What Side Effects Should I Expect After SMILE Laser Eye Surgery?

SMILE laser eye surgery is a life-changing treatment for nearsightedness. It is different from LASIK, as the SMILE approach uses a smaller opening and only one laser to correct your vision. Board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. Fred Mattioli at Mattioli Vision Professionals in Houston, TX is highly skilled in this safe procedure and is the #1 SMILE provider in Greater Houston.

Here we will discuss some things you should know about what to expect and what side effects you may notice following the SMILE procedure.

Understanding the SMILE procedure

The Small Incision Lenticule Extraction or SMILE laser eye surgery creates a lenticule inside the cornea that is gently removed through a tiny incision. A lenticule is a shape of cornea tissue resembling a contact lens created by the SMILE laser. It is shaped to match your prescription. SMILE uses a smaller opening than traditional LASIK. Whereas the LASIK procedure uses an opening about 24 mm around, the SMILE procedure has an opening of about 4 mm in width.

The SMILE process only uses a tiny opening on the outside of the eye. Dr. Mattioli removes the lenticular tissue through the opening. The incision will then heal on its own in one or two days without stitches.

Your eye shape is now adjusted to correct nearsightedness and astigmatism, and the entire process is done in 15 minutes for both eyes.

Potential Temporary Side Effects After SMILE Laser Eye Surgery

Haziness with your vision

You may experience some haziness in your eyes after the surgery. This symptom is a natural result because your eye will need a few days to recover from the procedure. You will notice even sharper vision after your eye heals.

Dry eye syndrome

Dry eye syndrome is another condition you may experience following the procedure. Your eyes will feel sensitive afterward, and you may require prescription eye drops in rare situations. Our experts at Mattioli Vision Professionals in Houston, TX can provide guidance on what you can do to manage your eyes after the procedure.

Double vision

Double vision also occurs in some situations, as you might see two of the same object or shadows that follow one item. The double vision will disappear in a few days or weeks after the procedure. This symptom is commonly due to the eye healing.

Difficulties with night vision

Early on, you may also notice seeing at night may be a little blurry after your surgery. Be sure to avoid driving or doing anything too intensive until your eyes heal, especially when it comes to evening activities. Also common early on are halos around lights and sensibility to bright conditions after your procedure.


Debris could enter the eye during the healing process, triggering an infection. Eye infections from contact lens use are very common, but with SMILE this problem is very rare. Prescription eye drops or antibiotics can resolve the infection and allow the eye to return to its natural healing process.

Contact us today to find out more about SMILE laser eye surgery

SMILE laser eye surgery is a quality, safe treatment for vision correction, but be sure you know what to expect after the procedure. You can contact Dr. Fred Mattioli and the rest of the team at Mattioli Vision Professionals in Houston, TX for more details on SMILE and if you are a good candidate for this popular and innovative procedure. We are available for patients throughout the Greater Houston area, including in River Oaks, Sugar Land, West University, and The Woodlands.