to see the advantages of ReLEx SMILE surgery?
When do we start to see advantages of ReLEx SMILE surgery as opposed to LASIK laser eye surgery?
I could give my brother as an example. In June of last year, I performed SMILE laser eye surgery on my younger brother of whom I’m very fond of and have a very close relationship. He’s a minus 6 myope, he had a dry eye tendency, played a lot of sport, quite large pupils as well and these are all factors that in bygone times would have steered me towards performing Surface Laser rather than LASIK. With SMILE, we achieve a more effective optical zone, so that looks after his large pupils and his quality of night vision. We can perform our procedure deeper in the corneas which have less of an effect on the tear film, less effect with dry eye symptoms and a faster recovery of dry eye symptoms. We’re also leaving the eye just very slightly stronger, and for a man who’s playing a lot of contact sports, there is some merit in that. Nevertheless, I still perform a lot of LASIK laser eye surgery. It is still an incredibly effective, safe and accurate procedure.
At the moment, SMILE isn’t suitable or eligible for long-sighted corrections. We can’t perform PRESBYOND blended laser eye surgery with the SMILE procedure, we need to use LASIK. So it’s a little bit like shot selection in golf or just using the right tool for the job. It’s a fantastic additional tool to have on our laser platform. What it’s achieved in my practice over the last five years, is it’s eliminated Surface laser from my range of treatment options. So when you read about different laser eye surgery options, you read about LASIK, you may have been to a clinic and they’ll say to you all because of your thinner corneas or because of your bit of dry eye you have to have Surface later. You don’t. If you come to a clinic that can offer you SMILE Laser Eye Surgery that sorts out all the problems that might cause the surgeon to avoid using LASIK.
So LASIK is still a great option, we’ve always had some patients where we could offer them laser eye surgery but would it be better not to use LASIK. What we can now do is SMILE for those patients with all its benefits, the quick visual recovery and the stronger eye, keyhole, as opposed to Surface laser.
The problem with Surface laser is it’s such a slow visual recovery. The eye is sore for a few days, it takes weeks for the vision to stabilise and quite commonly patients can be left with recurrent erosion symptoms where they’re waking up in the morning and catch their eyes feeling sore. For me, it’s been incredibly exciting over this last five years to have completely left that behind and to be only offering my patients the rapid visual recovery of either LASIK or SMILE without compromising on safety for any of those patients.