Not necessarily. There will always be a place for LASIK and PRK, because not everyone will be suitable for SMILE. Furthermore, the current version of SMILE has some drawbacks compared to LASIK, specifically.
All three procedures achieve the same fantastic results, SMILE is just less invasive. This has some long term benefits because your cornea will be stronger as we don’t need to create a flap or remove any layers of your cornea, as is the case with LASIK and PRK.
On the flip side, there are some drawbacks:
- SMILE laser eye surgery visual recovery time (1 week) doesn’t compare well to LASIK (1 day)
- SMILE does not currently correct hyperopia (long-sightedness)
- SMILE might produce slightly higher aberrations and therefore potentially night vision that isn’t as good
- The currently available ZEISS Visumax version of SMILE can’t currently correct astigmatism with the same degree of precision as LASIK
With the ZEISS Visumax laser, we can’t centre treatment as precisely as we can with LASIK – iris tracking with LASIK, not SMILE because
- the laser doesn’t offer pupil tracking
- the laser doesn’t offer cyclotorsion control (you have to “dock and treat”)
- we cannot adjust for eye movements or decentration of the treatment during the time of surgery – that means treatment of astigmatism will not be as accurate as we can achieve with LASIK
The next generation of SMILE laser eye surgery will enable us to:
- alter treatment centration at the time of surgery
- give us more precise control for us to align for the astigmatism correction of the eye
- use a wider treatment zone which may mean that patients might end up getting a better quality of night vision (especially for those who have larger pupils