Porter Ophthalmology has been offering SMILE longer than any other practice in North Carolina, and we now see hundreds of new patients each year. This has become a very popular laser solution for many of our patients, as SMILE is the latest in laser vision correction for myopia (nearsightedness), providing results similar to LASIK in a slightly different (less invasive) manner. For this procedure, a laser is used to create a thin contact lens-shaped layer just beneath the surface of the eye, followed by a small opening through which that layer is removed, thus correcting your vision.
It’s safe, proven, and effective. More than 4 million SMILE procedures have been performed worldwide by thousands of surgeons.



A thin 3D-shaped lens layer and a small opening are created just beneath the surface of the eye.


The contact lens shaped layer is removed through the small opening.


By removing the thin layer, Dr. Porter changes the shape of the cornea, correcting the vision problem


SMILE laser eye surgery with the Zeiss VisuMax laser is the latest in refractive technology. This ground-breaking laser system employs high-performance femtosecond laser technology and is characterized by its outstanding precision, unsurpassed speed, and gentle treatment technique. The laser outlines a personalized 3D-shaped layer in the cornea that is removed to change the shape of the cornea.


Less Invasive Procedure

Only one small opening is made to correct your vision with our laser.

Fast and Reliable

SMILE takes only a few minutes and provides wonderful results similar to LASIK.

Quick Recovery Times

SMILE offers fast vision recovery times, allowing you to return to your daily activities in as little as one day.

Gentle to the Eyes

With SMILE, you may experience less dry eye and less discomfort during and after the procedure.

Lastly: No More Glasses

Reduce or eliminate your need for glasses and contacts.



Am I a candidate for SMILE?
Generally, patients who are aged 20-40 years old with a stable prescription, healthy eyes, normal corneas, and adequate corneal thickness may qualify. SMILE is excellent at correcting myopia (nearsightedness) with or without astigmatism.

Our doctors will determine if you qualify for SMILE during our free vision correction evaluation. As technology continues to advance, more patients qualify for vision correction surgery now than ever before. This includes many people who may have been told that they are not candidates in the past. If you don’t qualify for SMILE, there is a good chance you may qualify for a different vision correction procedure at Porter Ophthalmology including PRK, ICL or LR.

Is SMILE the right procedure for me?
During our free vision correction evaluation, we will examine your eye and take advanced measurements to get a full picture of the health of your eyes. Our doctors use this information to recommend the best procedure for your eyes and your vision goals.

The good news: Porter Ophthalmology offers its patients all five of the latest vision correction procedures – LASIK, SMILE, PRK, ICL and LR. This means more patients qualify than ever before and our doctors can recommend the absolute best procedure for you.

How fast is the recovery from SMILE?
Following SMILE your vision will be blurred for the first few hours and you may experience some mild scratchiness or dryness of your eyes. Any eye discomfort typically resolves within the first few hours and the vision is significantly improved by the next day. Most people are able to return to work either the next day or the day after following SMILE.
Is SMILE safe? Are there any risks or side effects of SMILE?
SMILE is a safe and effective procedure for laser vision correction. SMILE has been FDA approved since 2016 and had been performed internationally for many years prior to that. Worldwide over 4 million patients have undergone the SMILE procedure and are enjoying the benefits of living life free of glasses or contacts.

Some of the more common side effects after SMILE include dry eyes or seeing glare and halos at night. Fortunately, these side effects are usually temporary and improve weeks to months after treatment. Serious complications of SMILE are extremely rare.

Is the SMILE procedure painful?
During the procedure we use numbing drops on the eye that prevent the sensation of anything sharp or painful. At times there may be pressure on the eye or the sensation of touch or drops on the eye but these are minimal.
Do I have to hold my eyes open during the procedure?
At the beginning of the SMILE procedure we will help you to relax and open your eyelids. From that point on a small eyelid holder will gently hold your eye open for the duration of the laser treatment so that you don’t have to worry about blinking.
What happens if I move my eye?
The Visumax femtosecond laser we use for SMILE in our office gently stabilizes the front surface of the eye during the procedure to assist you in keeping your eye steady. If your eye is not in the ideal location or if it moves, the laser treatment will pause until the eye is re-positioned. There is also a target light in the laser for you to look at during SMILE that will help you keep your eye in the correct position.
Is SMILE a permanent treatment?
A common misconception of LASIK/SMILE is that the effect wears off with time. In reality, we expect the vision correcting effect to last forever.

However, we know that natural changes will begin to affect the focusing ability of the lens inside your eye starting in your mid-40s. This leads to presbyopia or the need for reading glasses to see things up close. This is a normal and expected change with time that is unrelated to having LASIK/SMILE. The good news is that if you don’t like using reading glasses, Porter Ophthalmology has additional solutions to make you less dependent on them.

Is SMILE covered by insurance?
Usually no, although we have seen some very rare instances where insurance plans pay for part of the cost of vision correction surgery. At Porter Ophthalmology, we offer flexible spending plans or interest-free financing options that can be a great way to make SMILE more affordable.

Download our FREE Laser Vision Correction Patient Guide

If you think you’re ready to open your eyes to a clear world every morning, without contacts, glasses, or squinting…

Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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