Precision and Ease

With ZEISS SMILE, the entire correction is performed as a single step: one laser, one treatment plan, and one laser process. Performed on a VisuMax® femtosecond laser, high precision, proven outcomes, predictability, and ease of use are what SMILE stands for. Click here for more information on SMILE and the VisuMax laser.

Why choose Chicago Cornea Consultants for treatment with SMILE?

Established in 1986 and serving patients in and beyond Chicago, Hoffman Estates, Crystal Lake, and Highland Park, Chicago Cornea Consultants is a leading practice in the Midwest that specializes in surgical vision correction procedures. Our six board-certified ophthalmologists have received specialized training and have been featured prominently in elite industry magazines and top doctor lists. They are professors who are consistently called upon to share their cutting-edge techniques with others and speak at training seminars around the world. In this manner, our practice has garnered a reputation as the Gold Standard for eye care in the region.

We strive to provide the highest quality, state-of-the-art eye care and have performed thousands of surgeries with fantastic, life-changing results. We are one of two practices in Illinois that offer SMILE, solidifying our position at the forefront of new technology. We continue to invest in sophisticated equipment that reduces or eliminates the need for glasses, bringing the best customizable eye care to our patients. Our catchphrase, "See The Best," reflects our commitment to ensuring the most comfortable, safe, and rewarding future for our patients.

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What is the ZEISS SMILE procedure?

The ZEISS SMILE procedure is a type of laser eye surgery that has gained prominence in recent years. SMILE stands for Small Incision Lenticule Extraction, a minimally invasive procedure that can correct various vision impairments such as nearsightedness and astigmatism. The procedure uses the VisuMax®  femtosecond laser to create a contact lens-shaped layer called a lenticule inside the cornea. The lenticule is then removed through a small opening, which reshapes the cornea and corrects refractive errors.

The ZEISS SMILE procedure is becoming a popular option for patients who are looking for a minimally invasive alternative to traditional laser eye surgeries. SMILE comes with less discomfort and fewer complications, has a shorter recovery time, and is less likely to cause dry eyes, a common side effect of other laser eye surgeries.

What are the benefits?

  • Minimally invasive 
  • A small incision of less than 4mm on the eye surface
  • No need to remove the outer layer of the cornea
  • Corneal nerves are less affected 
  • The eye remains more lubricated
  • Unrivaled precision and accuracy
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Who is an ideal candidate for SMILE?

Good candidates for the ZEISS SMILE procedure are over 18 and have had stable vision for at least one year. Their eyes are healthy, with no history of disease or injury, and they are not pregnant or nursing.

As with all procedures, good candidates have realistic expectations based on their private consultation with our knowledgeable team. Additionally, candidates for SMILE may have:

  • A spherical refractive error from -1.00D to -10.00D
  • Astigmatism from -0.75D through -3.00D

Patients considering SMILE will need to avoid using their soft daily contact lenses three days prior to the appointment, and abstain from wearing hard contact lenses for two weeks prior to their appointment.

What are the differences between SMILE and LASIK?

The main differences between The ZEISS SMILE Procedure and LASIK are:

Incision size 

The SMILE procedure uses a small incision of less than 4mm on the eye surface, while LASIK uses a larger flap incision of about 20mm.

Flap creation

LASIK requires the creation of a flap in the cornea, which is lifted to access the underlying tissue for reshaping. SMILE does not require a flap but instead creates a small incision in the cornea to remove a lenticule of tissue for reshaping.

Corneal nerve preservation

LASIK can potentially damage corneal nerves, leading to temporary or permanent dry eye syndrome. SMILE preserves more of the corneal nerves, reducing the risk of dry eye.

Recovery period

The recovery time for SMILE is generally faster than with LASIK, with most patients resuming their normal activities within a few days.

Scope of treatment

SMILE can address a narrower range of refractive errors than LASIK, with a maximum correction of up to -10.00 diopters for myopia.

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What can I expect after SMILE?

Recovery after SMILE is typically quick and relatively painless. Most patients experience a significant improvement in their vision within a few hours or days after the procedure, with many patients achieving 20/20 or better vision. During the first few days after the procedure, patients may experience mild discomfort, such as a scratchy or gritty sensation in the eye. This is usually well-managed with over-the-counter pain medications or prescription eye drops.

Patients should avoid rubbing their eyes or engaging in activities that may put pressure on the eyes, such as swimming or contact sports, for at least a week after the procedure. They should also avoid exposing their eyes to bright sunlight or dusty or dirty environments during this time. Patients should also avoid driving until their vision has stabilized and they feel comfortable behind the wheel.

What results can I expect?

Patients who undergo the ZEISS SMILE procedure can expect the following results:

Visual acuity

Most patients achieve 20/20 or better vision after the procedure, which means they can see clearly at a distance without the need for glasses or contact lenses.

Rapid improvement

Patients usually experience a significant improvement in their vision within a few hours or days after the procedure.

Enhanced quality of life

Being able to see better helps people perform everyday tasks more easily. Driving, eating, working, walking, going to a child’s basketball game, watching movies, all of these activities become more enjoyable with improved eyesight. Eyes do more than help people see; they help make memories that last a lifetime. 

DISCLAIMER: It's important to note that the results of the procedure may vary depending on the individual's specific condition, eye health, and other factors. There is always a small risk of complications associated with any surgical procedure. Patients should discuss their expectations and concerns with their eye doctor before deciding on a treatment option.


Is SMILE painful?

How long does the procedure take?

How soon can I return to my normal activities?

Will I need to wear glasses or contact lenses after SMILE?

Is SMILE painful?

Most patients do not experience any pain during the procedure, as numbing eye drops are used to ensure the utmost comfort and peace of mind. Some patients may experience mild pressure during the procedure, but this typically lasts only a few seconds.

How long does the procedure take?

SMILE usually takes about 10-15 minutes per eye, but patients should plan to spend a few hours at the clinic for pre-operative preparation and post-operative observation.

How soon can I return to my normal activities?

Most patients can return to their normal activities within a few days after the procedure, but it's important to follow your provider's instructions for post-operative care to ensure optimal healing.

Will I need to wear glasses or contact lenses after SMILE?

Most patients achieve 20/20 or better vision after the procedure, which means they can see clearly at a distance without the need for glasses or contact lenses. However, some patients may still need glasses or contact lenses for reading or other close-up activities.

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