Q What is the recovery time of relex smile laser eye procedure?

Recovery time is a little varied

It is said that the actual recovery (physical tissue recovery) from Relex smile is quicker. This is because there is no ‘cut’ or flap made. The small incision through which the lenticule is removed heals very quickly, by end of the day or next. And as there is no risk of flap related issues, one can resume activities like swimming, outdoor sports etc within the first week itself post smile procedures. In LASIK such energetic activities are usually allowed after 15 days to a month.

However, recovery also means visual recovery, and from our experience we have seen LASIK patients, by and large, get comfortable with activities involving computer screen time far more quicker than those with smile. Although permitted to use computers from the very next day, albeit in small breaks, we have seen that those undergoing smile take a tad bit longer to get comfortable for computer related work. In short, what one needs to expect in terms of recovery is:

  1. Both Relex smile and LASIK procedure patients will be symptomatic on the day of the laser procedure, regardless of which type, they should expect their eyes to water, with itchiness, pricking sensation, poking sensations, inability to open the eyelids comfortably, heavy lids etc. This usually settles down by the end of the day or definitely by next morning, having decreased in intensity as time passes.
  2. Both Relex smile and LASIK procedure patients will need to use antibiotic eye drops for a week to 10 days, and lubricating eye drops for few weeks post procedure.
  3. Both Relex smile and LASIK procedure patients will be allowed to use computers, watch TV etc from the next day with breaks, drive when comfortable which maybe a week or so.
  4. ReLex smile cases can be more active in terms of getting back to sports, swimming, outdoors etc. there is no risk of flap dislocation if you rub the eyes hard, as there is no flap in Relex smile. Hence, those habituated with rubbing or knuckling eyes are better off with this procedure. LASIK cases need to be more careful when handling the eyes as there is a flap which needs to settle in. Hence, all the above activities may take 15 days to a month to be permitted.

Posted in: Questions on ReLEx SmILE Procedure and Doctor experience with procedure