SMILE—Minimally Invasive, Flapless Surgery

ReLEx SMILE (small incision lenticule extraction) is the latest advancement in laser vision correction. This minimally invasive procedure, sometimes called "flapless LASIK," was FDA approved for the treatment of nearsightedness in 2016.

During the procedure, a highly precise ZEISS VisuMax femtosecond laser reshapes the cornea by removing a small amount of eye tissue. From start to finish, the whole procedure takes just minutes. 

SMILE is one of the most gentle vision correction procedures available. Most patients feel no pain during and after the procedure, and they are able to return to their daily activities quickly.

Patient Shares Her Experience with SMILE

Before undergoing SMILE, Adria Halasz couldn’t go anywhere without her contacts or glasses. “I was so nearsighted and dependent on visual aids,” she says. “I had a constant fear of not being able to see.”

SMILE is still pretty new, and not many doctors offer it in the United States. In fact, Mass. Eye and Ear, Waltham, is the only facility in New England offering the procedure.

Adria had no doubts that the surgery would be a success, but she did have some anxiety about the experience.

“Thankfully, it turned out to be super easy,” she says. “They gave me some medicine to help me relax, and then they put numbing drops in my eyes so I couldn’t feel anything during surgery. It was completely painless," says Adria. “Now I can see even better than I did with my contacts," she says.

Read her full story on the Mass. Eye and Ear Focus blog.

Make an Appointment

Although SMILE is a popular choice for many patients, it's important to note that not everyone is a good candidate for the procedure. If your doctor doesn’t think SMILE is right for you, you may be eligible for other types of corrective surgery, such as Lasik or PRK. To schedule an evaluation at Mass. Eye and Ear, call 1-833-LASER-99 or email MEErefractive@meei.harvard.edu.