The world is moving towards newer innovations in the field of medicine. Many complicated procedures have been made simple, accurate, and safe through advanced technology. The eyes are the most delicate organ in the human body. Many people fear undergoing eye surgeries due to the myth that they can go blind. However, with the advent of Small Incision Lenticule Extraction (SMILE), there is no looking back. SMILE Eye surgery has made vision correction possible with minimal invasion to the eye. Let’s get to know more about the procedure and SMILE eye surgery cost in India.
What is SMILE?
The most common eye problem is myopia or near-sightedness caused due to the misalignment of the cornea’s curvature. SMILE is a specifically designed minimally invasive procedure to treat myopia and mild astigmatism. US-FDA approved SMILE eye surgery in the year 2016. However, its efficacy and strong results are proof of its credibility despite being a relatively new procedure. SMILE is also known as refractive lenticular extraction or ReLex and is based on a technology that won the Nobel prize in 2018. Unlike traditional methods, which involve cutting flaps in your cornea, a computer-guided laser is used for removing a corneal lenticule for aligning the cornea.
What Vision Issues Does SMILE Treat?
A clear vision means that your cornea can refract light directly over the retina. But when light rays refract inaccurately and focus images, not on the retina but in front, it causes nearsightedness or myopia. It is a refractive error that results in blurry vision of objects at a distance.
Therefore, your brain processes nearby object accurately, whereas far-off things appear blurry. Generally, myopia is treated using glasses or lenses, but SMILE offers a long-term solution without aggravating the problem. Almost 40% of people suffer from nearsightedness and vision problems. SMILE eye surgery is focused explicitly on treating myopia and mild astigmatism.
What Happens in SMILE Procedure?
SMILE is a safe and straightforward eye procedure that usually takes 30 minutes. An improvement in vision can be experienced within a day or two after surgery. The process is done in a single step without any complexity. Therefore, SMILE eye surgery can be divided into three phases:
Before undertaking the SMILE procedure, your ophthalmologist will discuss the entire procedure and inform you regarding recovery, what to expect, SMILE surgery cost, risks, etc. After which, a comprehensive eye exam will be conducted to find other vision issues, if any. The measurement of your cornea’s surface and the pupil will be taken for accurate incision during the procedure.
Your ophthalmologist will set the laser according to eye measurements and will numb your eyes using anaesthetic drops. For avoiding blinks during surgery, an eyelid holder is placed, and a suction ring is put on the cornea for limited eye movement. Then with the computer-guided laser tiny incision will be made to extract a corneal tissue for reshaping the cornea. The whole procedure takes about 10-15 minutes on one eye.
Low-impact activities can be resumed after two days of the surgery. The complete recovery might take 4-6 weeks. But most patients experience clear vision after a day of the surgery. However, avoid any activity that requires your vision on the day after your surgery. Use the prescribed drops diligently to prevent any chances of infection.
Who Is A Suitable Candidate For SMILE?
Specific criteria must be met for undergoing SMILE surgery. A good candidate :
● Must be at least 22 years of age
● Should not have any other vision issues such as glaucoma or cataract
● Have myopia prescription ranging from -1.00 diopters to -10.00 diopters with astigmatism lying between -0.75 to -3.00 diopters. The total prescription including both problems should not exceed -10.00 diopters.
● Have healthy Corneas
The vast majority of people with myopia get 20/20 vision after full recovery. However, SMILE is not a suitable option for some candidates due to:
● Prescription of farsightedness type, hyperopia, and presbyopia
● Keloid formation or excessive scarring
● Keratoconus, a condition in which the cornea has an unusual bulging shape.
● Corneal abrasions or disease
● Advanced glaucoma
● Vision impacting cataract
● Thin corneas
● Past eye laser surgeries
● History of specific eye diseases or infections.
What Are The Benefits of SMILE Eye Surgery?
Over the conventional eye procedures, SMILE has many benefits that make it a popular treatment for myopia.
Flap-Less Method: In SMILE, there is no flap creation which carries the risk of flap displacement and is 20mm long. On the other hand, a tiny incision is created less than 4mm for reshaping the cornea with minimal invasion.
Highly Precise: SMILE uses a Femtosecond laser which is computer-guided and has zero risks of manual complications. It is less inflammable with ten times lower energy induced in the eye with 100% accurate incisions.
Single-Step Procedure: SMILE eye surgery simplifies the conventional eye procedures and binds them into a single step. The lenticular extraction and creation are done in about 10 seconds on each eye quickly.
Faster Recovery: As SMILe is minimally invasive, the recovery period is relatively shorter. Many people can see more clearly after a day of the surgery and can do low-impact activities within a few days.
How Much Does SMILE Eye Surgery Cost?
SMILE eye surgery is an accurate, minimally invasive, innovative, and technologically advanced treatment with long-term benefits. Therefore, it is not a low-budget procedure. However, the cost depends on various factors such as the doctor’s expertise, Eye hospital or centre, the technology used, etc. Usually, for both eyes, it costs approximately Rs. 1,00,000, that means Rs. 50,000 per eye. It is costlier than LASIK surgery but at the same time offers more benefits. Hence, You must consult your doctor and have a proper diagnosis and prescription for SMILE. Also, enquire your health insurance company whether they cover SMILE or not for better financial management.
SMILE eye surgery cost reaches a lakh which is pricey for a middle-class income group. However, the benefits are far-reaching and are worth every penny spent on the procedure. It gives you near-perfect vision through an exact process that is highly safe. Therefore, it is advisable to consult your doctor and then decide on the SMILE surgery.
Also Read- SMILE Eye Surgery – Is It Different From LASIK