LASIK vs SMILE: What’s the Difference?

Dr. Robert Dinga

LASIK and SMILE are both laser vision correction procedures that can correct refractive errors. They are both safe and effective procedures, but there are some key differences between them.

What is LASIK?

LASIK stands for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis. In LASIK, a flap is created in the cornea, the clear front of the eye. The excimer laser then reshapes the cornea underneath the flap. The flap is then replaced, and the eye heals.

What is SMILE?

SMILE stands for small incision lenticule extraction. In SMILE, a small lenticule is removed from the cornea using a femtosecond laser. The lenticule is a disc of tissue that is removed from the cornea to reshape it.

Which is right for you?

The best way to decide which procedure is right for you is to talk to your eye doctor. They can assess your individual needs and help you choose the best option for you.

At TLC Vision, we are committed to providing our patients with the best possible care. That’s why we take a conservative approach to new technology. We want to make sure that any new laser technology we offer is safe and effective, and that it provides our patients with the best possible outcomes.

We understand that new technology can be exciting, but we also know that it’s important to be cautious. That’s why we often wait to adopt new technology until more is known about its safety and effectiveness over the long run.

One example of this is SMILE. SMILE is a newer laser vision correction procedure that is less invasive than LASIK. However, it is still a relatively new procedure, and there is not yet a lot of long-term data on its safety and effectiveness. We have not yet adopted SMILE at TLC Vision. We want to make sure that we can offer our patients the best possible care, and that means waiting until we have more information about this new procedure.  We do not mean to imply that SMILE is not safe or effective – simply, in our view, based upon the relative volume of experience in the medical community with LASIK over a greater number of years as compared to SMILE, we are more confident in offering LASIK than SMILE.

If you are interested in learning more about SMILE, we encourage you to talk to your eye doctor. They can help you understand the risks and benefits of this new procedure and determine if it is right for you.


American Academy of Ophthalmology. “SMILE vs. LASIK: Which Offers Better Early Visual Recovery?,” October 17, 2018.

American Academy of Ophthalmology. “Changes in Corneal Sensitivity and Dry Eye Symptoms After SMILE vs. LASIK Surgery,” October 5, 2022.

Refractive Surgery Council. “What Is the LASIK Success Rate?,” August 16, 2022.,achieve%2020%2F20%20or%20better.

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