SMILE Eye Surgery For Vision Correction

The ReLEx SMILE Eye Surgery Explained

Imagine a corrective eye procedure that takes just 10 minutes to perform and hours to heal. Well, that’s exactly what ReLEx (Refractive Lenticule Extraction) SMILE (Small Incision Lenticule Extraction) aims to provide. Not only is SMILE a quick eye corrective procedure to perform, but its quick recovery time allows you to get back to enjoying the activities you love sooner. Achieve better vision with the help of our well-trained ophthalmologists in Ohio – no matter your vision issue, the Clear Choice team is here to help you to learn if SMILE Eye Surgery is right for you.

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See The Full SMILE Experience!

Watch through the eyes of one of our patients from before, during, and after the SMILE procedure! Hear the real questions, see the real emotions, and experience all that happens with SMILE at Clear Choice LASIK as our patient undergoes the procedure with one of the most experienced SMILE surgeons in the nation. You can also check out another awesome patient story HERE about two sisters who got smile with us!


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What Is SMILE Laser Eye Surgery & How Does it Differ From LASIK?

ReLEx SMILE is one of the latest innovations in vision correction. It produces results similar to what you’ve heard LASIK surgery can do but is less invasive. Not every LASIK center can provide SMILE as an option for their patients.  Clear Choice Lasik is one of the premier vision correction centers that can.

The Benefits of SMILE Eye Surgery

Quick & Minimally Invasivesmile eye surgery

During the procedure, each eye takes roughly 10-15 minutes. Our doctors use state-of-the-art laser technology and expert care to provide safety and comfort throughout the entire process.

Dedicated Ophthalmologists

We’re committed to patient satisfaction and delivering a high standard of medical care and technology—at an affordable price. Clear Choice has been a leader in the area for advanced vision correction procedures and our doctors have treated thousands of patients in Cleveland, Ohio for over 20  years.

A Life Without Limits

Accomplish excellent vision with SMILE. With this procedure, you’ll become less reliant on glasses or contacts and see amazing results in just days, or even hours! Whether you enjoy an active lifestyle or simply want to correct your vision issues, this may be the procedure for you.

Wondering if SMILE Eye Surgery is Right For You?

Want to know if SMILE is the right vision treatment for you? Schedule your free SMILE consultation. Our doctors can help you understand your condition and walk you through the treatment process. Get all of your pressing questions answered with our expert team. 

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What To Expect During SMILE Eye Surgery

Preparing For Surgery

Every step of the procedure is designed to keep you comfortable. To accomplish this, your eye will be anesthetized with eye drops. Then, your surgeon will gently position a lid speculum to prevent you from accidentally blinking. 

During the Surgery

Once your eyes are prepped, the entire treatment process is done with one laser. The procedure takes roughly 10-15 minutes for each eye, using a Zeiss VisuMax Femtosecond Laser. 

Recovery Time

Most patients report a comfortable recovery from ReLEx SMILE eye surgery within days. After a post-operative check, your surgeon will clear you to go. A quick nap should make your vision navigational but hazy. In terms of getting back to your normal activities, most patients need about three full recovery days. 

“A year ago when I made the decision that LASIK (SMILE in my case) was for me I never believed I’d be where I am today. A year later I no longer struggle to see what is right in front of me or worry about if I have a new pair of contacts to put in or where I placed my glasses. Instead, I wake up and start my day with 20/11 vision (something I’m making up because I can now read 80% of the 20/10 letters). Clear Choice made this all possible and every time I go in for a check-up it’s a pleasant experience.

Everyone there seems to love their jobs and if that isn’t enough there are always fresh cookies :). So if anything is holding you back from making the decision to get LASIK or SMILE stop procrastinating and go visit Clear Choice you’ll be glad you did.”

-Garrett Gill

How does the SMILE procedure work?

Want to see a more technical breakdown SMILE? Our informative video goes through the details of how it’s performed and what you can expect from SMILE:

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Some patients are not candidates for LASIK because of thin corneas, high prescriptions, dry eye, etc. Traditionally, the Clear Choice surgeons have used PRK/ASA for these eyes, which is a great procedure, but it takes longer to heal. SMILE is a good alternative allowing for the safety profile that PRK provides for certain eyes, but with quick healing like LASIK.

Your eye is anesthetized with eye drops and a lid speculum is gently positioned to prevent you from accidentally blinking. The whole treatment process is then undertaken using the Zeiss Femtosecond Laser as a single step. The treatment usually takes between 10 and 15 minutes. The actual laser is in operation for only a tiny fraction of this time, and after a quick post-operative check by your surgeon, you are free to go. The recovery from ReLEx is generally quite comfortable (like LASIK) and the visual recovery is reasonably quick. You should have hazy, but navigational, vision after a nap. Most patients will need three days of recovery before driving and using a computer. Visual recovery with ReLEx SMILE is generally a little slower than LASIK, but quicker than with PRK or LASEK.

Dr. Wiley, Dr. Bafna, and Dr. Jee are part of an elite group of surgeons in Cleveland, OH who offer the SMILE procedure to their patients. We are now accepting SMILE vision correction consultations for in-state and out-of-state patients. Schedule a consultation below, or read further for frequently asked questions.

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Learn How To Participate In This Study


While SMILE is a newer procedure, by no means is it rare. Millions of people around the world have had SMILE performed on their eyes. Clear Choice and our doctors are proud to be part of an organization that is in the top three SMILE providers in the United States in terms of surgeries performed. Below is a chart showing how many SMILE procedures have been performed worldwide.

Zeis SMILE does over 8 million procedures through 2023

*en-INT_34_065_0062II CZ-XII/2022 The contents may differ from the current status of approval of the product or service offering in your country. Please contact our regional representatives for more information. Subject to changes in design and scope of delivery and as a result of ongoing technical development. SMILE is either a trademark or registered trademark of Carl Zeiss Meditec AG or other companies of the ZEISS Group in Germany and / or other countries. © Carl Zeiss Meditec AG, 2022. All rights reserved.

The Clear Choice Custom LASIK Center Surgeons are the First in Ohio to Perform the ZEISS SMILE Procedure using the ZEISS VISUMAX 800 femtosecond Laser


VISUMAX 800 StandaloneThe ZEISS SMILE  procedure is only performed at select, premier laser eye surgery centers across the United States.  SMILE is the most advanced 3rd generation laser vision correction. Unlike LASIK, ZEISS SMILE is performed without ablation and without a flap. SMILE is a single-step procedure that can be used in the United States to correct nearsightedness with or without astigmatism.  There have been more than 8 million ZESS SMILE procedures worldwide. 

How is ZEISS SMILE different from LASIK?

ZEISS SMILE corrects a patient’s refractive error through the removal of the lenticule from the cornea.  A lenticule is a thin contact lens-shaped layer of tissue just beneath the surface of the eye.  While LASIK is a two step- two laser procedure, SMILE is a one laser one step procedure.  Additionally, with SMILE, the 3.5mm incision made on the cornea is 80% smaller than the flap made during LASIK. This leaves a stronger cornea after surgery with a lesser occurrence of ongoing dry eye as a result of the procedure.


The Visumax 800 is faster than the Visumax 500

The Visumax 800 has a faster laser pulse frequency of 2MHz, and creates a lenticule in less than 10 seconds and flaps in about 5 seconds. The 2MHz time is 4-fold faster than the previous 500 model which pulsed at a frequency of 500 kHz. The shorter aspiration time during laser treatment relieves patients and provides more safety. The Visumax 800 is approved in the US for surgically treating nearsightedness, with or without astigmatism.  

Why is speed important?

The VISUMAX 500 operates at 500kHz.  Using the VISUMAX 500, lenticule creation takes just under 30 seconds.  With the new VISUMAX 800, lenticules are created in less than 10 seconds. 

The reduction in lenticule creation time using the ZEISS VISUMAX 800 is important because movement of the patient’s head, eye and eyelids during the step can cause a loss of suction that results in the interruption of the procedure.  Suction is used during the procedure to hold the eye steady and in the correct position during the creation of the lenticule.  If suction is lost, sometimes the process can be restarted.  Sometimes the surgeon will need to abort the procedure, and offer an alternative laser vision correction strategy. 

The Clear Choice Surgeons take pride in offering patients the most advanced technology.  Clear Choice is one of the first five centers in the United States to acquire the VISUMAX 800, and Clear Choice is recognized as the most experienced ZEISS SMILE surgery center in the state.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Who should consider SMILE?

SMILE is for patients 18 years or older who have moderate to high levels of near-sightedness and astigmatism. 

How long does the SMILE procedure take?

Expect the procedure to take about 10-15 minutes per eye.

Is SMILE painful?

Most patients report experiencing little to no pain during the SMILE procedure. You may experience some discomfort during the SMILE procedure, usually light pressure on your eyes, but it is minimal. Overall, SMILE is not considered painful.

What are the benefits to SMILE?

SMILE vision correction is performed using the Zeiss VisuMax Femtosecond laser, one of the most precise lasers on the market. This procedure is a huge advancement in vision treatment because of its minimal invasiveness and use of a single laser. With SMILE, since there isn’t a flap, patients are at less risk for flap-related injuries.

What is the incision size difference between SMILE and LASIK?

For ReLEx SMILE, our doctors use highly advanced femtosecond technology. The laser’s precise incision is less than 4 mm. A circular disc of tissue is then removed from the cornea through the small incision. In comparison, LASIK has an incision size of ~20 mm.

What are the risks or complications of SMILE?

As with any vision treatment, there are possible complications with the SMILE procedure, although they are rarely reported. Risks include epithelial abrasions, small tears at the incision site, and loss of the eye’s suction during the laser’s use. These risks are minimal and do not prohibit vision benefits from taking effect.

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