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SMILE Vision Correction

What is SMILE?

SMILE: The Latest All-Laser Procedure for Correction of Nearsightedness

The acronym “SMILE” stands for Small Incision Lenticule Extraction. More than 600,000 SMILE procedures have been performed in more than 60 countries throughout Europe, Asia, Russia and South America, and now the SMILE procedure has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treatment of spherical myopia (nearsightedness).

Dr. Rex Hamilton, Director of the UCLA Laser Refractive Center, was the first surgeon to perform the SMILE procedure on the West Coast. Click here for a link to a news story on the first SMILE cases performed in the U.S.

The SMILE procedure uses the VisuMax femtosecond laser, which is the same laser Dr. Hamilton uses at the UCLA Laser Refractive Center to create flaps for the very popular LASIK procedure.

The SMILE Procedure: How it Works

During the SMILE procedure, anesthetic drops are used to numb the eye. Dr. Hamilton carefully positions the VisuMax femtosecond laser to treat the eye. The laser uses tiny laser pulses, applied at an astounding 500,000 pulses per second, to define a lens shaped piece of material (called a “lenticule”) in the center of the cornea (window on the front of the eye). These pulses form bubbles less than 1/100th the width of a human hair. The shape of the lenticule is precisely determined and customized to the patient’s nearsighted correction. The laser then creates a tiny connecting tunnel through which the surgeon removes the lenticule from the cornea. By removing the lenticule, the shape of the cornea changes and corrects the nearsightedness. No flap is required with SMILE and the procedure is completed using only the VisuMax laser.

At the UCLA Laser Refractive Center, the SMILE technique is just one of 4 amazing refractive surgery procedures offered by Dr. Rex Hamilton for vision correction. The SMILE technique builds on the incredibly successful LASIK and PRK laser procedures that have been the mainstay of cornea refractive surgery at the UCLA Laser Refractive Center for more than 20 years. In addition to these 3 procedures performed on the cornea, the Visian ICL intraocular lens implant procedure offers a solution to patient with extreme nearsightedness. Following a comprehensive diagnostic examination, Dr. Hamilton will determine which procedure is best for your particular situation, lifestyle, and visual needs. Click here to understand some of the differences between the 3 laser techniques (PRK, LASIK and SMILE) and what to expect post-operatively from each procedure. Click here to hear Dr. Hamilton describe some aspects of the SMILE procedure and to hear from a patient about her SMILE experience.

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Laser Vision Correction Center

LASIK is the single most popular refractive procedure today for correcting refractive errors.

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A cataract is a clouding of the crystalline lens of the eye. Surgery,  is the only way to treat cataracts.

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If you are seeking Los Angeles eye care experts, the eye doctors at the Stein Eye Institute at UCLA are happy to provide expert diagnosis.

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Patient Financing

At UCLA Laser Refractive Center, our goal is to make LASIK affordable. As a service to our patients, we are pleased to offer financing programs, flex spending, or credit card payments. The UCLA Laser Refractive Center requires payment in full at the time services are rendered. We accept cash, check, VISA, MasterCard, Discover or American Express as payment for these elective procedures that are not traditionally covered by insurance plans.


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