SMILE Eye Surgery vs. LASIK Eye Surgery

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If you suffer from nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, or another refractive error, SMILE or LASIK surgery can provide the relief you need. While both procedures offer similar results, they have different ways of achieving them. If you’re deciding between the two procedures, our comparative guide will simplify the process.

SMILE Eye Surgery

What It Is

SMILE—which stands for Small Incision Lenticule Extraction—is a minimally invasive, refractive laser eye surgery that corrects myopia (nearsightedness) and some astigmatisms. If you need lasting visual improvement, SMILE may be right for you. Keep reading to learn more about this procedure.

Its Purpose

SMILE corrects both myopia and myopic astigmatism by reshaping the cornea. SMILE isn’t designed to treat hyperopia (farsightedness) or mixed astigmatisms. 

How the Procedure Works

As a minimally invasive procedure, SMILE only requires the use of one laser. A surgeon will follow these two steps during the procedure:
  1. A VisuMax femtosecond laser creates pulses to outline the lenticule—a thin, lens-shaped component of corneal tissue
  2. The laser creates a small incision where the eye surgeon can navigate the surgical area and remove the lenticule

Advantages of SMILE

If SMILE and LASIK offer similar long-term visual improvement, how do you choose which one to get? Start by weighing the benefits of each option.  Here are the top advantages of SMILE surgery:
  1. Quicker physical recovery time
  2. Less discomfort during and after the procedure
  3. Lower risk surgery
  4. Lower likelihood of developing dry eye
  5. Smaller surgical incision (less than four millimeters, whereas LASIK makes a 20-millimeter incision)
  6. Less invasive procedure
  7. No corneal flap creation, allowing corneal tissue to remain intact and resulting in less corneal nerve damage
  8. No corneal flap complications
  9. Better biomechanical stability in the cornea
  10. Only one laser is required to make the incision
  11. Eliminates the need for contacts and eyeglasses


Wondering what the cost of SMILE eye surgery will be? We’re here to help. Typically, both SMILE and LASIK cost around $1,800 and $3,600 per eye. However, the cost ultimately depends on several factors, such as:
  • The city and state in which you live
  • The clinic at which you schedule the procedure
  • The surgeon who will perform the surgery, including his/her experience and the patient demand
  • What follow-up care is required
  • Your insurance coverage
If you’re worried about how you’ll pay for the procedure, keep in mind that many clinics offer flexible payment plans.

LASIK Eye Surgery?

What It Is

LASIK surgery—also called Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis—is a minimally invasive refractive procedure that provides patients with long-term vision improvement. Eye surgeons have been performing LASIK surgery for over 25 years and counting.

Its Purpose

Like the SMILE procedure, LASIK is designed to reshape the cornea and improve vision. While SMILE only corrects myopia and some astigmatisms, LASIK treats a range of refractive errors—such as myopia, hyperopia, and all astigmatisms.

How the Procedure Works

How the procedure works is the main area in which SMILE and LASIK converge. While SMILE only requires the use of one laser, LASIK requires the use of two lasers. Here’s how the surgery is performed:
  1. The surgeon uses a femtosecond laser to create a corneal flap and raises it above the eye’s surface
  2. The surgeon uses an excimer laser to take away some of the corneal tissue, successfully reshaping a part of the cornea called the stroma
  3. Once the cornea has been reshaped, the surgeon returns the corneal flap to its original location

Advantages of LASIK

Now that you know the advantages of SMILE surgery, let’s cover the primary advantages of LASIK surgery.
  1. Quicker visual recovery time
  2. Makes post-surgery touch-ups easier to perform
  3. A more versatile procedure
  4. Is used to treat more refractive errors
  5. Eliminates the need for contacts and eyeglasses
  6. This technique has been perfected over the past 25+ years
  7. More evidence for long-term visual improvement


One factor to consider with LASIK surgery is how much it will cost you. Like with SMILE surgery, LASIK generally costs between $1,800 and $3,600 per eye. It all depends on:
  • The city and state in which you live
  • The clinic at which you schedule the procedure
  • The surgeon who will perform the surgery, including his/her experience and patient demand
  • What follow-up care is required
  • Your insurance coverage
Don’t let the cost of LASIK surgery keep you from getting the vision relief you need. Many eye clinics across the country offer flexible payment plans so you can spread out the cost over time rather than pay it all upfront.

The Leader in Compassionate Eye Care

Are you considering SMILE or LASIK surgery to correct your vision? The team at Cleveland Eye Clinic is here to help you decide which option is right for your lifestyle and vision needs. We offer both treatments at all office locations so you can get the quality eye care you need close to home. Schedule an appointment with us today to get one step closer to clear vision. Take Our LASIK Self-Test Schedule an Appointment

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Patricia CowlinPatricia Cowlin
18:56 07 Apr 23
They're very professional and it's like a family feeling from the staff and doctors.I love going there all your questions and concerns are addressed. Great job getting you seen in a timely manner 💯
Ramon TorresRamon Torres
02:05 06 Feb 23
I never post reviews, but your employee Bernadette is one exceptional lady. I took my mother, there and she was so helpful and attentive. Her ability to be accessible and friendly to everyone cannot be ignored. She greets everyone with a smile and even my mom was happy with her experience there. Thanks Bernadette for making my moms day.
21:37 02 Feb 23
Went to get an exam at the downtown office and Bernadette has got to be the most pleasant helpful woman I know. She helped with my paperwork and even made me coffee. She makes sure that everyone is taken care of. The help she gives the elderly is to be admired. She treats everyone with so much respect. I will definitely tell my coworkers and friends about this clinic..
Asia WallaceAsia Wallace
16:15 27 Jan 23
The staff was very warm and welcoming. Everyone was very professional and efficient. Dr. Pierre was amazing!! Great first impression of the practice, and I will definitely recommend them!

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