ReLEx® SMILE laser eye surgery is a cutting-edge procedure for the correction of myopia (nearsightedness) and astigmatism. The one-step, one-laser procedure is often an excellent option for patients who don’t qualify for LASIK or PRK due to insufficient corneal tissue, dry eye syndrome, or severe nearsightedness.

Gaster Eye Center is proud to offer the cutting-edge SMILE procedure as an alternative to LASIK. Board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. Ronald Gaster performs SMILE eye surgery in Beverly Hills and Orange County, CA.

Schedule an appointment for a consultation to see if SMILE is right for you.

What is SMILE?

SMILE is an acronym that stands for “SMall Incision Lenticule Extraction.” The minimally invasive procedure corrects nearsightedness and astigmatism by using a laser to create a lenticule, a disc-shaped, micro-thin piece of corneal tissue, which is then removed from the eye. Removal of the lenticule reshapes the cornea and corrects your vision. The procedure is designed to be simple, fast, and comfortable — most SMILE patients are back to their normal routine the next day.

Is SMILE better than LASIK?

While there are several distinct differences between SMILE and LASIK, one procedure is not inherently “better” than the other — they both have their intrinsic benefits. SMILE, for example, requires a small incision on the cornea and the creation of the lenticule, rather than the corneal flap that is created during LASIK. Some doctors feel that, since SMILE involves less manipulation of corneal tissue, there is an opportunity to achieve a better visual outcome with less risk of complications.

Click to expand images.

SMILE creates a more gentle, comfortable, experience for the patient while allowing them to resume many activities such as driving, full-contact sports, and wearing eye makeup within days vs. weeks. In certain instances, patients may have a reduced risk of experiencing dry eye syndrome after their procedure, a common (and most often temporary) complication of LASIK. Again, however, whether or not one procedure is “better” than the other depends on the individual needs of the patient. Dr. Gaster will recommend the procedure intended to reach optimal visual outcomes.

Again, however, whether or not one procedure is “better” than the other depends on the individual needs of the patient.

How long does SMILE surgery take?

The whole procedure takes about 15-30 minutes for both eyes. However, the laser portion only takes about 25 seconds! The healing process is also quick. Most patients have visual acuity a day or two after their procedure and are able to return to everyday activities such as driving, working, and even playing some sports.

Watch The SMILE Procedure


Is SMILE surgery painful?

SMILE is designed to be as comfortable as possible. During the actual procedure, the patient’s eye is numbed with anesthetic drops. While there could be some discomfort after surgery, most patients feel great immediately after SMILE has been performed!

Am I a candidate for SMILE?

SMILE is used to correct nearsightedness, astigmatism, or a combination of the two, and is an option for those who may not be a candidate for LASIK. There are many factors that play into whether or not a patient is a candidate for SMILE, such as the degree and nature of the refractive error and the curvature and thickness of the cornea.

In order to know for sure if you’re a candidate, you will have to undergo a detailed eye exam with Dr. Gaster so that he can determine if laser correction is right for you, and which treatment would be the most beneficial.

What should I expect going into a SMILE procedure?

Before and the day of the procedure, Dr. Gaster will advise you to stop wearing contact lenses for a period of time. He will advise you not to wear make-up, perfumes, or facial lotions on the day of surgery as these can leave debris around the eyes and may increase the risk of infection. You will also be asked to have alternative transportation after the procedure, and possibly a few days following.

During the procedure, Dr. Gaster will numb your eyes with anesthetic eye drops. An eyelid holder will be used to stop the eye from blinking, and he will guide you step-by-step during your procedure, which lasts for a matter of minutes.

SMILE Laser Eye Surgery, Beverly Hills, CA

Gaster Eye Center, founded by Ronald N. Gaster, MD, FACS, performs ReLEx SMILE surgery in Beverly Hills and Orange County, CA. In addition to his expertise in laser vision correction, Dr. Gaster also treats eye conditions such as keratoconus and Fuchs’ dystrophy, cataracts, pterygia, dry eyes, and eye trauma. Contact us to schedule your next appointment today!