Welcome to the innovative leader in SMILE…

Dr. Choi is the first and only surgeon in Alabama with this cutting-edge technology.

What Is SMILENext evolution

What is SMILE?

SMILE is an acronym for small incision lenticule extraction, a procedure that treats refractive errors. The goal is to provide a permanent solution for vision problems such as nearsightedness and astigmatism. Simply put, after a successful SMILE, sometimes called ReLEx SMILE, procedure, there is no longer a need for traditional eyeglasses or contact lenses. The surgery fixes the anomaly in the eyes that interferes with good vision. Dr. Choi is proud to offer this innovative option to his patients in Birmingham and beyond.

Is SMILE the same as LASIK?

They are both procedures designed to correct refractive errors by changing the shape of the cornea. The cornea is the clear globe that surrounds the eye and focuses light so it hits the lens just right. Both corrective surgeries reshape the cornea to improve that focus.

The difference is with LASIK the surgeon must cut a flap in the cornea to make this change. SMILE, however, is minimally invasive and requires just a small incision. Less cutting can mean better outcomes for patients with fewer potential complications. Dr. Choi offers both surgeries because, for some, LASIK is the better choice, while others are good candidates for SMILE, instead.

Is SMILE better than LASIK?

LASIK and SMILE complement each other.  Some patient will still be better served with LASIK, while others will do better with SMILE.  No question offering both surgeries provide our patients the very best in LVC.

How do I know if I'm a good candidate for SMILE?

It is up to the doctor to decide which surgery is the best option for each patient, but, typically, the best candidates for SMILE are:

  • Over the age of 22
  • Have had the same eye prescription for at least a year
  • Have healthy corneas
  • Fall within the right vision category for the procedure. For example, it works best on patients with minimal astigmatism.

The doctor may decide SMILE is not right for you if your vision is unstable and still changing.

Are there any risks with SMILE?

SMILE is a surgical procedure and that always means there are risks. Some potential complications include:

Halos around light, especially at night

  • Debris
  • Infection
  • Inflammation

In rare cases, SMILE may actually make vision worse.

What can I expect from SMILE?

Before the procedure, Dr. Choi and staff will talk to you about the outcome you can expect from SMILE. The procedure itself takes about 10 to 15 minutes and you remain awake during the surgery. You will need someone to come to the office with you to drive you home.

The doctor will numb the eye in order to make the necessary incision in the cornea. An eyelid holder combined with a suction ring helps keep the eye stable and prevent blinking, as well. A precision laser sculpts a small piece of the cornea called the lenticule – this is the piece removed to reshape the cornea.

You should rest quietly once you get home and not plan on returning to work or school. Your vision may be a little blurry after the surgery, but it will in improve over time. It usually takes just a few days. You can resume your normal activities the day after the procedure, though.

Why are other surgeon’s not offering SMILE?

A femtosecond laser is used to make a LASIK flap or a SMILE procedure.  However, only the Zeiss Visumax is accurate enough to perform SMILE.  It is the only FDA-approved femtosecond laser for SMILE.  But, other femtosecond lasers can still be used for LASIK.  This begs the question, why use a less accurate femtosecond laser for LASIK then?  We feel whether it is SMILE or LASIK, the very best femtosecond laser should be used.  Dr. Choi is currently the only surgeon who owns Zeiss Visumax in Alabama.

ReLEx /FLExanother name for SMILE

Are they different?
No.  ReLEx and FLEx are the same procedure.  SMILE is the most popular name.
Is any other surgeon performing ReLEx or FLEx?

Again, no.  Since ReLEx and FLEx are the same procedure as SMILE, Dr. Choi is the only surgeon performing it in Alabama, and only a handful in the entire Southeast region.

Real Results From Real People...

See our reviews
I kept weighing the price of the surgery with the cost of my contact lenses and thought I was saving money. When I finally had laser correction surgery done I could see things I had never even noticed before. Not only did my vision improve but my life improved as well.

My only regret is that I wish I had done it sooner, I think of all
of these things I may have missed over the years.
Cynthia San Francisco, CA