HomeBlogReLEx SMILE Surgery in Malaysia – Is It For You?
ReLEx SMILE Surgery in Malaysia – Is It For You?
What Is ReLEx SMILE Eye Surgery?
Most of us in Malaysia is probably familiar with the term LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis). But, have you heard of the newer laser eye treatment for vision correction called ReLEx SMILE?
ReLEx SMILE surgery or more commonly known as SMILE is a type of laser vision correction procedure. SMILE is the abbreviation for Small Incision Lenticule Extraction. Just as the name suggests, it’s a minimally invasive procedure to correct astigmatism and short-sightedness. It is approved by FDA and proven to be safe.
SMILE will make an incision that is up to 80% SMALLER than that of LASIK! Because of this flapless eye surgery, there is no risk of flap complications.
One example of flap complication is microscopic wrinkles. It happens when the flap fails to adhere properly to the surface of the eye. This could cause the light to be spread out instead of focused on the retina. As a result, the vision will be distorted. Being a flap-free eye surgery, SMILE can avoid this problem.
During the SMILE procedure, a 2-4 mm incision will be made. From there, the ophthalmologist or eye doctor will draw out the tissue. The cornea will then flatten, allowing the light to be refracted onto the retina. Thus, creating a clearer vision.
This state-of-the-art laser eye surgery operation was pioneered by Carl Zeiss Meditec. It basically revolutionizes the vision correction procedure into a keyhole surgery.
Who Is Suitable for ReLEx SMILE?
People with short-sightedness
ReLEx SMILE operation is used to treat people’s eyes with short-sightedness or also known as myopia. Myopia is a condition in which the eye is slightly longer than usual.
As a result, this mismatch of the length of the eye ball and the focusing of the lens cause the light to converge just in front of the retina. Consequently, the distant objects appear blurry whereas close objects appear sharper.
ReLEx SMILE eye surgery corrects the short-sightedness allowing clearer vision without the use of spectacles or contact lenses.
People with dry eyes
This eye surgery may be the solution to those who are told not suitable for LASIK. One of the reasons why someone may not be suitable for LASIK is that they have dry eyes.
It is well known that LASIK patients will experience dry eyes as well as sensitive eyes after their surgery. To understand the reason why let’s get a little bit into the characteristics of the cornea.
The surface of the cornea is a very sensitive part. It has a lot of nerve endings that allow us to be aware of any injury or problem to our eye. The nerve endings that exist in the cornea are also responsible to send signals to the tear gland for the production of tear that lubricates the eyes.
The creation of a flap during the LASIK procedure severs these nerve fibers. As a result, this causes more disturbance to the signaling of tear production. Hence, the dry eyes.
ReLEx SMILE, being a flapless laser eye surgery does not involve a huge incision compared to that of LASIK. The cut is also slightly deeper and does no harm the surface of the cornea that much. Hence, theoretically lesser nerves are damaged, allowing the tear production to function normally. The time take for the nerve endings to grow back also is significantly faster than that of LASIK.
People with high eye prescriptions
For laser vision correction to work well with high eye prescriptions, a significant removal of the corneal tissue is needed. This is considerably not safe if someone has thin cornea.
SMILE performs better than LASIK because the flapless procedure causes less distortion to the surface of the cornea. Ultimately, this reduces risk of spherical aberration of the eye.
Spherical aberration is a condition where the lens is unable to bring light to the same focus point on the retina. And so, will cause defects in visual image that we see.
People of Age Between 22 and 40 Years Old
The eye prescription of a person is constantly changing up until their 20s. Once their age is within 22 and 40, their prescription stabilizes, making them suitable candidates.
Once a person reaches age 40, their eye prescription changes again. In most common situations, the adults of this age will start to need reading glasses. This condition is called presbyopia. It’s a normal and also an annoying part of aging.
There are also other conditions that could affect if you are the right candidate for SMILE technique eye surgery. Eye conditions like glaucoma or cataracts are some of them. Don’t hesitate to make an appointment today to get a suitability test for your eyes!
The SMILE eye surgery is designed to be simple and fast. Before going for that, there are preparations that needs to be done and may take some time. This is to ensure that the eye specialists understand your eye health as well as the conditions that may affect the surgery.
Do kindly note that this section is not a detailed description of our clinical process in Sunway Eye Centre but a general idea of your ReLEx SMILE journey.
Before you go through the stage of SMILE technique eye surgery in the operating theatre, our eye doctor or ophthalmologist will be conducting a consultation with you. From here, you can discuss on everything that concerns you – expectation of the eye surgery, healing times, how the procedure is like, precautions after the surgery and more.
Then, the optometrists will do all the necessary eye examination in the checklist before you proceed to the next stage.
Your vision will need to be tested to make sure the prescription has not changed. From there we will also measure your degree of myopia and determine if SMILE is able to correct your vision.
Further examination will be carried out to check if your eyes have any other problems that may affect the surgery such as high fluid pressure which may indicate a condition called glaucoma.
Details such as thickness of the cornea and pupil size will also be measured. Another important detail to take is the mapping of the surface of your cornea. The information here will be needed so that the laser machine can make the incision precisely.
There’s a lot of details and precision that goes with the combination of both the skills of the eye doctor as well as the equipment used that makes the surgery successful. Here’s a general flow on what is going to happen during the ReLEx SMILE operation.
Before the start of anything, your eyes will be given eye drops that will numb them. These eye drops have anesthetic properties that blocks the eye nerves from sending pain signals to the brain.
Eyelid holder will be used to prevent your eyes from blinking. The eye drop earlier will also help your eyes to relax and reduce your natural urge to blink.
The laser machine that is programmed with measurements specific to your eyes will make a small incision of less than 4mm on the surface of your cornea.
This small incision will allow your eye doctor to draw out some tissue from the cornea. This will reshape the cornea which in turn changes the way light bends into the eye. As a result, the refractive error is corrected.
The entire SMILE technique eye surgery can take up to 15 minutes.
There are several important things to take note after the surgery:
Do NOT drive. Get your family or friends to drive you right after the surgery. Some blurriness is normal after surgery and it could last for a few hours.
Do NOT rub your eyes.
Do take the eye drop medicine as prescribed by our eye specialists.
Avoid looking into screens such as your phone, TV, computer or tablet. Let your eyes rest.
Do NOT wear makeup for at least a week.
Do NOT go for swimming to reduce risk of eye infection.
Avoid soap from getting into your eyes when you shower.
Your vision may appear to be blurry after the surgery. But, worry not, your vision will gradually heal over the span of days or weeks. It generally takes 3 days of recovery time after SMILE surgery for patients to be fit for work. However, certain activities might need to be restrained until a certain period of time.
Benefits of ReLEx SMILE
No flap complications
LASIK requires the creation of a flap on the outer surface of the cornea. Since, ReLEX SMILE surgery does not involve doing that, it can avoid all the flap-related risks that LASIK has.
Some flap complications include off-center flaps, epithelial cells growing into the cornea and flap tears. Should LASIK be the option for you, worry not. There’s low chance for these complications to happen if the patient follows both the pre-operation and post-operation care instructions.
Has lesser risk of dry eyes
Patients that have dry eyes or exposed to conditions that induce dry eyes may like ReLEX SMILE better. The eye operation allows the corneal epithelium and membrane to remain almost completely intact during the procedure. This allows the regulation of the tear film to be preserved. Therefore, reduces the risk of dry eyes after the surgery.
This is proving to be a better option for professions such as pilots and aircrew who are always exposed to dry conditions in the flight.
ReLEX SMILE surgery is a quick and pleasant procedure
The SMILE procedure does not involve pain during or after the surgery. There’s no bleeding in the procedure itself. The operation is noiseless and odorless. There’s also no excessive increase to the intraocular pressure during treatment and hence less discomfort to the patient.
The laser treatment procedure takes about 24 seconds. This is excluding the pre-op preparation and post-surgery briefing. Inclusive of all will take approximately 30 minutes.
Interested in ReLEx SMILE? Make an appointment with us today!
Sunway Eye Centre is located in Bandar Sunway, Selangor, Malaysia. We are a division of Sunway Healthcare’s multi-disciplinary hospitals. Our team is highly skilled, qualified and experienced to ensure that you get the best quality care for your eyes.
Don’t forget to follow our Sunway Eye Centre page on Facebook so you don’t miss a single ReLEx SMILE promotion that we may have!
Check out what our patients have to say about their experience with us in our post about ReLEx SMILE review!