SmartSight vs LASIK Eye Surgery: What’s the Difference?

Hi, it’s Dr Matt Russell from VSON. When I tell people, I’m a Refractive surgeon who does laser vision correction; some ask me: “SmartSight vs LASIK Eye Surgery: What’s the Difference?”

So you may be considering LASIK eye surgery if you’re looking to get out of your glasses, contact lenses, or both. Short-sightedness, long-sightedness and astigmatism are just a few conditions that we can correct with this procedure.

Until very recently, LASIK was the most popular laser vision correction treatment performed in my practice and worldwide for patients under 45 years with any type of prescription. The main reason for the popularity of LASIK was because of two factors – the very high level of accuracy and the very rapid recovery.

During all-laser LASIK, which is the most advanced form of LASIK (and what we do at VSON), we use a laser to create a thin layer of tissue called a flap. I lift this flap and performs vision correction treatment under the flap with a second laser. I then reposition the flap, and the surface layer of the flap heals within four hours.

What this means is that after LASIK eye surgery, people usually recover very quickly and can resume regular activities the next day. Almost every patient is very comfortable the morning following treatment, but for the first four hours, the eye is gritty, scratchy and quite watery until the surface of the LASIK flap heals.

Most of the vision improvement is overnight. The morning after LASIK, the vision has improved dramatically, and most people are back to driving, reading and using devices that day. They can resume light exercise within three days. We recommend avoiding swimming for two weeks and staying away from contact sports for one to three months, depending on the particular sport.

LASIK is an excellent procedure, but is there anything better than LASIK? The answer to that is “Yes, for the right patient – now there is”, and that procedure is called SmartSight, or Femtosecond lenticule extraction. The previous version of this treatment was called SMILE.

SmartSight has significant advantages for specific people, which we will discuss, and it is an excellent option for most people considering laser vision correction.

Before discussing those advantages, let’s talk about what SmartSight is and how it works.

SmartSight is the most advanced form of laser vision correction available on the market and is an improvement upon SMILE and its predecessor, LASIK. The best way to think about SmartSight is to think of it as keyhole LASIK.

Just like other laser vision-correcting treatments, we use a laser to reshape the cornea to correct the focus system of the eye and eliminate the prescription. Instead of creating a flap, the laser creates a very thin lens-shaped layer of corneal tissue, a lenticule, which we remove through a keyhole incision that is only 2 mm wide.

Compared to LASIK, where the incision length of 23mm, the SmartSight incision is less than 10%. That’s a big difference and translates into many benefits of SmartSight over LASIK.

What are the SmartSight benefits?

SmartSight has all of the benefits and advantages of LASIK – with the most important being a very rapid recovery of vision. It is also important to realise that the results from LASIK and SmartSight are virtually identical.

There are small groups of patients where LASIK is a superior treatment, and there are small groups where SmartSight is clearly superior in terms of the visual outcome, and I cover all of that in one of my other videos.

Because SmartSight is less invasive, because the incision is effectively a keyhole, the healing after SmartSight is even quicker than LASIK.

There is much less discomfort immediately following the treatment, and the 2 mm incision is much less irritating than the 23mm incision in the first few hours after treatment. The treatment process is more comfortable – there is just one laser involved versus two lasers required for LASIK, and I find it is a more straightforward treatment for patients to go through.

The next benefit is that while LASIK flaps heal very well, someone who has had LASIK will always have a LASIK flap… Now …this isn’t an issue for most people but for those who play contact sports or have an occupation or lifestyle that places them at higher risk of an eye injury, having a LASIK flap is a disadvantage.

Some examples would be people in emergency service, the military or those who play contact sports. For these people, SmartSight would be a better option. Because there is no LASIK flap and there are no issues related to a LASIK flap. Someone who has had SmartSight is at no greater risk of problems from an eye injury than someone whose eyes haven’t had any laser treatment at all.

Another significant benefit of SmartSight is that it is suitable for people who would never have been eligible for LASIK or possibly other forms of laser vision correction in the past. For example, those with corneas too thin or too biomechanically weak for LASIK or who have a prescription that is too high for LASIK or TransPRK.

In the past, we would have treated many of these people with TranksPRK, which has a prolonged recovery time as well as a lot of discomfort in the first few days after treatment. So the return to a great vision and everyday life after TransPRK is much slower than SmartSight. In the past, some people who were told they weren’t suitable for any form of laser vision correction can now go ahead because they are good candidates for SmartSight.

SmartSight has benefits when it comes to dry eyes. Because SmartSight affects the corneal nerves much less than LASIK or TransPRK, people generally experience a lot lower level of dry eye symptoms following treatment. Also, SmartSight is suitable for some patients with pre-existing dry eyes who would have been excluded from having laser vision correction in the past.

SmartSight is advanced technology compared to the previous generation of Lenticule Extraction or keyhole LASIK, called SMILE. The big breakthrough is that SmartSight can treat astigmatism much more accurately and treat a broader range of shortsightedness than SMILE. We expect to have the ability treatment of long-sightedness over the next year or so.

Not everyone with every prescription is suitable for LASIK or SmartSight. The best place to start to explore which treatment may be the best option to correct your vision is to take our online self-test to determine if LASIK or SmartSight is best suited to meet your optical needs.

A free laser vision assessment at VSON will give you the best indication of the treatment that’s right for you, so go ahead and book online to take the first step to explore your options to free yourself from glasses and contact lenses.

What are the LASIK Benefits?

LASIK eye surgery might be for you if you’re tired of your glasses, contact lenses, or both. Short-sightedness, long-sightedness and astigmatism are just a few conditions that can benefit from this procedure.

Until very recently, LASIK has been the most popular laser vision correction option for patients under the age of 45 years with any type of prescription. The main reason for the popularity of LASIK is because of the very high level of accuracy and rapid recovery.

During LASIK the surgeon makes a corneal flap. The surface layer of the flap heals within four hours.

This means that after LASIK eye surgery, the recovery is very quick and one can resume regular activities the next day.

Almost every patient is very comfortable the morning following treatment, but for the first four hours, the eye is gritty, scratchy and quite watery as the surface of the LASIK flap heals. The morning after LASIK, the vision has improved dramatically and most people are back to driving, reading and using devices that da.

They can resume light exercise within three days. We recommend avoiding swimming for two weeks and staying away from contact sports for one to three months depending of the particular sport.

About our LASIK and SmartSight Surgeon

Dr Matthew Russell and his staff can provide you with guidance based on your unique situation, your specific goals, and your comprehensive eye exam results.

We will determine the best vision correction option for you, whether it is SmartSight, LASIK, TransPRK, lens replacement, cataract surgery, or ICL implants.

As a Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists, Dr Matthew Russell has performed thousands of eye procedures.

He was the first eye surgeon in Australia to perform SmartSight and the first surgeon in Brisbane to perform laser-assisted refractive lens replacement and laser-assisted cataract surgery.

He has accomplished many other professional firsts in the eye care industry.

  • First use of extended depth of focus (EDOF) IOLs for cataract surgery in Brisbane.
  • First Enhanced Multifocal Lens Replacement surgery (combined EDOF & Multifocal IOL surgery).
  • First to use the following intraocular lens implants – J&J Symfony, J&J Synergy, Telereon Femtis IOL, and Acufous IC-8.
  • Introduce a small-aperture intraocular lens for post LASIK presbyopic correcting cataract surgery, enhancing the post-operative depth of focus (Acufocus IC-8TM).

To learn more about laser eye surgery, or if you have any questions, schedule a free call.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Dr. Matthew Russell

MBChB, FRANZCO

Laser eye and cataract surgery specialist

With over 15 years of experience, I enjoy the privilege of helping patients of all ages reclaim clear vision or preserve it for as long as possible.

Vision correction and high-precision cataract surgery hinge on the expertise and skill set of the provider who also has access to the most precise tools for the job. Ophthalmic surgeons like me know how to make treatment safe, comfortable and positive for the patient. They know how to minimise the risk of complications and maximise successful outcomes.

I understand that medical and surgical eye care is a serious undertaking. I take the time to address whatever questions and concerns you might have. I believe everyone’s eyes are unique and require a customised solution tailored to your needs and goals.

My combination of education, training and experience positions me to provide optimal results for patients of all ages. I have a passion for helping my patients enjoy the clear, high-definition vision they need to live rich and active lives. Now, I have hand-picked a team of professionals that share my passion and commitment to exceptional care.

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