A SMILE Story – Patient Experience Q & A

Learn How SMILE Changed the Life and Vision of Margaux Askeland.

Dishler Laser Institute patient Margaux Askeland with her husband, Chad Askeland. Elephant Safari Park, Bali, Indonesia May 25, 2017, approximately 2 weeks after her SMILE laser vision procedure.


A SMILE can brighten anyone’s day, and laser vision correction with SMILE can brighten your entire life! Can you imagine a life with better vision, without the need for glasses or contacts? What would you do to make that clearer vision a reality?

For Margaux Askeland SMILE Laser Vision Correction has made that better vision a reality!

In her own words, here is her SMILE story:

“I have worn glasses/contacts since the 3rd grade (I’m now 32) and was just sick of it. My husband had always encouraged me to get corrective surgery but I was too nervous about it – I mean after all it’s my EYES!! And surgery on my eyes really terrified me.

I had been talking about that with a few of my co-workers and one of them had gotten LASIK, performed by Dr Dishler, and highly recommended him. I thought, what the heck, I’ll check it out. It’s time. That same day I called Dr. Dishler, and a few other LASIK providers, and only got the warm and fuzzies from Dishler Laser Institute. The others all seemed like a surgery factory – in and out, no personal touch.

I promptly booked a consultation at Dishler Laser Institute and within an hour of being there, I knew I was going to go through corrective eye surgery with this team of doctors. I wanted it done right away! They were so kind and knowledgeable. I talked to the doctors and told them that in a weeks’ time I’d actually be leaving the company for three weeks, sitting on an airplane for 17+ hours one way, but… could I get it done before then, could I fly?

That’s when they brought up SMILE.

It was a better fit for me, no flap, less chance of infection while traveling abroad and the country I was going too had been performing this procedure already for years.  I was initially cautious with it being a new procedure to the United States, but all the doctors and nurses answered all of my questions and more.  A few days later and I was in the operating room having the procedure and immediately after the procedure had improved vision. My vision was 20/20 but slightly “fuzzy” for a few days after the surgery. I was 20/16 on my 1 month check up and it has improved daily since then. I just had my 6 month checkup and now have 20/12 vision! I’ve never been happier and definitely do not miss putting on glasses or contacts!”


Please share with us why you chose the SMILE procedure, and why it appealed to you.


I researched all the corrective eye surgeries and knew people who had LASIK and PRK done. I knew if I could avoid PRK I would, due to the longer healing process and a more painful recovery. I was a little nervous about LASIK because the flap and its possible complications, and quite honestly I didn’t know much about SMILE until I left Dishler Laser Institute (DLI). I chose the SMILE procedure because it was a much better fit for my lifestyle, getting on an airplane days after the procedures was no problem, and the procedure was the least invasive to my eye. It was also less prone to “dry eyes” which… living in Colorado was already a problem for me. It was also the newest and best surgery to have, and I wanted the best procedure that was fit for my eyes.


Did you have any concerns with the SMILE vision correction procedure because it was new to the United States? 


I was a little hesitant at first, but the team at DLI really made me comfortable and shared the results of their own study and just how many procedures Dr. Dishler had already done. They also let me know other countries that this was approved in and had been performed for numerous years already. This was comforting to me know to know that Dr. Dishler knew the long term affects as the procedure was already being completed elsewhere.

Since I was going out of the country so soon after surgery I was hesitant, but this procedure was actually the best for me to travel so shortly after and the country I was visiting had been performing this surgery for a few years already so I knew if I had any issues, I’d be in good hands. After learning all of this, I wouldn’t have gone anywhere else but Dr. Dishler for this procedure.

He was very informative and patient with my questions and really reassured me this was the best option for me. Plus – he was the first surgeon to offer LASIK in Colorado and now doing the same for SMILE. He’s the best around and uses nothing but cutting-edge technology. It was very comforting to me that he was the Doctor that the FDA trial used to approve SMILE so I knew he was very knowledgeable and skilled on this procedure, even though it was ‘new’. He came very highly recommended, which to me, speaks volumes about his practice.


How was your vision experience and do you have any recommendations for those considering SMILE laser vision correction?


My entire experience, from consultation to recovery, was amazing. I was nervous and scared but knew I was in excellent care. The team was there for me throughout the entire procedure and one kind woman even held my hand during the actual surgery. I honestly didn’t feel a thing except a slight pressure when the Dr pulled out the lenticule. It was completely, 100% painless. I couldn’t believe it! And it was so short – I was in the operating room for maybe 15 minutes. My eye sight was immediately improved, just slightly fuzzy.  I was amazed and so excited to be done with glasses & contacts. There hasn’t been one day that I’ve experienced any eye pain or any discomfort. If you’re at all considering corrective eye surgery, check out SMILE and Dr. Dishler to see if you’re a candidate. I honestly couldn’t be happier; I only wish I could have done it sooner! It will literally change your life.


Tell us about your recovery? 


Recovery was a piece of cake. I laid down when I got home for a few hours and rested my eyes. I was back to driving two days after surgery and literally never, ever had any pain or discomfort and I am a baby (just ask my husband)! I followed the Doctors after care directions and took my drops when instructed and had no issues. I had my surgery on May 9th and got on a plane for 17 hours on May 13th. I had no issues on the plane or any other climates. My eyes were a little dry but that was easily relieved with lubricating eye drops.


How has surgery changed your life?


I love being free from glasses or contacts. No more itchy eyes from contacts and things stuck in my eyes and irritating them due to contacts. I no longer need to carry a travel sized bottle of contact solution or wonder where my glasses are when I wake up in the morning. I just wake up and have perfect vision. It’s amazing. I see better at night and can drive more comfortably. Traveling is so much easier and much more comfortable. I can swim with no worries I’m going to irritate my contacts or lose one. Sunglasses are always on and I don’t need to worry about sun protection when I had my glasses on vs contacts! Life is just better and easier without that worry. I never realized how much of a distraction and pain in the butt managing my glasses and contacts was until I didn’t need to do it again. Life Changing.


Would you do it again? 


In a heartbeat!

A HUGE Thank you to Dr. Dishler and his team of skilled individuals. It was an incredible, life changing day. Your staff is amazing and so caring and compassionate. Thank you for giving me back my vision.

Margaux Askeland -Aurora, CO.


Now, here’s the fun part – we want YOUR SMILE!

We’d love to educate you on the latest laser vision options and discuss your unique vision goals. Whether LASIK, SMILE or another vision correction option is best for you, we’re committed to helping you make a great decision for your life and vision goals.

Call or email us to set up your free laser vision correction consultation


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You Can Use Your Flex and HSA to Pay for LASIK

Did you know that according to healthcare.gov that laser eye surgery is listed as a permitted medical expense for Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and Health Savings Accounts (HSA)?

The fall season is a great time to be proactive and utilize unused FSA or HSA dollars for LASIK eye surgery before the current enrollment year ends or to plan ahead for the coming year. So, if you have been thinking about laser vision correction and have an FSA or HSA, how can you take advantage of your accounts?

Advice on Using Your FSA or HSA for LASIK

  • •Research flexible spending and health savings account FAQs. For example, FSA’s are limited to $2,600 per year and up to $3,400 for HSA’s.  Also, research the difference between eligible and ineligible expenses, and your personal medical needs you have for the next enrollment year.

                  Click  here to see a list of generally permitted medical and dental expenses.

  • •If you choose to have LASIK, you can use your FSA or HSA dollars to help pay for the procedure. BUT the entire cost of the procedure may not be covered by your FSA fund. This is not only due to the limit you can spend from your accounts but also using state-of- the-art advanced technologies may costs more.


  • •Discuss details of your FSA/HSA and any limitations with your Human Resources Department.  Flexible spending accounts are known for “Use it or lose it” as any left over money at the end of the year in the account cannot be carried over to the next year. Whereas, funds in HSAs are available without a time limit.


  • •Ask if your flexible spending account provides a “grace period,” of up to 2 1/2 extra months or if you are allowed to carry over up to $500 per year to use in the following year. An employer can offer one of these options but not both. Note that, an employer is not required to offer either one.


  • •Be proactive in scheduling a consultation with a LASIK eye surgeons prior to making your contributions. At Dishler laser Institute about 15- 20% of people who come to our clinic are not a good candidate. Therefore, you do not want to set dollars aside for this purpose. In this the case, you may want to lower your contributions into your FSA/HSA account.


Contact us or call 303-793-3000 for a FLEX Spending/HSA LASIK consultation. After we determine your candidacy, your employers benefits representative can provide you with the information needed to make your elections.


References: Healthcare.gov and IRS

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We Want Your SMILE

You have heard us talking about SMILE, but have you considered it for yourself?                                                              SMILE is the latest technology in laser vision correction. There are several reasons to consider this procedure if you are nearsighted or have blurry vision and would like to reduce or eliminate your use of glasses and contacts.

If you haven’t thought about it for yourself, contact your eye care professional to talk about the possibilities. We want you to understand your options, and we will work with you to determine the best outcome for your vision.

We want you to see your SMILE!

You won’t decide alone.

Your eye doctor will help you determine if SMILE might be a vision correction option for you to consider. Each patient gets a detailed eye examination with an optometrist or ophthalmologist to fully determine if he or she is a good SMILE candidate. Things like the nature and degree of the refractive error as well as curvature and thickness of the cornea will be deciding factors.

It’s gentle, with quick visual recovery time.

SMILE is a minimally invasive laser vision correction procedure, making it a desired option for many patients. Like LASIK, SMILE has minimal surgical risks – it’s a proven and consistent procedure for patients desiring to see better without glasses and contacts. Patients can often get back to many daily activities – like driving, showering, applying makeup and working – in just one day!

Call us or complete our contact us form today, and we will help you choose the laser vision correction option that is right for you.


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Dr. Dishler Talks About SMILE

The launch of our new SMILE laser vision correction program, at Dishler Laser Institute, has given us another way to help our patients see better and live more fully.

Dr. Dishler talks about the new SMILE laser vision procedure.

After 4 months of performing SMILE post-FDA approval, we’re more excited than ever to share the benefits of SMILE with the entire community. SMILE, LASIK, and PRK truly allow our practice to serve the most patients possible by offering a complete program of laser vision correction.

We talked to Dr. Jon G. Dishler about the SMILE procedure and the overall state of laser vision correction. Read on to hear all about SMILE, straight from the doctor!

Tell us about your history with this innovative one of a kind technology?

“I had the honor of being invited to Germany about 13 years ago to see the prototype of the laser now used for the SMILE procedure.  A few years later I was invited back to perform some of the very first of these procedures under a special medical license to allow me to operate in Germany.  Since that time, I have worked with Zeiss as a consultant to help to bring this technology to the world and more recently as the Medical Monitor of the pivotal USA clinical trial, to successfully get this procedure approved in the United States.  I continue to work with Zeiss on technology, patents, research, and clinical applications of SMILE and other laser technologies”.

Tell me about the past 4 months of SMILE procedures.   

“Because we were a clinical research site for both of the SMILE clinical trials in the USA, we had experience with the procedure for several years before commercial launch.  Even so, it is a unique experience to offer this option to patients and we had to decide how best to integrate it with our other refractive procedures such as LASIK and PRK”. 

What surprised you about the experience and the results of SMILE?  

My main concern was since this was a relatively new and in most cases unheard of procedure, I was not sure that even with the potential benefits that patients would be electing this option for their vision correction.  However, with the careful education of my staff, many were willing to embrace it in spite of these limitations”.

What did your patients think about the SMILE experience?

Most of the patients we have treated have been very happy with their experience at our office, having the procedure, and their post-operative comfort and visual result.  There have been a few patients who had a slight delay in their visual recovery, but they were told that they might expect this, and all very soon after had very clear vision.  The SMILE patients are a happy group”.

How do you see SMILE fitting into your laser vision correction program moving forward?                                          

“We at first tried to position SMILE as a premium procedure with a premium price and although I think it deserves this recognition due to many factors, we found that it was best to keep the pricing out of the decision-making process, and offer the patient whatever procedure was a best fit to their needs and desires.  Most who choose SMILE like the idea of not needing a flap and the potential issues associated with protecting their flap during the healing phase.  There is also an understanding that there are likely less dry eye issues with SMILE and possibly less structural weakening of the eye than with LASIK.  One limitation currently is that SMILE is currently only approved for patients without significant astigmatism, so it is not for everybody.  There is another SMILE study that is wrapping up and it is hoped that the correction will be extended to potential patients with astigmatism in about a year”.

You can find even more information about SMILE throughout our blog and our site,                                                     or jump right in and call us for your free SMILE consultation!

We’d love to walk you through LASIK, SMILE and the advances in laser vision correction                                                  that can make better vision a reality.

Posted in Denver LASIK, Dishler LASIK, New Options in Laser Vision Correction: SMILE, SMILE Laser Vision Correction, Zeiss ReLEx SMILE, ZEISS SMILE | Leave a comment

SMILE By The Numbers

SMILE by the numbers Interesting facts and statistics that show what makes                                                                   laser vision correction with SMILE great!

Clicking around our site, you’ve certainly read a lot about SMILE at this point. Dr. Dishler was involved with the development of this new SMILE procedure since 2012 and we’re excited to be the first  to perform SMILE in the entire USA post FDA approval!   If you’re ready to learn about how SMILE and LASIK can change your life, call or email us to set up your laser vision consultation.

Because SMILE is exciting and new, our patients and friends don’t yet know everything about how it works and its value. We want to share some of the main facts and statistics that reveal the great benefits and experience you can have with SMILE at our practice.

0 – Odor or noise produced during a SMILE procedure. Because SMILE is gentle, simple and minimally invasive, there are no noises and odors produced during the procedure. This is an incredibly comfortable procedure.

1 – Number of days before you can return to work after SMILE (and LASIK). After the day of the procedure, most patients are back to work the next morning. SMILE can fit into any busy lifestyle.

2-7 – Number of days for a full recovery after SMILE. Most patients experience better vision just a few hours after their SMILE, and are back at work the next day! Recovery after SMILE is quick and doesn’t affect your lifestyle.

30 – The average number of seconds the SMILE laser is active during a SMILE procedure. This amount of time varies a bit for each patient, but overall SMILE is a very quick and comfortable laser vision correction procedure.

1,000+ – Number of doctors around the world who are performing successful SMILE procedures. SMILE is a proven laser vision correction option that is rapidly growing around the world.

750,000+ – Number of successful SMILE procedures performed worldwide. Patients around the world are benefiting from the latest laser vision correction technology, and you can too!

SMILE is now an important part of any complete laser vision correction program. As of now, we are the first and only center in Colorado to offer SMILE, the latest option to correct nearsightedness. We’re proud to offer 3 corneal refractive procedures; LASIK, SMILE and PRK. We are thrilled by how SMILE is being accepted by our patients and   helping  them see more clearly.

To see if LASIK, SMILE or PRK are right for you, call us to set up a free consultation or ask questions

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The SMILE procedure – Explain it to me!


Like LASIK, SMILE can be explained and understood in a simple four-step process.

You’ve heard of LASIK. Perhaps by now you’ve heard of SMILE as well. But how, exactly, does SMILE work? To help you understand SMILE, how it compares to LASIK and what makes it special, we’re sharing with you these four simple steps of the SMILE procedure. Let us know if you have questions or if you’re ready to stop in for your free consultation!

  1. SMILE Step 1 – Your eye is measured and tested to ensure total precision and accuracy.

  2. SMILE Step 2 – A precise laser is used to trim a small contact lens-shaped layer just under the surface of the cornea.

    SMILE Step 3 – A tiny laser opening is made on the surface of the eye near the edge of the cornea.

    SMILE Step 4 -The small layer, which is about the size of a contact lens, is removed through the tiny opening.










That’s it! That’s how we SMILE! This simple procedure reshapes the cornea of your eye to allow it to focus images more clearly on your retina, creating better vision without glasses or contacts.

LASIK and SMILE have similarly positive visual outcomes, and both have been proven around the world to create better, freer vision. To find out which one is right for you, schedule a consultation with one of our doctors.

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10 Reasons to SMILE- A gentler laser vision correction is here.


10 Reasons to SMILE

The latest advancement in laser vision correction, SMILE, has many great benefits. Our practice has helped thousands of patients see better through laser vision correction procedures such as LASIK.


Now we’re thrilled to offer the latest innovation in laser vision correction, called SMILE. As the first in North America to perform SMILE in 2012, and the first to perform the procedure post FDA approval, Dr. Jon Dishler is the most experienced surgeon for SMILE procedure in the United States.


Together with LASIK, SMILE provides a powerful technology to help you see better without glasses and contacts. To help you get to know SMILE, we’d like to share 10 reasons you should consider SMILE to improve your vision.

  1. 1. SMILE can correct your vision. SMILE gives you corrected vision without the hassle of glasses or contacts.


  1. 2. SMILE has been successfully performed around the globe for many years. SMILE was developed by ZEISS, a company known for 170 years of optical innovation. More than 750,000 SMILES have been performed worldwide.


  1. 3. SMILE is gentle and minimally invasive. SMILE is a highly precise procedure. A tiny laser opening and lack of corneal cutting creates little disturbance to the eye, helping you recover quickly with predictable visual outcomes.


  1. 4. SMILE is a simple and fast procedure. During a SMILE procedure, the latest in laser technology is used to gently create a thin, contact lens-shaped layer just beneath the surface of the eye, which is removed through a small opening. In this way, SMILE reshapes the surface of your eye and sharpens your vision, correcting the refractive error. SMILE is a gentle and highly precise procedure lasting only a few minutes, with the laser only active for about 30 seconds on average. Read all about the SMILE procedure on our information page.


  1. 5. Rapid visual recovery after your SMILE. While visual recovery is ever so slightly behind that of LASIK, people often return to most of their daily activities the day after their SMILE procedure. Full visual recovery is comparable to that of LASIK1.


  1. 6. SMILE promotes eye strength and stability. Potential for flap dislocation or detachment isn’t a factor with SMILE because the procedure is minimally invasive.


  1. 7. Surgical results are consistent and predictable with SMILE. The visual outcome is highly predictable. More than 750,000 SMILEs have been performed worldwide, and the results have been amazing!


  1. 8. SMILE is a procedure with minimal risk. Cases of dry eye, disturbed nerves and infection as a result of laser vision correction are very low with SMILE2.


  1. 9. SMILE is a noiseless, odorless procedure. SMILE is minimally invasive and is one of the gentler, more comfortable forms of laser vision correction.


  1. 10. The SMILE procedure offers quick healing time. Patients are able to resume most normal daily activities within 24 hours, including driving, showering, applying makeup and going to work.


  1. These 10 reasons to SMILE are just the start!
  2. Call us today to find out if SMILE is the laser vision correction option that’s best for you.


  1. 1. Clinical study, data on file. 2. Dry eye disease after refractive surgery: comparative outcomes of small incision lenticule extraction versus LASIK. Ophthalmology 2015 Apr, Denoyer A, Landman E, Trinh L, Faure JF, Auclin F, Baudouin C.
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Are you a SMILE candidate?

As the latest technology in laser vision correction, SMILE is a comfortable procedure, but how do you know if it’s right for you?

  • Do you have blurry vision or are you nearsighted?
  • Do glasses or contact lenses inconvenience your daily life?
  • Do you often experience dry eye symptoms?
  • Are your eyes intolerant of contact lenses?
  • Do you play contact sports or work on a flight crew, as rescue personnel, or in the military?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, SMILE might be the best laser vision correction option for you.

As part of any laser vision correction program, each patient has to go through a detailed eye examination with an eye doctor to fully determine their suitability for both SMILE and LASIK. Factors your eye doctor will take into consideration include the nature and degree of the refractive error and the curvature and thickness of the cornea.

SMILE is a gentle, minimally invasive procedure. It is also odorless and noiseless, making it an attractive option for patients seeking laser vision correction. Overall, it tends to be a very comfortable and convenient experience. Patients are able to resume most normal daily activities within a day, including driving, showering, applying makeup and going to work.

Call us today to discuss the best laser vision correction option for you!

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SMILE, LASIK and glasses – Comparing the total costs

Consider the yearly and long-term costs of your glasses and contacts when thinking about investing in laser vision correction. In today’s blog post, we’re going to be discussing cost, value and investment as it relates to your vision correction and care options. This is a very important topic as you consider your options and plan for caring for your vision.

First, let’s acknowledge an important fact. Laser vision correction options such as LASIK and SMILE are not inexpensive, especially if you’re investing in quality technology, experienced surgeons and a proven laser program. Your eyes are precious, and laser vision                                                                                             correction is not the best place to shop based only on cost!

So how does the cost of laser vision correction compare to glasses and contacts?

Let’s start with contact lenses. If you wear disposable contacts and replace them every two weeks (which is the most common replacement schedule recommended by eye doctors), you’ll pay about $250 a year 5 Weeks Prior for lenses and another $150 a year on contact lens solution. This adds up to about $400 a year to wear your contact lenses.

Now, let’s consider the cost of eyeglasses, which is a bit more tricky to average due to the wide variety of frames, lenses and brands to choose from. According to Vision Service Plan, the national cost average for a pair of prescription glasses is $196, with costs ranging from $20 to well over $800 for designer frames and premium lens technologies.

Now consider these costs over a more than 10-year period. For regular contact lens wearers, this equates to more than $4,000 in lens and solution purchases. For glasses wearers, depending on the number of glasses and sunglasses pairs you purchase, it also equates to thousands of dollars.

Finally, be sure to understand the pricing options available at your preferred LASIK or SMILE practice. Across the United States, the cost of laser vision correction ranges from $495 to $4,000 per eye. Some practices advertise a very low price for laser vision correction, only to give you a much higher price because of your prescription after you come in for a consultation. Other practices offer a flat fee for your laser vision correction, which will include any and all technologies that will be needed to give you better vision. Be sure you discuss costs in detail with your eye practice and know your exact costs.

In truth, no matter what you choose for your vision correction – LASIK, SMILE, glasses or contacts – caring for your vision can be expensive! All these treatments are an investment in your vision and your quality of life over many years. Instead of considering only the immediate cost of each option, be sure to invest in a long-term plan that matches your lifestyle.

What do you think? Does considering the cost of glasses, contacts and laser vision correction over 10 or more years change the way you think about the cost? If you have questions about the cost or value of SMILE and LASIK, please call or email us and we’ll be happy to discuss your options.

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LASIK and SMILE: The future is brighter with new laser vision correction technology options

You deserve choices for your vision. As laser vision technology continues to expand, we at Dishler Laser Institute continue to be the regional leader in bringing these options to you.

Whether LASIK or SMILE is the laser vision correction best suited for you, your vision for the future can be sharpened.

As you know, LASIK has been helping patients for more than 25 years to see more clearly without glasses. Today we want to tell you about the newest laser vision correction technology coming to our practice – SMILE! Together with LASIK, SMILE provides us with a complete set of laser vision correction tools to help many patients find better vision and less dependence on glasses or contacts.

Understanding how both LASIK and SMILE work will help you understand your vision procedure options. LASIK was developed in the early 1990s and is the most utilized form of laser vision correction today.

During the LASIK procedure, a laser is used to make a small flap across the cornea. The flap is folded back, and a second laser is used to reshape the cornea, which allows the eye to focus clearly. The flap is then folded back into its original position.

After LASIK, it takes very little time for the flap to heal, and side effects include slight risk of infection and dry eye symptoms. Visual recovery takes place immediately. Healing and stability of the flap takes four to seven days.

Check out our LASIK education page to learn more about all the ways LASIK can help you see more clearly.

SMILE is the first major innovation in laser vision correction since LASIK.  The procedure is minimally invasive, noiseless and odorless.

During a SMILE procedure, a thin, contact lens-shaped layer just beneath the surface of the eye is removed through a small opening. Due to removing this layer, the cornea is gently reshaped and the patient’s vision is sharpened, correcting the refractive error.

SMILE is a gentle and highly precise procedure lasting only a few minutes total, with the laser only active for about 30 seconds. There is little disturbance to the eye because of the small laser opening size.

Cases of dry eye, severed nerves and infection as a result of laser vision correction are very low with SMILE [1] . Overall it tends to be a very comfortable and convenient experience for patients. Patients are able to resume most normal daily activities within a few days, including driving, showering, applying makeup and going to work.

The visual outcome is highly predictable. More than 750,000 SMILE procedures have been performed worldwide[2] , and results have been consistent.

For more information about which options are right for you, fill out our online form.

[1] Dry eye disease after refractive surgery: comparative outcomes of small incision lenticule extraction versus LASIK. Ophthalmology 2015 Apr, Denoyer A, Landman E, Trinh L, Faure JF, Auclin F, Baudouin
[2] As of April 2017

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