How long does it take for vision to stabilise after ReLEx® SMILE®?Eye & LASIK
It has been one week since I had ReLEx® SMILE® in both eyes. My vision seems to fluctuate a little bit. Can I expect further improvements, and how long does it take for vision to stabilise after ReLEx® SMILE®?
Immediately after any kind of refractive surgery, whether PRK, LASIK, or SMILE (or ICL), vision is usually misty on the first day.
A lot of that mistiness goes away after the first day for LASIK, SMILE, (and ICL) surgeries. However, it is quite common for a little bit of residual mistiness especially in the first week, and this may show up as some difficulty in seeing very fine detail.
If all else is OK, this bit of mistiness or fluctuating vision comes down to factors such as eye dryness as well as the presence of an 'interface' or 'junction' between a 'cap' and underlying cornea (in SMILE) or a 'flap' and underlying cornea (LASIK).
The mistiness stays longest of all for PRK/epiLASIK/TransPRK patients since there is a need to wait for the surface cells to heal fully.
If it has only been a week or two since your SMILE surgery, in general you can expect further improvements. There is some variation in the recovery time, and it is possible to see improvements or some fluctuation in vision in the first month after surgery.
Do remember to check with your doctor if vision seems unusually blurred or if there are new symptoms of eye discomfort/pain/redness at any time.
Take heart that most patients will achieve relatively good vision by 1 week after ReLEx SMILE. Keep in mind that as with LASIK and PRK, ReLEx SMILE patients may experience fluctuating vision in the initial post-operative period. They often transition through a period of dry eye for several week to months. This state of dryness tends to improve gradually.
Meanwhile, be sure to be generous with your artificial tears usually provided after the surgery. Certainly if the vision is not to the level of what you expect, do ask your surgeon for his opinion as he should be monitoring your situation following surgery for signs of dryness and inflammation, both of which tend to settle with time and adequate post-operative medication.
Dr David Chan
Vision recovery after Relex Smile varies in general between one day to several weeks.
Surgical technique, laser parameters, and patient factors all may contribute to the variable length of recovery. Do remember that Smile IS surgery and the living corneal tissue do get slightly inflamed after the treatment. Dry eyes can contribute to the visual fluctuation too. So make sure you use the post-operative eye drops diligently and try to rest your eyes more after Smile.
If vision still does not recover after more than 1-2 months, there may be moderately severe dry eyes or residual power and you should then clarify with your surgeon.
All the best! Cheerio!
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