Expectations vs. Reality: Debunking SMILE/LASIK Myths

Being squeamish about eye surgery is completely understandable, with the idea of eye procedures causing anxiety for many. This hesitance is further fueled by widespread myths about refractive surgeries like LASIK and SMILE, which, in reality, is very safe and routinely performed. Some naturally have an aversion to seeing the doctor while others have sought testimonials online and found stories that have given them pause. However, if you’re contemplating SMILE laser eye surgery, it’s important to dispel these myths and understand the facts so that you can start seeing better. Both LASIK and SMILE have a rich history of clinical success and are some of the safest procedures on the market. In fact, millions of people have had SMILE or LASIK with excellent results. We want to tackle some of the biggest SMILE and LASIK myths so that you can start seeing better and enjoying life to the fullest.

Insurance and Payment

A primary concern that many people have about SMILE and LASIK is the costs associated with the procedure. While rare, some health insurance plans are covering LASIK and SMILE. To get exact details, you will have to contact your insurance provider to see what your options and coverages are. However, even outside of traditional health insurance, many companies are offering FSA plans which can be used to pay for your LASIK or SMILE procedure. Patients of Laser Eye Institute may also apply for financing, which can help bring the dream of perfect vision within reach. The reality for most people who want laser vision correction is that it can certainly be feasible with the right preparation. 

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Complications and Outcomes

The myths suggesting LASIK and SMILE surgeries are dangerous and prone to complications are largely debunked by extensive clinical research and technological advancements. LASIK boasts a success rate exceeding 96% (these numbers are even higher with more reputable doctors like Dr. Dan Haddad at the Laser Eye Institute), with serious complications in less than 1% of cases, thanks to wavefront-guided technologies and femtosecond lasers enhancing precision and safety. SMILE, being minimally invasive and not requiring a large corneal flap, offers a quick recovery and a low complication rate, ideal for patients with higher myopia or those concerned about dry eyes. Both procedures involve thorough pre-surgical evaluations to ensure patient suitability, significantly minimizing risks. Despite public perception, the overwhelming body of clinical evidence supports the safety and efficacy of LASIK and SMILE surgeries, making them reliable options for suitable candidates seeking refractive error correction.

Recovery Time

The misconception that SMILE and LASIK surgeries entail prolonged recovery periods is debunked by modern clinical practices, which show both procedures allow for swift recuperation. LASIK patients often experience immediate vision improvement, with most returning to their daily activities within a week. This procedure does have some temporary restrictions such as cosmetic makeup use, activity restrictions, and more. SMILE, on the other hand, requires much less downtime and patients can normally resume all daily activities the same day or the very next day, depending on Dr. Haddad’s recommendations. SMILE is also associated with fewer dry eye symptoms due to less corneal nerve disruption. These advancements highlight the efficiency, safety, and quick recovery associated with today’s refractive surgeries, dispelling the myth of extended downtime.

Questions about procedure recovery time?

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Fear of Surgery/Doctors

Many people suffer from the fear of surgery and doctors. While this is understandable to a certain extent, there are two important things to consider. First, LASIK and SMILE are both elective procedures that improve the quality of life and don’t deal with life threatening conditions. Second, the primary job of a doctor is to heal and improve quality of life so being afraid of doctors doesn’t make sense on a logical level. 

Another thing to consider if fear of surgery is preventing you from getting LASIK or SMILE is that both procedures are extremely minimally invasive. Neither hurt and neither require any sort of sedation or general anesthesia, though both procedures will use a local anesthetic to prevent pain or discomfort. We won’t lie and tell you that it feels like a shiatsu eyeball massage. However, the 5 minutes of minimal discomfort per eye can lead to several years of acute vision; a tradeoff that we regard as very worthwhile. The key to overcoming this sort of fear is by logically analyzing the situation which Dr. Haddad can help with. The patient care team at Laser Eye Institute is also ready night and day to accompany you through any doubts that you might have regarding SMILE or LASIK.

Final Thoughts

As we navigate through the misconceptions surrounding SMILE and LASIK, it’s clear that the advancements in refractive surgery have not only made these procedures more accessible but also safer and more effective than ever before. If you’ve been hesitant to explore the possibility of achieving clearer vision due to fears, doubts, or concerns about cost and recovery, the time to schedule your consultation is now. If you’re considering LASIK or SMILE, set up your free consultation with Dr. Haddad today. Thousands of patients across Michigan have made the decision to improve their eyesight and have never looked back. Not ready to commit to a consultation just yet? Take this quick quiz to find out if LASIK, PRK or SMILE is right for you.

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David Lemieux, BA from Oakland University is a LASIK expert and marketing professional that has worked with Dr. Dan Haddad and the Laser Eye Institute since 2017. David believes in education and cutting through the noise to deliver facts and opinions about LASIK, SMILE, and all things Laser Vision Correction.