ReLEx SMILE ™ is a flap-less laser eye surgery treatment for short-sightedness

ReLEx SMILE ™ is a minimally invasive alternative to conventional laser eye surgery pioneered by Carl Zeiss Meditec. This revolutionary technique turns LASIK into a keyhole procedure. SMILE ™ is short for Small Incision Lenticule Extraction.

What can ReLEx SMILE ™ laser eye surgery treat?

ReLEx SMILE ™ is ideally suited to patients with short-sightedness and those with higher prescriptions.

For whom is ReLEx SMILE ™ laser eye surgery most suitable?

ReLEx SMILE ™ is most suitable for short-sighted patients. If you’ve been told you cannot have laser eye surgery because you have

  • High prescription
  • Thin corneas
  • Dry eyes
  • Contact lens intolerance

then you might be an ideal candidate for ReLEx SMILE ™.

What happens during the ReLEx SMILE ™ procedure?

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How does ReLEX SMILE ™ laser eye surgery work?

The surgery is in three steps.

Step 1

During the ReLEX SMILE ™ procedure, the laser eye surgeon applies eye anaesthetic drops to numb your eye.

Step 2

Then, the laser places a series of precise pulses in the centre of your cornea. The pulse forms tiny bubbles that outline the tissue that the surgeon must move to change the shape of the cornea.

Step 3

The laser creates a tiny connecting tunnel through which the surgeon removes the tissue.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of ReLEx SMILE ™ laser eye surgery compared to conventional LASIK?

Advantages over LASIK

  • Healing time is faster
  • Zero flap complications
  • Can safely treat thinner corneas
  • Can more safely treat those with dry eyes
  • Can treat high prescriptions
  • The procedure is more comfortable for the patient
  • The actual procedure is shorter in duration

Disadvantages compared to LASIK

  • Not everyone is suitable for this procedure

Results at a glance

Laser procedures
Cataract procedures
Better than the national average of complication rates

My eyesight following the operation is brilliant and better than I thought possible, and this is all down to your excellent surgeon Mr James Ball and not to forget all the very dedicated people around him who make these operations possible.

Keith Garlick

Two of the best decisions I ever made in my life were firstly to have lens exchange and secondly to have Mr James Ball carry out my operation.

Patricia Walton

Within minutes I could tell there was a difference. But now, only a couple of months later, my sight is better than it was seven years ago! I can even read the really tiny print on the car sales ads! If you want that confidence you probably felt when you were younger, this is the ideal solution. Thanks to the treatment, I feel rejuvenated, independent and much younger!

John Hazelgreave

Many thanks for all your care and kindness. To me it appears a miracle that I can see so well. I feel very grateful. It is impossible to fully express my thanks.

Grace C.

May I offer grateful thanks for your expertise in operating on my eyes. It was intimated to me that you were the best, and from the results I am now enjoying, I am convinced that this is correct.

Jean D.

You are truly innovative. Thank you very much for curing the problems I have been having with my reading and near vision.

Sala M.

My work was becoming almost impossible. I had refractive lens exchange to both eyes with multifocal lens implants last July. I can now see better than 20/20 for distance and can read the tiniest print in newspapers - all without glasses! I have started reading for pleasure again, and I feel that my performance both at work and on the golf course has improved.


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I felt I was treated as an individual and all my questions were answered. From my experiences – I can highly recommend Mr Ball.

Janet Howden

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About our surgeons

Mr James Ball | Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

MA (Cantab) MB BChir FRCOphth CertLRS

I am a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at Custom Vision Clinic, St James’s University Hospital, and Nuffield Hospital. My major interest is in refractive surgery and finding the best treatment suitable for each patient.

Mr Jack Gormley | Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

MB ChB (Hons) FRCOphth CertLRS

I am a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at Custom Vision Clinic and York Teaching Hospital, where I lead the Corneal and Refractive service. I have completed over 2,000 surgical and laser eye procedures.