Purpose of review: Small-incision lenticule extraction (SMILE) is a novel technique devised to correct refractive errors. SMILE circumvents excimer laser photoablation of cornea, as the stromal lenticule cut by femtosecond laser is removed manually. Smaller incisions and preservation of anterior corneal biomechanical strength have been suggested as some of the advantages of SMILE over femtosecond laser-assisted LASIK (FS-LASIK). In this review, we compared previous published results of SMILE and FS-LASIK. The advantage, efficacy and safety of SMILE are compared with FS-LASIK. Recent findings: SMILE achieved similar efficacy, predictability and safety as FS-LASIK. Greater preservations of corneal biomechanical strength and corneal nerves were observed in SMILE when compared with LASIK or PRK. Additionally, the incidence of postoperative dry eye syndrome was found to be less problematic in SMILE than in FS-LASIK. Summary: SMILE is a promising new surgery for refractive error correction. Prospective and retrospective studies of SMILE have shown that results of SMILE are similar to FS-LASIK. With advances in femtosecond laser technology, SMILE may gain greater acceptance in the future.
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