ReLEx SMILE vs LASIK: Which is right for you?

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Laser Vision Correction

 Laser Vision Correction (LVC) is one of the most common procedures performed worldwide. It uses a highly precise laser system that reshapes the front part of the eye to correct myopia (short-sightedness), hyperopia (long-sightedness) and astigmatism.

Over the years, 3 generations of LVC have emerged – ReLEx® SMILE, LASIK and PRK

SMall Incision Lenticule Extraction (ReLEx® SMILE) is a minimally invasive procedure which combines the qualities of both PRK and LASIK – flapless and fast recovery. A flapless procedure where the corneal structure is left largely intact, SMILE is ideal for individuals who have active lifestyles/occupations with a risk of trauma to the head or eyes and/or for those predisposed to chronic dry eye. The single-step procedure takes only 24 seconds.

Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) is a flap surgery. A thin 22mm flap is created with a rapid and highly precise femtosecond laser. The flap is then gently folded back to expose the corneal surface for an excimer laser to reshape the cornea for vision correction. Visual recovery is quick and it is rare for patients to experience flap-related effects. LASIK is the most widely performed laser vision correction procedure since its introduction in the early 1990s. LASIK improves upon PRK in the areas of discomfort and recovery time, but may come with a higher possibility of dry eye.

PhotoRefractive Keratectomy (PRK) is a ‘no-flap no incision’ procedure based on surface ablation. The visual correction is made directly on the cornea surface after the thin outer layer of the cornea (epithelium) is removed. Visual recovery following PRK treatment generally takes longer and can be accompanied by some discomfort. PRK offers distinct advantages for patients with lower prescription and slightly thinner corneas. Other procedures that fall under the category of advanced surface ablation include epi-LASIKLASEK and TransPRK.

A Comparison: PRK vs LASIK vs ReLEx SMILE

PRK

  • Performed since 1980s
  • 3 to 4 days to recover 75% of vision
  • 3 to 4 days of discomfort and possibly tearing
  • Fully stable vision in 3 months
  • No risk of dislocation, tearing or loss of corneal flap
  • Lesser incidence of dry eye compared to LASIK

LASIK

  • Performed since 1990s
  • Recovers 75% of the vision the next day
  • Fully stable vision in 3 months
  • Tearing and discomfort usually go away after 24 hours
  • Risk of dislocation, tearing or loss of corneal flap though rare

ReLEx SMILE

  • Performed since 2011
  • Recovers 75% of the vision the next day
  • Fully stable vision in 3 months
  • Tearing and discomfort usually go away after 24 hours
  • No risk of dislocation, tearing or loss of corneal flap
  • Lesser incidence of dry eye compared to LASIK
  • Treatment of hyperopia (long-sightedness) is not available

Pricing

Budget is usually one of the most important things to consider. However, it should not be the only factor you base your decision on. Since there are mainly 3 different types of laser vision correction, the prices vary accordingly. But in general, PRK is the most affordable compared to LASIK and ReLEx SMILE.

Check out Atlas Eye’s prices for laser vision correction on this page.

Which treatment is right for me?

 To ascertain your suitability for laser vision correction, the best way is to go for a pre-laser evaluation which may costs from $19 to $500 in Singapore. At Atlas Eye Specialist Centre, the pre-laser evaluation costs $19. To book an appointment, visit https://atlaseye.sg/lasik-eye-consultation-assessment/.