SMILE Laser Eye Surgery

ReLEx® SMILE - Advanced State-Of-The-Art Laser Eye Surgery

What Is SMILE?

The Most Significant Advance in Laser Eye Surgery Technology in Over 10 Years

SMILE is a one-step, one laser procedure that is less invasive than LASIK.

The SMILE Procedure

SMILE stands for Small Incision Lenticule Extraction and is the most recently FDA-approved laser vision correction procedure. SMILE is considered the most significant advance in laser eye surgery technology in over 10 years

LaserVue is proud to be the first laser vision correction center in Northern California to offer the Zeiss VisuMax laser for SMILE Laser Vision Correction. The SMILE procedure is the most cutting-edge laser eye surgery for the correction of nearsightedness and astigmatism providing LASIK-like outcomes in a less invasive surgery.

SMILE is a one step, one laser, minimally invasive procedure. During a SMILE procedure, your surgeon will use computer guided, highly focused laser light to cut a tiny incision in the cornea and will use it to remove a small piece of corneal tissue (called a lenticule). In a matter of seconds, the cornea has been reshaped to reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses. SMILE has been available in the U.S. since 2016, the procedure has been available in other countries for more than 10 years, and 5 million procedures have been performed worldwide.

The procedure combines the safety of traditional vision correction techniques with even greater comfort and potentially greater precision.

A precise procedure

The cornea composes 5 layers. To correct eyesight focusing problems, only the stroma (the middle layer) has to be reshaped. The SMILE laser works to apply a series of tiny bubbles to create the base of the lenticule (in the lower part of the stroma) and then the top of the lenticule (in the upper part of the stroma). The creation of a small keyhole incision allows your surgeon access to the stroma, so the surgeon can remove the targeted piece of tissue in order to correct your vision. That’s it! In a matter of seconds cornea has been reshaped and the patient is provided optimal visual results.

Comfort and ease

The actual laser portion of the procedure is quick – it’s completed in 25 seconds. SMILE is designed to ensure it’s a very comfortable procedure. Although everyone and their body are different, most people will be feeling great the very next day.

Clear Vision, Little Downtime

and Amazing Results

The Evolution of Laser Eye Surgery

3 Generations of Laser Eye Surgery


SMILE at a Glance

  • The world’s most cutting-edge laser eye surgery
  • Uses only one laser (femtosecond)
  • Minimally invasive
  • 100% blade-free
  • Minimal discomfort
  • Fast recovery time
  • Reduced incidence of Dry Eyes
  • Safely treats -1.00 to -10.00 diopters of myopia and up to -3 Diopters of astigmatism

A One Step, One Laser, Minimally Invasive Procedure

The Benefits of SMILE

Less Invasive Surgery

SMILE is a one step, one laser, minimally invasive procedure. Compared to LASIK or PRK, SMILE is a less invasive laser eye surgery procedure.  During LASIK, your doctor creates a flap in order to correct your vision. This flap is 20mm in circumference. During a PRK procedure, an 8mm diameter area of the corneal surface cells are removed first to correct vision.  During a SMILE procedure, your surgeon only needs to create a 3mm key-hole incision in your cornea.

This small incision allows for less disturbance to corneal nerves and more corneal stability post-surgery.

No Flap Surgery

One of the only drawbacks to a LASIK procedure is the creation of a permanent flap of corneal tissue.  During LASIK, a small flap of corneal tissue is created using a femtosecond laser and then folded back.  The surgeon then uses a second laser, called an excimer laser, to reshape the underlying corneal tissue and correct vision. Because of this, it is a more complex procedure than its successor, SMILE.

It is important to note that LASIK is an extremely safe and trusted procedure. However, rarely complications can arise. Many of these complications are called ‘flap-related complications’ and are due to the flap created during surgery.

Since no flap is created during a SMILE procedure, there is absolutely no risk for flap-related complications.

Safe, Accurate, And Fast Visual Recovery

SMILE has been found to be just as safe and accurate as LASIK.  SMILE also has the added benefit of a quick visual recovery- It only takes about one to two days to experience the amazing results.

Quiet, Odorless, and Blade-Free

Both LASIK and PRK procedures use a second laser, called an excimer laser, during the procedure.  This laser is known to create a loud ‘clicking’ noise when used, which can be disconcerting to some patients. The excimer laser also known to create a noticeable odor during a LASIK procedure, as it is used to ablate corneal cells. Because SMILE does not use an excimer laser, the procedure is both quiet and odorless.

Reduced Chance of Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye is a relatively common side effect of laser eye surgeries. One benefit of SMILE is that it may reduce the chance for dry eye to occur. Because SMILE only involves a small incision made in the cornea, there is potentially a smaller chance of dry eye post-surgery.

Not a Good LASIK Candidate? SMILE Could be for You

There are three common things that can cause a patient to not be eligible for LASIK:

  •  Irregularly shaped or thin corneas
  • Predisposition to dry-eye or chronic dry eye syndrome
  • Patients who perform sports or jobs with a lot of direct contact to the eyes (ex: boxers, fighters, etc)

SMILE can possibly be an appropriate procedure for those who have been disqualified from LASIK candidacy due to these factors.

Smile Combines the Safety of Traditional Vision Correction Techniques

with Even Greater Comfort and Potentially Greater Precision

The Difference Between SMILE and LASIK

A ReLEx® SMILE Laser Eye Surgery is a one-step, one laser only procedure. By comparison, LASIK is a two-step, two laser procedure.

During a LASIK procedure, a corneal flap is created using a femtosecond laser and then an excimer laser ablates the tissue to reshape the cornea. During a SMILE procedure, the femtosecond laser is used to cut a small corneal lenticule (precise lens-shaped disc within the cornea) and then it is removed via a small keyhole incision.

The biggest difference and advancement between the two is the fact that SMILE laser eye surgery is a flapless procedure.  Because there is no flap created like in LASIK, there is no chance of flap-related complications.

SMILE was recently featured on NBC Nightly News:


We are deeply devoted to your safety. Our experienced laser eye surgeon, Dr. Jay Bansal, and his staff work with you personally to ensure you are a candidate for SMILE eye surgery.  Read more about LaserVue Safety Standards.

Dr. Jay Bansal, Ophthalmologist with LASIK Technology and Patient
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    Advanced Technology

    We use the most advanced SMILE Technology, the Zeiss VisuMax Laser, to ensure your best possible vision.

  • Doctor Icon

    Experienced Surgeon

    Our board-certified ophthalmologists have performed tens of thousands of surgeries.

  • Eye Chart Icon

    Proven Results

    Our results speak for themselves. Thousands of satisfied patients have trusted their vision with LaserVue.

Affordable Financing Options Available

Apply Now for SMILE financing


One of the first questions asked is always “What does it cost?” Which is why we provide you with all the information needed to make an informed financial decision.  You can save thousands of dollars by ditching your glasses and contacts.


2 Year Financing

SMILE should be affordable for everyone. With 24-month financing, you can make payments that work for you.

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Flex Spending

If you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) through your employer, you can save hundreds on SMILE.

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Cost vs. Risk

As with every surgery, the cost and the risks of SMILE should be carefully considered beforehand.

Our Patients Love

Their New Vision


Our patients love LaserVue. But don’t take our word for it. Hear what they have to say:



SMILE Frequently Asked Questions

How can I find out if I am a candidate for SMILE?

In order to know if you are a candidate for SMILE vision correction, it is necessary that you have a thorough vision correction consultation. If in the past you were told you were not eligible for LASIK, it is important to get a second opinion. LASERVUE is a SMILE specialist allowing for vision correction on many patients who were not previously good vision correction candidates.

Is SMILE eye surgery a safe procedure?

Yes, SMILE eye surgery has been proven safe and effective and is FDA approved. Over 3.5 million SMILE procedures have been performed globally across over 70 countries. It is effective and not as invasive as surgeries like LASIK.

How long do results from SMILE last?

The SMILE results are permanent, but since people experience changes to their vision over time, you may experience changes in your vision not related to SMILE. This is due to the effects of the aging process on the crystalline lens of the eye. These near vision changes are treatable and can be further corrected down the line.

Can I have SMILE done in both eyes in the same surgery?

Yes, absolutely! It is possible and typically recommended. This allows for one session and one recovery time. Make sure you have a friend or loved one take you home after the surgery.

Is the ReLex SMILE procedure painful?

No, the procedure is not painful. Before the procedure, your eyes will be numbed with anesthetic drops, and while you may feel slight pressure during the procedure, there will not be actual pain except in very rare cases. Your LaserVue surgeon will talk you through the procedure and with it being a very quick operation, the procedure is very comfortable overall. After the surgery there may be some uncomfortable dryness, but as your eye heals this will subside.

How long does the SMILE procedure take to complete?

SMILE is a very fast and virtually painless procedure. Typical time in the vision correction room is only about 10-15 minutes, and the actual laser time is roughly 30 seconds per eye. Most patients are shocked at how quick and easy the procedure is for them.

Can I drive after SMILE surgery?

Directly after the surgery you will need a friend, family member, or loved one to take you home. However, most people can resume driving the day following the SMILE procedure. Many patients drive themselves to their 24 hour post-op appointment.

Can I go swimming after SMILE surgery?

It is recommended that you wait at least one week before you go swimming after your procedure. This is recommended to reduce risk of infection from water-borne infections.

San Francisco

LaserVue LASIK and Laser Eye Surgery Center San Francisco
711 Van Ness Ave Suite 320,
San Francisco, CA 94102
Location & Map 1-800-527-3745 1-415-346-5500

Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa Business Location
3540 Mendocino Ave. #200,
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
Location & Map 1-800-527-3745 1-707-522-6200

Mountain View

Laservue LASIK Center in Mountain View
1174 Castro St., #112,
Mountain View, CA 94040
Location & Map 1-800-527-3745 1-650-966-0900

Call 1-800-LASER-45 or Schedule a Consultation