SMILE vs LASIK: What's Right For Me? | Cathedral Eye Clinic

Continued advancements in laser technology have allowed patients to avail of more refractive eye treatments than ever before. Indeed, the cutting-edge facilities at Cathedral Eye Clinic offer a range of treatments, with LASIK and SMILE coming as two of the most popular forms of laser eye surgery. Popular though they may be – which one is the right choice for you?

SMILE vs LASIK: What’s Right For Me?

Smile vs Lasik - Cathedral Eye Clinic


SMILE vs Lasik: what’s right for you? Whether you are deemed as a suitable candidate for Lasik or SMILE surgery will be determined in Cathedral Eye Clinic’s meticulous pre-assessment examination. This process involves a close examination by an ophthalmologic surgeon, who will use a highly advanced 11-dimension eye scanner to assess the state of your eye, diagnosing any prescriptions along the way. But what are the differences between Lasik laser eye surgery and SMILE laser eye surgery?

  • Lasik: An acronym for ‘laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis’, Lasik is one of the most popular forms of laser eye surgery in the world. Lasik laser eye surgery boasts an impressive success rate, with the Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery reflecting a 96% satisfaction rate. Lasik is primarily used to address eye conditions such as short-sightedness (myopia), long-sightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism. Normally taking between 10 and 20 minutes for both eyes, this procedure reshapes the cornea, allowing for clearer vision. Using a microkeratome and a femtosecond laser, a small incision is made in the cornea, allowing for a reshaping under local anaesthetic (normally administered using eye drops). The recovery period for Lasik laser eye surgery is brief, normally requiring only a few days.
  • SMILE: An acronym for ‘small incision lenticule extraction’, SMILE is one of the most advanced examples of laser technology in the world (Cathedral Eye Clinic is the only facility in Ireland to offer this treatment). Celebrated as a logical evolution of femtosecond lasers, SMILE laser eye surgery can correct a range of eyesight conditions without the creation of a corneal flap, as required in Lasik surgery. This is thanks, in part, to the technology’s combination of LASIK and Advanced Surface Ablation (ASA) technologies. With SMILE laser eye surgery, the epithelium (a superficial layer of skin covering the cornea) remains undisturbed, allowing for the most painless and brief recovery period offered by any form of refractive surgery. SMILE is primarily employed to combat conditions such as myopia, hyperopia, thin corneas and dry eye syndrome.

These treatment options vary in price, and Cathedral Eye Clinic believe that everyone deserves to see their world clearly. That’s why our prices are clear and unambiguous, with payment plans to suit all budgets.


SMILE vs Lasik: What are the Benefits?

As previously mentioned, both Lasik and SMILE come as two of the most popular forms of laser eye surgery at Cathedral Eye Clinic. However, each of these treatments’ benefits on the eye depend on the eyes of the individual concerned – this will be determined during our rigorous pre-assessment examination. Lasik and SMILE surgery generally offer the following benefits:

  • Lasik: As one of the most established forms of refractive laser surgery, Lasik is ‘tried and tested’ – over 96% of Lasik recipients report perfect results following their procedure. Furthermore, the administration of anaesthetic eye drops and mild sedatives mean that Lasik is a largely painless process. This is supported by the surgery’s brief and effortless recovery time, requiring no stitches or bandages. Overall, the vast majority of Lasik patients will no longer require corrective contact lenses or prescription glasses.
  • SMILE: The benefits of this surgical treatment are numerous. SMILE offers enhanced corneal stability, due to the tiny incision made during the procedure. The procedure leads to less dry eye symptoms – a benefit again linked to the tiny corneal incision made during the operation. This treatment path is also the least invasive route to perfect vision – the procedure takes only ten minutes per eye, with the lasering element of the operation taking only 25 seconds. Results of this treatment can be enjoyed within hours, with an unrivalled recovery period. Notably, Cathedral Eye Clinic is the only facility in Ireland to offer this treatment.


What are the Risks?

Both Lasik and SMILE laser surgery boast impressively high patient satisfaction rates, with the vast majority of recipients reporting perfect vision results following their procedure. However, like all procedures, Lasik and SMILE carry certain risks which you should be aware of. These risks include:

  • Lasik: Risk of LASIK laser eye surgery include dry eye syndrome (this normally passes following the healing process), visual disturbances (these may include double vision, halos and glares), undercorrections and overcorrections, astigmatism and corneal flap complications. These risks are highly uncommon, with many being treatable with further surgery.
  • SMILE: The likelihood of developing complications from SMILE laser eye surgery is remarkably small. Risks include visual disturbances (these may include double vision, halos and glares), inflammation and discomfort, vision loss and the potential need for further surgery.

Our dedicated, experienced surgeons and Patient Care Team are on hand to answer any queries or concerns that you may have regarding the risks of the respective procedures.


Bring your world into focus. To hear more about our treatments, our free suitability assessments or to book a consultation, get in touch with Cathedral Eye Clinic today.