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ReLEx SMILE Singapore, LASIK surgery Singapore

ReLEx SMILE Singapore, LASIK surgery Singapore

ReLEx SMILE or LASIK surgery? This question is undoubtedly weighing on your mind as you decide which laser vision correction procedure is more suitable for you. Well, fret not. We are here to help! Let us share more details about the two treatments and their differences to allow you to make an informed decision. 

What is LASIK surgery?

LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) surgery is probably the most widely performed and well-known form of laser vision correction. A laser is used during the procedure to remove tissue from your cornea so that it can refract light correctly to your retina. 

During the LASIK procedure, your eye surgeon will utilise either a specialised femtosecond laser or a microkeratome – a minuscule machine-guided scalpel – to create a small flap in the cornea. Afterwards, they will use an excimer laser to remove some corneal tissue to reshape your cornea. The location and amount of corneal tissue removed are dependent on the type of refractive error you have.

It takes approximately 5 minutes to perform a LASIK surgery on a single eye. Patients will remain awake during the procedure, but rest assured that local anaesthesia is used to help numb the discomfort. The downtime is minimal (healing takes a day or two), and you will have no issues resuming your daily activities the day after your treatment. However, your eye surgeon will advise you to avoid specific exercises, like swimming, for a few weeks. 

Learn More: Is LASIK Surgery Right For You?

What is ReLEx SMILE?

ReLEx SMILE (small incision lenticule extraction) is a newer type of laser refractive eye surgery to hit the market. This procedure specifically treats nearsightedness or myopia. However, it can also be used to correct minor astigmatism. ReLEx SMILE is often considered less invasive than LASIK since eye surgeons do not need to create a flap in your cornea to reshape it.

Similar to LASIK surgery, patients who undergo the SMILE procedure will receive numbing eye drops to minimise discomfort. You can either lie or sit down during the treatment, as the laser (pre-programmed with a map of your cornea) reshapes your cornea. This procedure also takes about 5 minutes per eye and the healing time is almost identical to LASIK.

ReLEx SMILE Vs LASIK: What’s the difference?

Difference #1: ReLEx SMILE uses one laser while LASIK uses two

The immediate difference you would notice with ReLEx SMILE is that the procedure only utilises one laser: the femtosecond laser. This tool helps create a small incision that allows your eye surgeon to extract the tissue from your cornea.

Conversely, LASIK surgery uses the femtosecond laser to create a flap on your cornea. Subsequently, a different laser (excimer laser) is utilised to remove the precise amount of tissue from your cornea to correct your vision.

Difference #2: ReLEx SMILE is only suitable for short-sightedness and minor astigmatism

Do you have short-sightedness (i.e. myopia) or minor astigmatism? In that case, ReLEx SMILE may be a much safer procedure since it does not reduce the mechanical strength of the cornea as much as LASIK surgery. 

However, if you have long-sightedness or more severe cases of astigmatism, your eye surgeon may recommend LASIK surgery. Do note that your cornea must be thick enough and within the normal range to undergo LASIK. Your eye surgeon will assess your condition to determine if LASIK is suitable for you.

Difference #3: ReLEx SMILE has fewer complaints of dry eyes

The incision created during a ReLEx SMILE procedure is 1/5 times smaller than that of LASIK surgery. As a result, fewer corneal nerves are disturbed in the former treatment. Hence, the central cornea sensitivity and tear production system is maintained better than LASIK. Therefore, the chances of post-surgery dry eyes are significantly reduced. 

Difference #4: ReLEx SMILE has no flap complications

During LASIK surgery, your eye surgeon will create a 20mm flap on your cornea to serve as a natural protective layer for the site of the operation. However, improper placement of the flap can cause complications like epithelial ingrowth. Conversely, patients who undergo the ReLEx SMILE procedure do not have to worry about such issues since the latter is a flapless eye surgery.

ReLEx SMILE or LASIK surgery: Which is better for you?

At the end of the day, both SMILE and LASIK are safe, reliable laser vision correction procedures to improve your eyesight. As such, your decision may depend on the issue plaguing your vision. ReLEx SMILE is only suitable for those with myopia or minor astigmatism. In contrast, those with long-sightedness or more severe cases of astigmatism may require LASIK surgery

We recommend speaking with our eye doctor in Singapore to help determine the ideal procedure for you. Generally, LASIK is the recommended choice for most people. However, SMILE may be a viable option for those who are not suitable for LASIK (i.e. those with thin corneas). Do not hesitate to contact us today to schedule an appointment with our eye doctor for an in-depth assessment of your eye condition.

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