The future of eye surgery is here.
SMILE is a revolutionary 3rd-generation refractive surgical technique.

The future of eye surgery is here

ReLEx Smile, an acronym that stands for Small Incision Lenticule Extraction, is the latest technique in the refractive surgery field. This kind of surgery is performed with just one laser, thus removing the need for a corneal flap, as in Femto-LASIK, or surface ablation, as in PRK. This non-invasive, flapless and quick technique, involving one single painless femtosecond laser (the VisuMax® Zeiss laser), allows the surgeon to make one or maximum two side cuts, from 2 to 4 mm long, in less than 28 seconds. Through these tiny keyholes the surgeon then extracts the lenticule, a tiny piece of corneal tissue that may be up to 7 mm long and that was carved out by the laser depending on the vision problem.

The procedure takes about 5 minutes per eye and supports a comfortable and stress-free patient experience, since there is no need to position him under another laser. What is more, the patient does not require injections, because anaesthetic eye drops are applied to the eye.

ReLEx Smile is a safe and effective technique, ideal to treat myopia and myopic astigmatism, with extremely high success rate.

The 3 steps of the RELEX SMILE technique

Step 1
Creating the lenticule

The VisuMax femtosecond laser sculpts a lens-shaped section of tissue and creates a tiny (smaller than 4 mm) incision inside the cornea in just one step.

Step 2
Extracting the lenticule

The lenticule is removed through the small incision with little to no disruption to the cornea.

Step 3
Correcting the vision problem

Removing the lenticule will reshape the cornea, thus correcting the refractive error.

ReLEx Smile enhances the dexterity of the surgeon

ReLEx Smile is a revolutionary 3rd-generation technique in the refractive surgery field.
Despite it being minimally invasive, it can only be performed by highly skilled surgeons: experience and dexterity are essential requirements for a surgeon to quickly and easily extract the lenticule from the tiny side incision, thus achieving the desired result.

Most importantly, an experienced surgeon must be able to assess whether ReLEx Smile or other refractive surgery techniques are the right solution to the vision problem of the patient.

Dr. Angelo Appiotti, with over 30 years of experience, uses state-of-the-art techniques in the laser and surgical treatment of vision problems in patients and professional athletes, and is an authority in the field of refractive surgery in Europe.

He is currently one of the eye surgeons with the most experience performing ReLEx Smile surgery in Italy.

Ideal candidates

⦁ at least 22 years old
⦁ from -1.50D to -10.00D of myopia with astigmatism not exceeding -5.00D
⦁ stable prescription for the last 12 months
⦁ average corneal thickness and topography
⦁ good state of health and no previous eye diseases
⦁ non-pregnant


⦁ fast surgery and little discomfort
⦁ can be performed on thin or flat corneas or on deep set eyes
⦁ great resistance to corneal traction after surgery
⦁ the patient can participate in contact sports or activities that may lead to an increase in intraocular pressure
⦁ post-surgery dry eye symptoms near zero
⦁ excellent refractive results
⦁ fast recovery
⦁ no post-surgery pain or side effects
⦁ no corneal opacity

Visual recovery and risks

Visual recovery

⦁ no pain during and/or after surgery
⦁ return to normal activities the day after surgery (the patient can resume their normal activities, with no mechanical, traumatic or visual restrictions)
⦁ vision constantly improves day after day
⦁ no intra or post operative pain

Possible risks and complications

RelEx Smile is less invasive than any other type of refractive surgery. However, even though new, state-of-the-art technologies aim at reducing the risk of complications, cases of surgical under- or over-correction may still occur.

Some patients report feeling like a foreign body is in their eye after undergoing surgery, however this sensation usually goes away shortly after the procedure.

Since this technique is relatively new (7-year follow up), no long-term studies have been carried out yet. However, there is no doubt as to the procedure being safe and giving great results, when performed by a skilled surgeon who has extensive experience with other techniques and works in a prestigious eye clinic with high quality standards and in-depth checks.

Athletes who underwent ReLEx Smile surgery

Many famous professional athletes, competing on both a national and international level, have chosen the professionalism and thirty-year experience of Dr. Appiotti to treat their visual impairments with ReLEx Smile.

Eye clinics

Dr. Appiotti visits patients and performs refractive surgery operations in selected eye clinics in Milan, Verona, and Modena, which are renowned for their state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment and laser technologies.

Contact us

If you are interested in booking a visit with Dr. Appiotti to determine if you are eligible for laser surgery, please contact the toll-free number 800 669 700.

Alternatively, you may send your request through the contact form. We will answer promptly in a polite and professional manner.