What is SMILE?
SMILE All-Laser Procedure for Correction of Nearsightedness
The acronym “SMILE” stands for Small Incision Lenticule Extraction. The SMILE Eye Surgery procedure has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treatment of spherical myopia (nearsightedness). More than 600,000 procedures have been performed in more than 60 countries throughout Europe, Asia, Russia, and South America.
Dr. Rex Hamilton was the first surgeon to perform the SMILE procedure on the West Coast. Click here for a link to a news story on the first cases performed in the U.S.
The procedure uses the VisuMax femtosecond laser, the same laser Dr. Hamilton uses to create flaps for the very popular LASIK procedure.
The SMILE Procedure: How it Works
During the procedure, anesthetic drops are used to numb the eye. Dr. Hamilton carefully positions the VisuMax femtosecond laser to treat the eye. The laser uses tiny laser pulses, applied at an astounding 500,000 pulses per second, to define a lens shaped piece of material (called a “lenticule”) in the center of the cornea (window on the front of the eye). These pulses form bubbles less than 1/100th the width of a human hair. The shape of the lenticule is precisely determined and customized to the patient’s nearsighted correction. The laser then creates a tiny connecting tunnel through which the surgeon removes the lenticule from the cornea. By removing the lenticule, the shape of the cornea changes and corrects the nearsightedness. No flap is required with SMILE and the procedure is completed using only the VisuMax laser.
The SMILE eye surgery technique is just one of 4 amazing refractive surgery procedures offered by Dr. Rex Hamilton for vision correction. The technique builds on the incredibly successful LASIK and PRK laser procedures that have been the mainstay of corneal refractive surgery with Rex Hamilton, MD. In addition to these 3 procedures performed on the cornea, the Visian ICL intraocular lens implant procedure offers a solution to a patient with extreme nearsightedness. Following a comprehensive diagnostic examination, Dr. Hamilton will determine which procedure is best for your particular situation, lifestyle, and visual needs.
Above, Dr. Hamilton stands with leaders in the development of the SMILE eye surgery technique after teaching a course with one another at the American Academy of Ophthalmology (October 2018). From left to right: Dr. Dan Reinstein (eye surgeon and author, The Surgeon’s Guide to SMILE: Small Incision Lenticule Extraction), Dr. Rex Hamilton (first eye surgeon to perform SMILE eye surgery on the U.S. West Coast), Dr. John Doan (clinical investigator in SMILE FDA trial), Dr. Edward Manche (Professor of Ophthalmology at Stanford University School of Medicine), Dr. John Vukich (clinical investigator in SMILE FDA trial), and Dr. Sri Ganesh (world authority and pioneer of SMILE laser eye surgery).