Common Questions About Laser Eye Surgery: LASIK, PRK, and SMILE Procedures

Laser eye surgery has become a popular choice for individuals looking to improve their vision without the need for glasses or contact lenses. If you’re considering laser eye surgery, you may have some questions about the different procedures available. In this post, we’ll answer some of the most common questions about LASIK, PRK, and SMILE procedures.

What are LASIK, PRK, and SMILE?

LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis), PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy), and SMILE (Small Incision Lenticule Extraction) are all different types of laser eye surgery procedures used to correct refractive errors, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. LASIK and PRK are the most commonly performed procedures, while SMILE is a newer procedure that is gaining popularity.

Am I a good candidate for LASIK, PRK, or SMILE?

The ideal candidate for LASIK, PRK, or SMILE is someone who is over 18 years old, has a stable prescription for at least one year, and has good overall eye health. You should not have any underlying eye conditions, such as glaucoma or cataracts, and you should not be pregnant or nursing. The suitability of each procedure will depend on the specific characteristics of your eyes and vision, which will be assessed during a consultation with your eye surgeon.

What happens during each procedure?

During LASIK, a flap is created on the cornea, which is then lifted to allow the laser to reshape the cornea. The flap is then put back in place, and the cornea will naturally heal.

PRK is similar to LASIK, but instead of creating a flap, the surface layer of the cornea is removed to allow the laser to reshape the cornea. The surface layer will regenerate over time.

SMILE is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a femtosecond laser to create a small incision in the cornea, which is then used to extract a lenticule (a small piece of tissue) from the cornea to reshape it.

Is LASIK, PRK, or SMILE painful?

Most patients report feeling no pain during LASIK or SMILE procedures. With PRK, patients may experience some discomfort and sensitivity to light for a few days, as the surface layer of cells on the cornea is removed.

What are the risks and side effects of LASIK, PRK, or SMILE?

Like any surgical procedure, LASIK, PRK, and SMILE carry some risks. These risks include dry eyes, glare, halos, double vision, and vision loss. However, these risks are rare, and most patients experience no serious side effects. Your surgeon will discuss the risks and benefits of each procedure with you before the surgery.

How long does it take to recover from LASIK, PRK, or SMILE?

Most patients are able to return to their normal activities, including work and driving, within a few days after LASIK or SMILE procedures. With PRK, it may take a few weeks for your vision to fully stabilize, and you may be advised to avoid certain activities, such as swimming or contact sports, for a few weeks.


LASIK, PRK, and SMILE are effective ways to correct refractive errors and improve your vision without the need for glasses or contact lenses. If you’re considering laser eye surgery, it’s important to speak with an experienced surgeon and ask any questions you may have. With proper screening and care, these procedures can be safe and effective ways to improve your vision and quality of life.

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