What is SMILE Laser Eye Surgery? | Cathedral Eye Clinic |

What is SMILE Laser Eye Surgery?

Cathedral Eye Clinic is proud to be the first facility in Ireland to offer Visumax’s revolutionary SMILE laser eye surgery to its patients. The cutting-edge technology offers ultra-precise vision surgery, with minimal recovery time – meaning that amateur athletes, professional athletes and everyone in-between can safely return to their passion as soon as possible.

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What is SMILE Laser Eye Surgery?

SMILE Laser Eye Surgery comes as one of the most advanced examples of laser eye technology used in the world today. Short for ‘small incision lenticule extraction’, SMILE laser eye surgery has been recognised as a natural technological evolution of femtosecond lasers. Despite the fact that SMILE surgery is a relatively recent development in the UK, the technology boasts a remarkable record of success around the world. Carried out using only one laser, SMILE surgery can correct a range of eyesight impairments, removing the patient’s need to wear prescription glasses or corrective lenses. 

Unlike Lasik and other eye surgical procedures, SMILE surgery allows effective vision correction without the creation of a corneal flap. This means that there is no need for an incision using tools. This also means that the superficial layer of skin layering the cornea (also known as epithelium) remains largely undisturbed, leading to a painless and remarkably brief recovery period. 

The innovative technology allows for the speedy treatments of conditions such as myopia (also known as ‘short-sightedness’), hyperopia (also known as ‘long-sightedness’) and thinned corneas, as well as dry eye syndrome. Meanwhile, the eye’s corneal nerves are largely preserved, reducing the chances of a patient developing postoperative dry eye syndrome. 


SMILE Laser Eye Surgery Benefits

SMILE Laser Eye Surgery’s highly advanced nature offers a number of benefits to any patients seeking vision correction. The benefits of SMILE Laser Eye Surgery include:

  • Enhanced corneal stability: The tiny incision made by SMILE allows greater biomechanical stability compared to that allowed by Lasik surgery (this is due to the absence of a corneal flap in the procedure). The major benefit to the patient here is the ability to return to sporting activities early.
  • Less dry eye symptoms: Many laser eye treatment procedures can lead to the development of dry eye syndrome, both on a temporary and permanent basis. This is a benefit again linked to the absence of a corneal flap in the procedure and therefore a much-reduced impact upon the delicate corneal nerves which as well as making the cornea exquisitely sensitive also are involved in the healthy production of tears
  • No more surgery: With SMILE laser eye surgery, in our results to date we have found the refraction after surgery to be less prone to regression, meaning less likelihood of requiring postoperative further laser enhancement. At Cathedral we continue to monitor this going forward to ensure we develop long-term data for our patients so that we can truly advise any patient of the long-term refraction stability of SMILE surgery compared to either LASIK or PRK.
  • More comfort: From start to finish, SMILE Laser Eye Surgery takes roughly ten minutes per eye, with the lasering element of the procedure completed in only 25 seconds. This is all delivered in a secure, hygienic, comfortable facility. 
  • Less invasive: SMILE laser surgery offers a less-invasive route to vision correction than any other treatment option available in the world today. During your procedure, a surgeon will make a 3mm key-hole incision in your cornea. This is remarkably small compared to PRK (8mm) or Lasik (20mm). 


Associated Risks

Like all surgical procedures, SMILE carries a risk of complications which may affect your vision. Whilst the likelihood of developing complications is remarkably small, those risks include:

  • Visual disturbances: In isolated cases, visual disturbances may occur after undergoing SMILE Laser Eye Surgery. These may include seeing halos (bright rings which centre around light sources), glare (glows of light emanating from light sources) and others. Whilst uncommon, these side effects will normally subside after a few weeks.
  • Inflammation and discomfort: Poor aftercare may increase the likelihood of  discomfort and inflammation in the eye. Thus the importance of carefully following the regimen of postoperative drops for at least the first week. 
  • Further surgery: In a small number of cases, patients who have undergone SMILE Laser Eye Surgery may require further refractive treatment to address any complications which may have arisen following the procedure such as under or overcorrection. 

The majority of complications which may arise from SMILE Laser Eye Surgery can be treated without the risk of vision loss. However, rare complications include:

  • Loss of best-corrected vision: In an isolated number of cases, patients may have worse vision than before SMILE (this may be the case regardless of whether or not the patient is wearing prescription glasses or corrective contact lenses). 
  • Blindness: is not something which can occur from SMILE surgery- however, there is a remote chance of a severe infection causing sufficient damage and scarring to the cornea to require further invasive corneal surgery.

Infection of the cornea post laser surgery is a very rare complication and can occur with either PRK, LASIK of SMILE – it is most likely with PRK due to the large defect in the covering of epithelium post-laser which takes several days to heal. This type of complication is, however, exceedingly rare in western Europe or the USA. 


How Much Does it Cost?

At Cathedral Eye Clinic, we recognise that opting for laser eye surgery represents a major life decision – both in regards to your health, your lifestyle and your finances. That’s why we concentrate on ensuring and evaluating all aspects of treatment to constantly ensure that we deliver the highest level of safety standards and efficacy to our patients. 

We are also passionate about making prices clear and unambiguous to our patients. Fortunately, our dedicated patient care team are on-hand to assist you in arriving at the best decision.

In order to ensure that all patients can access the treatment they require, our payment plans offer: 

  • Interest-free finance for 12 months.
  • 9.9% APR for up to five years.
  • Treatment from less than £1 per day.

Our rigorous and meticulous pre-operative assessment will identify if SMILE Laser Eye Surgery is the right treatment for you. If you are deemed unsuitable for this treatment, our team can assist you in finding an alternative path to clear vision.


Bring your world into focus. To hear more about SMILE Laser Eye Surgery and the range of treatments available to patients at our facility, book a consultation with Cathedral Eye Clinic today on (028) 90 322020.

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