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What is ReLEx® SMILE

While LASIK was introduced as one of the first laser-guided operations to reshape the cornea that works for all types of refractive errors, SMILE is a newer version with potential for fewer side effects. It is even less invasive than LASIK, but it only works for people with myopia and astigmatism.

ReLEx® SMILE from ZEISS is the first and only small incision lenticule extraction (SMILE) laser vision correction solution currently available. SMILE is a minimally invasive procedure that is the most comfortable of all the laser procedures. SMILE can treat low to high amounts of myopia (-1 to -10).

The procedure removes a small piece of the cornea to reshape the eye in minutes, with the laser only taking 30 seconds of the time. This next generation technology only requires one laser, which makes it very precise and comfortable.

SMILE and LASIK are roughly the same cost, have similar healing times, have similar side effects, and correct refractive errors within about the same range, typically to 20/25 or better.

While LASIK works for many people, it is not a perfect solution for some. As a result, more forms of laser vision correction have been developed, like the SMILE procedure. If you are looking for laser eye surgery to correct your refractive error, it is important to know the differences between these options so you can discuss them with your ophthalmologist.

Am I a Candidate?:

  • You have dry eyes
  • You work in jobs that could have direct impact to the eyes
  • You play sports or do physical activity that could affect the eyes
  • You are nearsighted with or without astigmatism


SMILE is an alternative to LASIK for myopia, not a replacement, and can ultimately help patients achieve excellent vision.


The recovery depends on the person, but typically, patients go back to everyday activities in a couple days.

Hear from Our Patients

John C. , LASIK

John’s vision was 20/200 and 20/400. After LASIK, John is happy and seeing 20/15!

Hear from Our Patients

Phil B., LASIK

Phil was tired of constantly having to switch back and forth between glasses and contacts and was ready for a change. Thanks to LASIK at John-Kenyon, he’s now seeing 20/15!

Hear from Our Patients

Kurt B. , LASIK

Kurt was looking for a lifestyle change. He now can enjoy life contact and glasses free!