SMILE Eye Surgery DC


SMILE Laser Eye Surgery in Washington DC and the DMV is Here

Brusco Vision offers SMILE as an alternative to LASIK.

Almost everyone has heard of LASIK surgery but SMILE is a less familiar term. SMILE – an acronym for Small Incision Lenticule Extraction – is a minimally invasive procedure designed to correct myopia (nearsightedness) and astigmatism. SMILE is the latest technique to join Brusco Vision’s lineup of laser vision correction solutions. SMILE may be an amazing option even for people who’ve been told by eye doctors in the past that they are not good candidates for other advanced laser procedures.

Recognizing that everyone has a unique set of eyes – with a different set of circumstances and goals – our philosophy is to provide a range of safe, effective solutions that enable Dr. Brusco to identify the best and most advanced treatment technology for each individual. There is no one-size-fits-all corrective eye surgery approach at Brusco Vision – it would be against our patient’s best interests to shuttle everyone down the path of a single refractive procedure.

During your initial comprehensive – and completely non-invasive and comfortable – exam at Brusco Vision (ANOVA), we’ll determine the degree of your refractive error, the thickness and shape of your cornea, and other important factors to consider when selecting among the appropriate vision correction options. Dr. Brusco will spend time discussing your results to determine which solution is best for you to correct your vision. Call our office to schedule an appointment today and learn more about SMILE eye surgery.

Is SMILE safe?

Yes. SMILE is a proven laser vision correction procedure. It was FDA approved in the United States in 2016 but has been available worldwide since 2011. Since then, over 5 million SMILE procedures have been performed with a high patient satisfaction rate. It is a precise technology that delivers exceptional outcomes and a rapid visual recovery, making it the fastest growing laser vision correction procedure performed today. SMILE is also effective in correcting residual myopia and myopic astigmatism after cataract surgery, leading to clearer vision and significant visual acuity gain.

Is SMILE comfortable?

Yes. SMILE is one of the most gentle vision correction procedures ever developed. SMILE patients consistently describe the process as painless and comfortable, both during and after the procedure. Because the SMILE corrective surgery is so minimally invasive, patients heal quickly. And, because SMILE does not involve the use of a corneal flap, there is a lower risk of dry eye syndrome that is sometimes experienced by SBK LASIK patients. Most of our SMILE clients are able to work, exercise, wear eyelid makeup, or play sports the next day.

Is SMILE Better than LASIK?

No, just different. Both procedures are extremely safe, effective, and result in clear vision. Dr. Brusco, one of the best LASIK surgeons in the nation, believes that for some patients, an SBK LASIK procedure is a great option, and for others, SMILE will have some advantages. SMILE is a better fit for certain eye types and may provide more flexibility for active lifestyles. Multiple research studies have shown that the accuracy of correction of a SMILE surgical procedure is equivalent to an SBK LASIK treatment.

Based on your specific vision needs and the results of the tests you’ll undergo at your Brusco Vision consultation (ANOVA), we will determine if SMILE will help you achieve the results you desire and give you freedom from corrective lenses. At Brusco Vision’s laser center in the Washington DC area, our goal is to use every available technology to help our patients achieve their best possible vision. SMILE is another excellent method we have to set you on the journey toward visual freedom! Call our office today to start your vision correction journey and find out if you’re a good candidate for SMILE.

The SMILE procedure is growing in popularity, but it is currently not as widely available as LASIK and PRK in the US. As surgeons and laser centers continue to adopt the technology, the volume of procedures is expected to grow.
- Harvard Health Publishing

How Does the SMILE Procedure Work?

SMILE is a 100% femtosecond laser-based procedure that corrects vision by removing a small amount of corneal tissue, whereas in SBK LASIK the correction is made by reshaping the cornea with the excimer laser. Removing the lenticule changes the shape of the cornea, thereby achieving the desired vision correction.

SMILE May Be An Option Even if You Were Told You Are Not a Candidate for LASIK

If you have previously been told that you are not a candidate for LASIK, a life with less dependence on glasses or contacts is still within reach! Dr. Brusco has helped many patients who had been told that they weren’t SBK LASIK candidates achieve great vision with SMILE or another vision correction surgery. Although the procedure is different from SBK LASIK, the outcome is the same – improved vision for life without visual barriers or any type of corrective lens.

Benefits of SMILE

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Did you know that laser vision correction is safer than wearing contacts? Over the long term, you’re 5x more likely to develop a serious eye infection from wearing contact lenses than from the one time experience of SMILE. Never worry about leaving your contacts in too long again with laser vision correction!

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Save Money

While the cost of a vision correction procedure does come with an initial upfront investment, do you know how much you’re already spending on glasses and contacts? Try our cost calculator to see how it adds up over time.

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Live more independently without plastic affixed to your eyes to function. Experience the sense of relief with not having to deal with contacts, glasses, or solutions to manage. Just wake up and see. SMILE vision correction better accommodates a busy, active lifestyle.

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Save Time

Eliminate the need to clean your contact lenses or continually wipe your glasses free of smudges. Laser vision correction frees up 5-10 more minutes of your day to avoid these annoying tasks. Over the course of a year, that adds up to 45 hours. What would you do with that extra time?

Reasons to Have SMILE at Brusco Vision

Who is a candidate for SMILE?

SMILE at Brusco Vision in Washington, D.C. and the DMV is an excellent solution for someone who is at least 18 years of age with a stable refraction and is ready to eliminate their dependency on glasses and/or contacts. If you are nearsighted or have astigmatism you can be cured from these vision conditions in minutes with SMILE. The change you notice is immediate and in most cases will provide you with better vision than even glasses or contact lenses.

One of the Most Gentle Vision Correction Procedures Ever Developed

SBK LASIK is a possibility for about 80-85% of patients who wear glasses or contact lenses. However, at Brusco Vision we have found that about 40% of these patients are better suited and achieve more accurate results with one of our five other modern LASIK procedures, including SMILE. Factors that can affect your candidacy are the degree of the refractive error as well as the thickness and shape of the cornea. During your initial consultation, you will experience thorough diagnostic testing while meeting with Dr. Brusco to determine if the SMILE procedure is best suited for you.

SMILE Day of Your Surgery

On the day of the procedure, patients can expect to be in our office for 2 hours. While the entire procedure takes less than 15 minutes, the laser portion of the treatment is completed in only about 30 seconds. The visual freedom our patients obtain, however, can last a lifetime.


Step One

Several tests may be repeated to verify measurements. An optional mild sedative is offered to patients and anesthetic eye drops are applied to numb the eye. A small, gentle eyelid holder is placed between your eyelids so you don’t have to worry about blinking during the procedure.


Step Two

Dr. Brusco uses the most advanced technology, the Zeiss VisuMax femtosecond laser, to create a small incision and thin lenticule (disc-shaped piece of tissue) inside the cornea.

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Step Three

Dr. Brusco then removes the lenticule through the incision with minimal disruption to the cornea. Removing the lenticule changes the shape of the cornea, thereby achieving the desired vision correction.

Recovery Time

The procedure itself is virtually painless, the recovery time is quick. The small incision where the lenticule was removed heals within 24 hours, so most SMILE patients can resume normal activities the following day. We recommend that patients avoid wearing makeup for one day and wait a few days before going swimming.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, overwhelmingly so. SMILE was FDA approved in 2016 and has already been performed over 5 million times. SMILE vision correction is safe and effective. Don’t just take our word for it, however. The US military has also adopted SMILE as a vision correction solution.

There has not been a single reported incident of blindness occurring from SMILE and it has a very low risk of complications.

Yes, SMILE is approved to treat astigmatism and myopia.

No, the changes with SMILE are permanent. However, around age 45, most people begin to have difficulty seeing up close (presbyopia). This occurs whether they’ve had SMILE or not. If you are close to this age, we’ll take that into consideration in determining your best vision correction options.

No. You will not feel any pain during your procedure. However, you may experience a bit of a light show during the process.

The procedure takes about 10 minutes to complete, but the laser portion is only about 30 seconds per eye. It is truly a minimally invasive procedure.

The lasers used at Brusco Vision are equipped with features to limit eye movements or monitor the position of your eye, making necessary adjustments for any position changes during the treatment process. In addition, a gentle eyelid holder is placed between your eyelids so you don’t have to worry about blinking during the procedure.

No, it doesn’t. However, SMILE is a Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account procedure. If your company offers a health or flexible spending account, you can generally use it to pay for SMILE.

One of the greatest benefits of SMILE is its rapid visual recovery. Although vision tends to be blurry the first few hours after the procedure, the blurred vision resolves quickly and most of our SMILE patients are back to work and resuming normal activities the very next day. The vision continues to clear and improve even more over the next week.

The newest and most latest laser vision correction technique in the field of ophthalmology to receive FDA approval is called SMILE. The key distinction between a SMILE treatment and photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is the absence of an excimer laser. Instead, with SMILE, a lenticule (a tiny portion of corneal tissue) is removed after a femtosecond laser creates a tiny keyhole incision in the patient’s cornea. SMILE combines the advantages of both LASIK eye surgery and PRK by reshaping the cornea to improve eyesight and visual perception. An experienced LASIK surgeon will recommend the best procedure for your unique vision even if you qualify for more than one procedure.

The Brusco Vision Difference

Your vision is our mission at Brusco Vision. Our highly trained and extremely knowledgeable team is here to serve patients in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia area and would love to give you more information about the types of refractive surgery we offer. Vision problems don’t have to be something you suffer with forever.

Call our office to schedule your comprehensive eye examination to determine which treatment option is best for you. You will meet our physician, Dr. Brusco, at your appointment and he will answer all of your questions and concerns. Welcome to the next generation of vision correction specialists. The first practice of its kind in Washington DC and the DMV.

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