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Tired of the hassle of glasses and contact lenses? Thanks to continual developments in eye surgery, correcting vision problems is simpler than ever. Even better, new procedures are generally quick, painless and low-risk.
In this guide, we examine the differences between three popular vision-correction procedures: SMILE, LASIK and PRK.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. SMILE (Small Incision Lenticule Extraction)

SMILE is a relatively new vision-correction procedure. Developed by Professor Walter Sekundo in Germany in the early 2000s, SMILE gained popularity in the mid-2010s, and Auckland Eye started offering the procedure in 2015.

Why choose SMILE? 
SMILE is a state-of-the-art laser vision-correction procedure designed with your comfort in mind. Unlike traditional LASIK, SMILE is minimally invasive and bladeless. The procedure involves creating a small incision in your cornea, extracting a section of the lens, and then reshaping your cornea to correct your vision.

Here’s what you can expect: 

  • Quick procedure: just 15-20 minutes from start to finish
  • Rapid recovery: SMILE offers a faster recovery compared to PRK.
  • Minimal discomfort: during and after the procedure
  • Enhanced safety: SMILE’s bladeless approach reduces the risk of complications.

2. LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis)

LASIK was invented in the early 1980s, with the first successful procedure performed by Dr Gholam A. Peyman in 1985. In New Zealand, LASIK was introduced in the mid-1990s. Since then, it has become a well-known and widely practised procedure, helping thousands regain their vision and reduce their reliance on glasses or contacts.

Why choose LASIK? 
During LASIK, a protective flap is created on the cornea’s surface using a tiny blade, and the underlying tissue is reshaped using a laser. The flap is then repositioned. In most cases, the corneal flap will heal without stitches.

Here’s what you can expect: 

  • Swift results: rapid visual improvement, often within hours
  • Minimal discomfort: most patients experience little discomfort during or after the procedure.
  • Wide applicability: suitable for a broad range of vision problems

3. PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy)

PRK was an important milestone in vision correction. It was developed by Dr Theo Seiler and Dr Tobias Koller in Germany, with the first procedure performed in 1987. As one of the earliest forms of laser vision-correction surgery, it provided an alternative to traditional glasses and contact lenses for patients seeking clearer vision. And ever since, PRK has continued to be a viable option for those who may not be suitable candidates for LASIK or SMILE procedures.

Why choose PRK? 
PRK is an excellent choice for patients with thin corneas or who aren’t ideal candidates for LASIK or SMILE for other reasons. During PRK, the cornea’s outer layer is gently removed, and the underlying corneal tissue is reshaped using a laser.

Here’s what you can expect: 

  • Versatility: suitable for patients with thin or irregular corneas
  • No flap: with no need for a corneal flap, the risk of complications is lower.
  • High impact: if your career or lifestyle involves high-impact activities, PRK may be a safer choice.

The best treatment for you

Our experienced eye specialists will conduct a comprehensive assessment to determine the most suitable procedure for your lifestyle, eye structure and vision issues. The good news? With so many cutting-edge procedures on offer, there’s a pathway to clearer vision for almost everyone.

Ready to take the first step towards clear vision? Schedule a FREE laser consultation with Auckland Eye today.  

Tuesday, 19 Dec 2023

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