SMILE Eye Laser Surgery- Review

August 7, 2021

This is where the story starts: being tired of having to deal with prescription sun glasses for my sight which was L -2.50 and R -2.75 in February 2019, and finally opting for SMILE Eye Laser Surgery.

In case you are not sold yet on the idea of a laser cutting into your eyeballs yet, let me share with you a few alternative solutions I tried first.

Before SMILE Eye Laser Surgery-Trying Different Solutions

  1. Fit over sunglasses‘ over regular glasses I found them a hassle and they didn’t go with my fashion vibe.
  2. Prescription Sungalsses’ . They were expensive! I broke one pair, and I lost another— I could not envision myself having to deal with a lifetime of expensive prescription sunglasses.
  3. ‘Dailies Contact lenses’ I tried several of the moistest kinds. Due to my dry eye syndrome, I wasn’t able to use these contact lenses. They would either just shrivel up and fall out after an hour, or cause my eyes to become red, scratchy, and swollen.
  4. Eye Exercises and the Bates Method-These exercises can apparently restore perfect vision if you are near-sighted, like I was. I gave up doing them after two months—mostly because I was lazy!—but in case you want to learn more about the exercises, you can read about it here. Apparently, the Bates Method really does work for some people!
  5. Overnight Contact lenses– The idea is that you sleep in them and they correct your eyes overnight, so the next day you have perfect vision. Personally, I found these lenses extremely uncomfortable. It felt like a cat was scratching at my eyes when I tried to close them. I was so paranoid and freaked out sleeping in them I gave up on overnight contact lenses after two days. It was just a terrible experience for me.

Now that I’ve presented you with some alternative solutions, let’s dive into the actual reason for this article: my experience with SMILE eye laser surgery.

Investigating Eye Laser Surgery options

While searching for laser eye surgery, I found mostly LASIK and other therapies such as LASEK, Presbymax, Blended Vision, and ReLEx SMILE (Refractive Lenticule Extraction / Small Incision Lenticule Extraction).

In February 2019, I learned that SMILE was the latest in laser eye surgery; and, while there were not many reviews or YouTube videos out there at the time, it sounded like a fantastic option for me, judging by all the positive things I read:

  • The procedure is more comfortable than LASIK.
  • Suitable for contact sports or extreme professions.
  • Suitable for dry eyes.
  • Cornea remains firm and strong.
  • Less risk of complications.
  • Quick recovery.

I also learned that SMILE is not suitable if:

  • Your eye strength is lower than -2 or higher than -12.
  • The cornea is too thin or scarred.
  • Your eye’s cylinder is too high.
  • Your pupil is too big.

I went ahead and consulted World Eye (now FYEO) in Amsterdam. First, the ophthalmologist did a very thorough assessment of my eyes to check if I was a good candidate for SMILE surgery, since I was worried that my eyes would be too dry.

We learned that I had enough tear secretion, but that the quality of my tears just wasn’t very good. However, this wouldn’t be a problem, and I was good to go ahead with the SMILE laser surgery!

During the SMILE eye laser surgery procedure

The practitioner applied anesthetic eyedrops to my eyeballs to completely numb them. I was told to stare straight at the bright light (target) above me and not to move my eyes. I guess this just makes it extra easy for the practitioner during the procedure.

Don’t worry—the computer system closely tracks your eye movements, so if you accidentally move your eyes the laser won’t damage you or slice off anything important!

The practitioner worked first on one eye, then the other. The site of action is the cornea at the front of your eye. It takes less than half a minute to laser the lenticule (a disc-like tissue, which, when removed, gives correction to the eyeball) off, and the superfluous tissue is then removed through a tiny opening.

During the procedure, a very kind nurse held my hand to comfort me. I read afterwards that some places give their patients a cuddly toy to hold on to. The procedure is not painful at all, but just the mental image of the procedure can be a bit daunting, so it was nice to have that extra support!

After the Smile eye laser surgery procedure

Right after the procedure, I felt very wobbly and lightheaded from working myself into a state of stress. My eyesight was extremely blurry (which is normal), so I couldn’t drive and needed to be taken home.

I was advised to lie down, rest my eyes, and not use them for a while. Within an hour or two, I felt itchiness, a pricking sensation, and an inability to open my eyelids comfortably.

About four hours later, my vision continued to improve; and, by the evening, my vision was about 80% less blurry. The doctor told me not to rub my eyes, no matter how much they itched, and to not get water in them (I washed my hair after 2 days just to be safe!).

I also had to use antibiotic eyedrops for 5 days, to make sure my eyes didn’t become infected while they healed.

The next morning, my eyesight was 100% fine. By the end of the day, I resumed normal activities like watching TV and using my computer. I could not believe how fast the recovery was!

For the next seven days, I was mindful to wear sunglasses outside and to shield my eyes from wind and dust, just to be extra careful. Tip: Be careful not to rub your eyes for a few months afterwards!

Two years later…

Aside from dry eyes (which I already had), I’m happy as a clam! For the dry eyes, I use prescription HYLAN eyedrops a couple of times a day. This does not bother me at all.

A few months ago, I went for a check-up, and was pleased to hear from the ophthalmologist that I now have ‘eagle eyes’🙂

Getting SMILE done to correct my eyes was seriously the absolute best decision I have ever made to improve my quality of life, and I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone.

Here is an up-to-date article, in case you are interested in getting SMILE eye laser surgery, too:

The idea of having a laser poking around in your eyes can be scary, but my experience with SMILE was a walk in the park. Hope this article has helped someone who is considering to get laser as well. If you have any questions, please feel free to drop me a note in the comment box below, and I’ll answer if I can.

If you liked this article about my experience with eye surgery, perhaps you will also like to read about what it is like to get braces as an adult here.

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