ReLEx SMILE Eye Surgery ClevelandReLEx SMILE Eye Surgery

ReLEx (Refractive Lenticule Extraction) SMILE (Small Incision Lenticule Extraction) is one of the newest developments in vision correction procedures. This treatment is available in only a few laser eye surgery clinics in the United States.

What is SMILE Surgery?

ReLEx Smile uses state-of-the-art femtosecond technology to create a high-precision thin circular disc of tissue that is removed through a small incision in the cornea. The incision made with SMILE is less than 4 mm.

Some patients are not candidates for LASIK because of thin corneas, high prescriptions, dry eye, etc.  Traditionally, the Cleveland Eye Clinic surgeons have used PRK/ASA for these eyes, which is a great procedure, but it takes longer to heal. SMILE is a good alternative allowing for the safety profile that PRK provides for certain eyes, but with quick healing similar to LASIK.

More about the SMILE Procedure

Your eye is anesthetized with eye drops and a lid speculum is gently positioned to prevent you from accidentally blinking. The whole treatment process is then undertaken using the Zeiss Femtosecond Laser as a single step.  The treatment usually takes between 10 and 15 minutes. The actual laser is in operation for only a tiny fraction of this time, and after a quick post-operative check by your surgeon, you are free to go. The recovery from ReLEx is generally quite comfortable (similar to LASIK), and the visual recovery is reasonably quick. You should have hazy but navigational vision after a nap. Most patients will be able to drive and use a computer by the next day. Visual recovery with ReLEx SMILE is generally a little slower than LASIK, but quicker than with PRK or LASEK

Cleveland Eye Clinic Surgeons Dr. Wiley and Dr. Bafna are part of an elite group of surgeons who offer the SMILE procedure to their patients. We are now accepting consultations for SMILE. Schedule a consultation below, or read further for frequently asked questions.

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Frequently Asked Questions about SMILE Eye Surgery

Who should consider SMILE?

SMILE is effective on patients with moderate to high levels of near-sightedness and astigmatism who are over the age of 22.

How long does the SMILE procedure take?

The procedure takes 15-20 minutes for each eye.

Is the SMILE procedure painful?

SMILE is not painful. There may be some discomfort during the procedure, akin to light pressure on the eyes, but it is minimal.

When was the SMILE procedure approved by the FDA?

SMILE was approved in September 2016.

What are the benefits of the SMILE procedure?

SMILE is performed using the VisuMax femtosecond laser, which is one of the most precise lasers on the market. The procedure is a huge advance due to its minimal invasiveness and use of a single laser.

What are the risks or complications of the SMILE procedure?

Complications with the SMILE procedure have been reported infrequently, as it is a relatively safe procedure. Risks include epithelial abrasions, small tears at the incision, and loss of suction of the eye during the use of the laser. However, these risks are very small and do not prohibit the vision benefits from taking effect.


Cataract patients now have an option to see at both near and far distances after cataract surgery! NEW multi-focal IOL technology can now decrease dependence on glasses after surgery.

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