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SMILE is a high-performance and minimally-invasive laser vision correction procedure that provides the same great results as traditional LASIK, but with added benefits—this is not your parents’ LASIK! Our eye doctors offer SMILE LASIK in the Chicago area, including Elmhurst, Lincolnwood, Naperville, South Barrington, IL.


SMILE LASIK is a laser vision eye surgery designed to correct refractive errors, including myopia (nearsightedness), with or without astigmatism. SMILE, which stands for Small Incision Lenticule Extraction, has many similarities to traditional LASIK eye surgery—with some added benefits.

SMILE LASIK is not your parents’ LASIK. SMILE is the most advanced laser vision correction to deliver better vision with a lower risk of side effects. A key difference is that SMILE does not require the creation of a corneal flap. Patients who have SMILE LASIK report an even higher post-op satisfaction rate than patients who have traditional LASIK. 1
lasik smile graphic

SMILE LASIK Technology

Our SMILE LASIK surgeons use the ZEISS VisuMax® Femtosecond Laser, the first and only laser FDA approved for SMILE LASIK vision correction. With SMILE LASIK, a lenticule is created inside the intact cornea. The side cut through which the lenticule is removed is between less than 4 mm and up to 6 mm in length, reflecting an approximately 80% smaller incision in the cornea than with a traditional LASIK flap.

Benefits of SMILE LASIK

Minimally Invasive
SMILE LASIK is a bladeless and flapless procedure. Your surgeon will only need to make a small, precise opening to correct your vision.

Quick and Proven
More than 5 million SMILE procedures have been performed worldwide and SMILE LASIK only takes a few minutes to complete from start to finish.

Rapid Visual Recovery
Vision recovers quickly after SMILE LASIK. Most SMILE patients return to normal activities the following day.

Eye Comfort
You may experience minimal to no discomfort during and after the procedure. SMILE LASIK offers a potentially lower incidence of transient dry eye syndrome.

Freedom from Lenses

SMILE LASIK is designed to reduce or eliminate your need for glasses and contact lenses so you can enjoy life with more freedom.

SMILE Laser Eye Surgery: What to Expect

Preparing for SMILE LASIK

The journey toward better vision starts with a consultation appointment at one of our Chicagoland offices. Our team will review your medical history and discuss your goals in order to determine if you are a candidate for SMILE. If you and your eye doctor decide that SMILE is right for you after your eye exam, then we will give you detailed pre-op instructions.

Your SMILE Procedure

SMILE LASIK is an outpatient procedure. Your eyes will be numbed with anesthetic eye drops and our team will make sure you are comfortable. The actual surgery takes just a few minutes.

Your surgeon will use a laser to reshape the cornea by creating a lenticule, which is a thin, contact lens-shaped layer just beneath the surface of the eye. They will then create a small opening in the cornea through which the layer is removed.

Recovery After SMILE Eye Surgery

SMILE patients are usually able to resume day-to-day activities the day after surgery, and since there is no flap, patients can wear makeup, exercise and go swimming typically within one week of the procedure. It can take a few days to achieve optimal vision. In general, patients report a comfortable recovery with less scratchiness, burning or itching than with LASIK. We will schedule a follow-up appointment to monitor your healing and results.

Frequently Asked Questions About SMILE

Who is a good candidate for SMILE vision correction surgery?

You may be a candidate for SMILE even if you have been told that you are not a LASIK candidate. Ideal candidates for SMILE LASIK are:2

  • 22 or older
  • Have myopia (nearsightedness) up to -8.00 diopters
  • Have a stable prescription and healthy eyes

SMILE LASIK is not right for people who are pregnant or nursing or those with eye diseases such as glaucoma or keratoconus.

How Does SMILE Compare to Standard LASIK?

Traditional LASIK and SMILE LASIK both use lasers to reshape the cornea and improve vision, but SMILE uses a smaller incision with no need for a corneal flap. When compared to traditional LASIK, studies show that SMILE LASIK has a lower chance of complications such as corneal nerve damage.3 Many experts believe that SMILE LASIK will soon become the gold standard in vision correction of refractive errors.4

What are the risks of SMILE LASIK surgery?

Any surgical procedure involves some risk of complications or side effects. SMILE LASIK complications, which are rare and are typically easy to treat, include infection, inflammation, glare and/or haloes, and under- or over correction of vision.5 Rest assured that we always prioritize patient safety and satisfaction at Kovach Eye Institute.

Contact Us

We are dedicated to improving vision and providing a patient-first eye care experience. Contact us with any questions about SMILE or other vision correction options.
1 Chiam NPY, Mehta JS. Comparing Patient-Reported Outcomes of Laser In Situ Keratomileusis and Small-Incision Lenticule Extraction: A Review. Asia Pac J Ophthalmol (Phila). 2019 Sep-Oct;8(5):377-384.
2 U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Summary of safety and effectiveness from the SMILE FDA trial. Available: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/cdrh_docs/pdf15/P150040B.pdf. Accessed November 30, 2022
3 Moshirfar M, Bruner CD, Skanchy DF, Shah T. Hyperopic small-incision lenticule extraction. Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 2019 Jul;30(4):229-235
4 Sekundo W, Kunert K, Russmann C, Gille A, Bissmann W, Stobrawa G, Sticker M, Bischoff M, Blum M. First efficacy and safety study of femtosecond lenticule extraction for the correction of myopia: six-month results. J Cataract Refract Surg. 2008 Sep;34(9):1513-20.
5 American Academy of Ophthalmology. What Is Small Incision Lenticule Extraction? Available: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/treatments/what-is-small-incision-lenticule-extraction Accessed November 30, 2022.

630-833-9621 locations request an appointment patient registration LASIK Special