SMILE (Small Incision Lenticule Extraction) Eye Surgery for Vision Correction

A woman undergoing surgery

Since the introduction and broad availability of LASIK surgery, advancements have continually been made. In 2012, a procedure called Small Incision Lenticule Extraction, or SMILE, was introduced. This procedure is a type of refractive surgery that utilizes Femtosecond Laser. Instead of cutting a thin flap on the cornea, SMILE cuts and removes a thin corneal lenticule, and then removes it through a tiny incision ranging from 2 to 4 millimeters in a minimally invasive procedure (Blade-free Vision Correction).

Eye conditions that can be treated with SMILE surgery

SMILE can be used to treat myopia with excellent results. It is currently performed by more than 750 surgeons around the world. The results of SMILE in the treatment of hyperopia and pure cylindrical corrections have still not been established. It was approved by FDA in 2016 to correct myopia upto 8 dioptres and cylinder upto 0.5 dioptres only. Even after revised approval of FDA in 2018, it is still not approved to correct hyperopias and pure cylinders.

SMILE may be used to treat short-sightedness alone or short-sightedness with the presence of some astigmatism.

Benefits of SMILE

SMILE was developed to make two lamellar planes in the cornea with the help of a Femto laser, carving out a corneal lenticule. The thickness of the lenticule determines the amount of specs power correction. The lenticule is removed from the eye through on a small incision of 2 to 4 mm. The technology was conceived to reduce chances of dry eyes and chances of compromising the strength of cornea. Some studies have shown that it actually helps in these issues, while other studies have shown that it made no difference.

What happens during a SMILE procedure?

During a SMILE procedure, the doctor uses eye drops to anesthetize the eye. A speculum is then carefully positioned on the lids to keep the eye open and to prevent blinking. Using advanced femtosecond technology, the surgeon then creates a precise lenticule, which is a thin, circular piece of tissue. The surgeon then removes the lenticule through the tiny incision that was created in the eye.

The entire procedure lasts between 10 and 15 minutes, but the laser is only used for a small fraction of that time. After using the laser, the patient will be allowed to recover for a few minutes before the eye doctor returns, checks the eye, and allows the patient to leave.

Recovery after SMILE eye surgery

Visual recovery in SMILE is slow as compared to Contoura and other Lasik procedures (as per the article published in American Academy of Ophthalmology, 2018 by Dr. R.L Rebenitsch), and patient misses on the WOW effect. WOW effect is referred to speedy recovery in clarity of vision after laser procedure, usually within 30 minutes of the procedure.

How safe is the SMILE procedure?

SMILE is safe and USA FDA approved medical procedure. The procedure is generally used for patients above 22 years of age, as per the US FDA guidelines. Patients will need to undergo a series of tests to determine if they are good candidates for the procedure. In general, people who are good candidates for LASIK will likely be good candidates for SMILE as well.


As per the latest US FDA study done on 348 patients, who underwent vision correction by SMILE, only 84 percent of them had uncorrected visual acuity of 6/6 (20/20 or better). Complications after surgery included moderate to severe glare, moderate to severe halos, dry eye, and debris at the site of tissue removal.

What is the cost of SMILE surgery?

SMILE surgery is not a low-cost surgery. The costs include the expense of the consumables (Patient Interface). SMILE eye surgery in New Delhi costs an average of INR 1,00,000 (approx.)

Best hospital and surgeons for Vision Correction Surgery in Delhi

Eye7 Chaudhary Eye Centres have been at the cutting edge of Ophthalmology for decades. Eye7 Chaudhary Eye Centre has more than 30 years of experience providing the highest-quality eye surgical procedures to patients in Delhi.

We are proud to be one of the highest volume hospitals for vision correction in India. Because of the expertise of the hospital and its surgeons, patients travel from around the world to undergo laser vision correction and other eye surgery procedures at the Eye7 Centres in Delhi and NCR.

Eye7 offers the latest cutting-edge technologies for the benefit of its patients, including:

  • LenSx Bladeless Femtosecond Laser
  • Contoura Vision
  • Femtosecond laser FS 200 and EX 500

Dr. Sanjay Chaudhary is the director of the Eye7 group of eye hospitals, a celebrated eye surgeon who has been at the forefront of refractive eye surgical procedures ever since their launch in India. Dr. Chaudhary has more than 30 years of experience in ophthalmology.

Dr. Chaudhary is a member of multiple professional organizations like European Society of Cataract and Refractive surgery, American Society of Cataract and Refractive surgery, Asia Pacific Association of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, All India Ophthalmic Society, Delhi Ophthalmic Society etc

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