My ReLEx® SMILE laser eye surgery experience

After several years of contemplating to have my eye sight corrected, I took the step in April 2016. I had the ReLEx® SMILE laser surgery performed on my eyes and already a couple of days after the procedure I can say that it totally changed my quality of life immensely. The most part of this was written the day after the surgery and adjusted afterwards. As time passes this post will be updated with news from check-ups, progress and whatnot. I tried to be as detailed and descriptive as possible, in case you should consider the surgery! Share your experience in the comments or let me know if you have any questions!


My story

I’ve had poor vision since mid-primary school. Not crazy bad, with -2.75 and -3.00, but certainly enough to make the use of contact lenses or glasses mandatory in daily life. Glasses were pretty much always my enemy, I hated the frame that limited the sight around me, and any sign of grease or dust on the glass made me go up walls, same with when they would get all foggy or I’d get in the rain. Minor issue, but still annoying, no matter how light the glasses, I always had very obvious pressure points on my nose that wouldn’t go away for days. Just about 2-3 years ago I found a pair of glasses that I liked and fit my face nicely, so that helped. It was part of my routine to switch to glasses as soon as I got home and I’d have regular glasses-days. It wasn’t like I didn’t want to be seen in public with glasses, I also didn’t hate my glasses, I just didn’t like how they limited me in the outside world.

From 14 or so onwards I got contact lenses, and that was already a life changer. But even those came along with dry eyes after a few  years and confusion over the right prescription didn’t make it easier either. I’m still very thankful for the inventor of contacts, they were a major part of my routine and improved my life quality big time.



Nevertheless, there were more people around me who had laser surgery done within the last couple of years and I got more and more curious. Six years ago I attended an info session on LASIK surgery when I still lived in Germany, but I was too freaked out by the details of the procedure. In this older method, the cornea is cut and flapped open, then the laser corrects the parts needed, the flap is put back and you heal. Even though this method is also proven safe and working and I know plenty of people who had this done successfully – just the thought of the details of a corneal flap made me nervous. Cutting and eye things, no thank you! Anything eye-related freaks me out, Pans Labyrinth was hard to watch and also during that one particular scene of Game of Thrones I was hiding under a blanket because I couldn’t stand seeing that.

About two years ago, a friend of mine had the eye surgery done and just like anyone I know, she also confirmed that it was the best money she ever spent and she would do it again in a heartbeat. Back then, she mentioned that it was some kind of new method and it was less invasive. I didn’t look into it any more until a good month or so ago, when my contacts ran out and I was increasingly annoyed with the status of my eyes. I had a birthday coming up and some money set aside, which was initially meant to be for a car or a kitchen, but since I needed none of those things, I decided to dig back into my research and invest in my eyes. My friend kindly gave me some info on the ReLEx® SMILE method she had done, as well as info on her doctor and clinic.

The SMILE surgery is also known as ultra-gentle, as it is only minor invasive to your eye. Instead of cutting and flapping the cornea open, the laser operates through a tiny hole and then the corneal material to correct your vision is removed manually, and you’re good to go.

So long story short, I booked a consultation appointment.

Before the surgery

IMG_5777The consultation isn’t really the pre-examination. In the first consultation, your glasses are tested and so is the thickness of your cornea – which is the crucial factor that makes the surgery possible for you or not. Basically during the consultation, the doctor will tell you about the procedure, the tools used, the risks and the whole process of post-surgery and answers any questions you might have.

The pre-examination is a way more extensive examination of your eyes, and you’re required to be off-contact lenses for 5-7 days before. Besides obvious things like your actual eye sight, your eye pressure is tested and a whole bunch of things I don’t even know when they mean. For one of the tests you will be given anaesthetic eye drops and pupil dialating eye drops, which feels insanely weird but not painful. The dialated pupils lasted almost half a day for me, I looked like a drugged owl and sat in a dark room for the rest of the day – didn’t see that one coming! So take that into count when you book your pre-exam.

The estimated cost for everything would be around 3200€, my doctor said, and the estimation was correct (edited later). The cost per eye was 1450€, plus the cost for the pre-exam and medications.

The surgery

Just like with the pre-exam, you’re not allowed to wear contact lenses for one week prior to the procedure. Lenses can change the shape of the cornea and we don’t want that.

About wearing make-up, my doctor said just on the day of the surgery I shouldn’t wear any. I guess also before it’s good to stay off maybe a day or two, just to make sure your eyes are properly cleaned from all possible remains.

Make sure to take someone along who will make sure you get home safe after the procedure. I was told to book about 2 hours for the day of the surgery, even though the actual time in the operation room will be less than 20 minutes.

The nurse assigned to assist in my surgery was the kindest person ever and I am still so grateful for her being there. The night before the surgery I started to get a bit nervous in addition to my anticipation of vision, but she gave me some fancy pink drugs that made me feel a bit tipsy, so that was taken care of. She explained again what was going to happen and that she’d be there all the time holding my hand and making sure the doc was doing a good job.

The operation room looked very Star Warsy and a bit intimidating. The SMILE procedure is only around since 2014 pretty much, so all the equipment is basically new. The laser is programmed exactly to your eyes, so that it won’t do anything unless your eye is in the exact right position it needs to be in. You’re given anaesthetic eye drops again and a device that keeps your eye open, so you cannot blink during the procedure. That already sounds way worse than it was, because of the anaesthetic you don’t even notice. Or maybe it was the happy drugs.

I was moved under the laser machine and instructed to look at a green light in front of you as the machine moved closer. To make sure your eye is in place and absolutely still, there is a suction ring on the machine, but honestly I felt absolutely nothing of that. If I hadn’t been told it was there I wouldn’t have even known. I only saw that green light I was told to focus on. Then the laser did it’s job – the procedure is kind of “narrated” by a voice from the machine “suction on” – “laser operating” – “suction off” – really like in those sci-fi movies where a friendly robotic female voice tells you when the space ship doors are unlocked or something. The fancy drugs made that even a tad entertaining. Nurse and doc counted down from 25 seconds, and that was over. The part following was when the surgeon removed the corneal material from my eye, but I also saw nothing. It was a bright white light, that’s all. There was some pressure on the eye as he told me to look left, right and down, but I saw no tools and there was no pain, maybe slight discomfort but that’s to be expected. This took about 5 minutes I was told, happy drugs kinda took away my sense for time. I tried not to think about the time or worry at all, and just let the doctor do his job. Naturally you’re required to remain absolutely still all the time, and basically this is also over before you know it.

After that, they moved on to the left eye, same thing – and I was done. Like I said, less than 20 or even 15 minutes in there and you’re done with the procedure.


Immediate after: straight after you leave the room I was told to keep my eyes open and walk to the resting room. My vision was blurry and dim, a bit like without glasses for me, some people described it as being under water (I didn’t think it was that strong though), so all in all just a blur but fine. I was escorted to the resting room where I was put in a very comfy chair with my feet up and given a juice box and chocolate. Totally my favourite part of that day. I napped for about 30 minutes until the doctor took me for a final check-up before they sent me home. He took a look with the microscope, told me everything went extremely well and my cornea was looking good, and I was free to leave.

Along with a little bag with eye drops and some info material, I was also gifted a small bottle of champagne to celebrate my newly acquired vision. Very thoughtful! Ha! Already in the pre-exam I got a prescription for antibiotic and cortisone eye drops, as well as the instructions to bulk up on artificial tear drops to moisturise. The prescription drops I would need to use four times a day for a week, starting the day of my surgery before I’d go to sleep at night.


During the day of the surgery: My nurse told me to “just don’t do anything for the rest of the day” – I had taken the day off and as soon as I got home I went straight to sleep. I woke up about 2,5 hours later and I could read the label of the sunscreen that was standing on the table at the other end of the room. And then I freaked out a little! I COULD SEE!!! It was all still pretty hazy but STILL!!! DAMN!!!! I was genuinely excited, but at the same time my eyes still felt pretty sore so it was hard to realise. The kind of soreness you feel when you wake up after falling asleep with your contacts, your eyes feel very dry and tight but not painful. Again, discomfort is a pretty good word to describe the whole thing, but it’s honestly not bad at all and for me it passed very quickly. Use as many moisturising eye drops as you want, those help a lot.

I could already go about things but you’re not allowed to go outside though to protect your eyes from the environment, wind and rain are bad ideas at this point. Reading was still difficult because it was all very hazy, but manageable. I just didn’t trust myself writing e-mails or doing anything relevant today. I have to admit that I was a bit paranoid that I would “break something” so by precaution I sat in the darkened bedroom for most of the day and listened to podcasts. By the evening I could already watch TV normally, although it gave me a slight headache and my eyes were very tired.

The first morning after the surgery: my eyes were already less sore, but I could see almost perfectly already, just with a tad of a haze still left but even that went away during the day. I could already go out for some shopping and a walk, again it was just my paranoia of accidentally reversing the surgery that held me back but of course that’s not possible. Mainly you have to be careful to not let anything come in your eye and you have to wear sunglasses for protection as well.


During the rest of the week: after the surgery, my vision got more stable day by day. At first I wasn’t sure if it was really corrected 100%, but on the third day I lost that thought. During the whole first week I needed to use both prescription eye drops four times a day, the first one right after you get up and the last one before you go to sleep at night. All that healing still is pressure on your eye, and my eyes got heavy and tired quickly.

What I also only read about a couple of days after but what makes total sense: also your brain has to re-adjust. Whereas in all the years before it got help to see properly, now it had to do all the work alone again. That was most likely the reason for the headaches I’d get rather quickly during the five days following the surgery, but also those got more faint. They were more these kind of annoying headaches you’d get after watching too much TV, I never felt like I needed to take a painkiller for it. From all the eyedrops I used, I had a lot of gunky pieces stuck between my eyelashes (sorry for TMI) and of course also your eye produces tears and other stuff. At first I was a bit afraid to properly clean it, as you’re not supposed to get water in your eyes, but as soon as the soreness went away I felt comfortable cleaning up almost normally. You’re also allowed to shower and wash your hair normally after the first day, just, again, careful to not get water in your eyes or rub them.

What still remained with me for a while was the paranoia! Who would have thought! I was so freaked out by the idea of getting something in my eye, pushing it too hard or what have you. One day I got a ray of sunlight in my eyes while I wasn’t paying attention and for the next two hours I kept opening and closing my eye, trying to focus on something in the far distance. I constantly had the feeling I “broke something” or that I’d mess it up, so I had a few waves of sudden panic (sounds way worse than it was). I guess it was hard for me to properly grasp that this was actually permanent and wouldn’t wear off again after a few weeks. Caution is surely good, but these freak-outs are probably not necessary 😀

But basically I could see perfectly and move around normally and two days after, or even the next day after the procedure, it was like nothing ever happened. Wearing sunglasses is a habit for me anyway, so that wasn’t much of a re-adjustment, but something that is strongly recommended by professionals. I kept using the moisturising eye-drops about 2-3 times a day, whenever I felt like it. I didn’t feel like my eyes were sore or particularly dry really, but I wanted to keep them fresh and taken care of.


UPDATE EDIT (7.9.2016): It is now over 5 months since I had the surgery and this week I had my final check-up. My eyes look great, the cornea is healed perfectly. A few weeks after the surgery it was still very dry, so I was instructed to use the eye drops more often, but it didn’t give me any discomfort. As for my sight, I have an astigmatism of -0.25 left on both eyes which I curiously only notice in my right eye. I only realise it when I close one eye and try really hard to focus on something very very far away, and that’s it. I can read everything, I can see everything. Extremely minor details are a tad less sharp on my right eye, but as said before, I don’t notice it. With both eyes not at all and with the individual eye only when I really make an effort. When my doctor corrected it in the exam room with glasses, I couldn’t really feel much of a difference.

I have a guarantee of two years for my eyes, so if something should worsen to -0.75 or more, I can get it “finetuned”. It can happen that there is a bit of a “leftover”, I was warned about it, but I was also assured that it is most likely not going to be necessary. I have lost the “fear” of the sight wearing off again after a few weeks, but I still like to use the eye drops after a long day or a lot of wind when I feel they dried up a bit. Conclusion: I can see as perfectly as I ever could and I’m as happy as a clam!


UPDATE EDIT (06/2017): Had my one year check-up exam and my sight was categorised as Prima so basically I have the prime category of all the vision 😉 so it couldn’t get any better than it is now. Hooray! No aftereffects, only happiness 🙂


The way I was able to go about my daily routine was really somehow life-changing. No need to think about lenses when taking a nap, no more stains on glasses, no more worrying about having lens-fluid in the house. It’s amazing. I’m absolutely mind-blown by how quickly and simple this whole procedure was. I know that being nervous is part of the whole deal and everyone gets cold feet right before it. But I can only encourage you to consider it, if you were scared before. SMILE is so gentle on your eye and it’s really absolutely incredible. I was of course very lucky with my doctor (and nurse!) who I felt extremely safe and comfortable with, from the first moment on. I never had doubts about it after my first appointment, I was always looking forward to it pretty much – despite the anxiety right before the surgery. If you want the details of my surgeon or the clinic in Helsinki I went to, send me a message. HAPPY VISION!


  • Veera Bianca

    So glad you did this and it’s all done now and WE CAN LOOK AT THINGS <3 

  • Iris

    Hi! Thank you for such a reassuring post! I’m scheduled for my operation tomorrow and nervous, can’t imagine what to expect. I can’t even imagine seeing so even that part is a little scary, sounds weird but oh well 😀 When were you able to drive? I took a week off but I need to drive in a week.

    • kathrin

      Hey! Good luck for tomorrow and thanks for your nice comment! I think you could even drive the next day. A week will be totally fine, don’t worry about it! It will be amazing (and, yes, a bit weird 😉 ) Let me know how it went, I’m curious!

  • Ryan

    Great info, I was not aware of this procedure. I think my wife would love to have it. What clinic did you use? Good stuff on your blog.

    • kathrin

      Thank you! Glad you found it helpful so far. I sent you an e-mail with the details of the clinic and the doctor. Have a nice day!

  • Dani

    Hi! I had the Smile Procedure 4 Days ago…in General i can See, Walk etc.. Withou glasses, but it is a bit blurry and hazy. After how many days did your tad of a haze disapperead? I am in Paranoia! Thank you very much!

    • kathrin

      Hey, oh I’m so sorry to hear that and also that it took me so long to get back to you! I hope things cleared up by now – all I could have said anyway that you should definitely consult a doctor immediately! For some people it just takes a bit longer to heal, I guess. Good luck!!

  • James

    I’ve got my appointment next week. Thanks for sharing Kathrin! Makes me feel much more comfortable after reading other’s successful and positive experiences.

    • kathrin

      Hi James, thanks a lot for that! Glad you found it helpful – best of luck with your appointment! Enjoy that vision 🙂

  • G1

    Hey thanks for this awesome post. Just landed here after couple of google searches. I read lot of literature about lasik. The general worlwide opinion is that the long term effects of smile lasik are still unkown whereas lasik has some proven records. Feel so happy to read your post after reading all those negative views about smile lasik. Thinking to go for smile .


    • kathrin

      Hey, thanks for that! Of course the longterm effects and results are something to consider. In the end the LASIK is similar to SMILE – the actual laser procedure is the same and only the “opening” of the eye is what is mainly different, and for me that was the crucial part that made me go for it. It’s so minimally invasive, it literally healed within a couple of hours, which is simply amazing. I’m happy every day I did it! Good luck to you!

  • Edwin

    Hi Kathrin, I have been wearing glasses for the past 20 years and I am starting to consider going for SMILE. May I just a few questions to clear my doubts ( or rather fears! )?
    1) I have not worn contacts before as I freak out having to touch my own eyes. Will this be a problem for me?
    2) You mentioned that one should not blink for the entire operation. Do you need to control or consciously remind yourself about this?
    3) I went to look up videos of the process and I was freaked out with all the tools they used. However you said that you don’t see all these at all. Can I confirm this again with you?
    Sorry if some of the questions sound silly but like what you said, anything to do with eyes, opening, cutting make me nervous so I need to be sure of what I am into. Thank you.

    • kathrin

      Hi Edwin, thanks for getting in touch! I hope I can help you:
      1) You don’t have to touch your eyes, on the contrary, you shouldn’t 😉 as long as you manage to put eyedrops in, you will be fine.
      2) This is probably the only part of the procedure that is a bit uncomfortable, as they keep your eyes open with a small clamp. You’ll be given anaesthetic eyedrops before so you don’t feel anything but a little bit of pressure. But everything is over so fast that it’s a small price to pay for the result 🙂 it’s not pleasant but not painful or anything, and it’s over before you know it. (I felt like I was blinking but apparently it didn’t affect anything.)
      3) don’t be freaked out by what you see in videos. Go for a consultation and ask your doctor exactly how and what they will do. This really helped me to understand what’s happening and when you trust your doctor, it will help you be more relaxed about what’s going on. I didn’t see anything after the laser did its job. And there is no feeling or anything whatsoever that even remotely felt like having my eyes operated. There will be a bit of pressure on the eye and of course it’s not pleasant, but for me there was no pain, no soreness even. Things are hazy and dry for a day or two. The idea freaked me out as well, but I would do it again in a heartbeat.

      Don’t be afraid to ask any questions, it’s not silly at all. I had a thoroughly positive experience, and I hope you will too – if you decide to go for it. 🙂 Best of luck to you! Hope this helped!

  • Natalia Cho

    Hi Katrin, Thanks for such a great write up about your experince. I have been following RELEX Smile research for about 4 years now…I want to wait until its perfected. I found your story about the whole experince very interesting. I think I would like to go for it soon.

    I would love to know the Dr and Clinic where you had your operation done.

    • Natalia Cho

      Hi Kathrin, I realized I had another question for you. I am a software developer and one of my main worries about laser surgery is dry eye issues making working for many hours a day in front of a computer more difficult. I know that RELEX Smile does not damage as many tear-production related nerves in the eyes, so that is one of the appeals for me.

      I see your career involves computers too – have you noticed any lingering effects from the surgery on your eye dryness? Was there any impact on your ability to work in front of a computer as much as you need to?

      • kathrin

        Hi Natalia, thanks for your comments and your questions!
        Regarding the computer work and the dryness, for me it has actually gotten much better. Wearing contacts has been much harder on my eyes, and also working with glasses was much more uncomfortable for me. It was maybe the first week or two where my eyes got very tired easily, but it passed quickly and it wasn’t sore, really. In the following weeks I still had to use the eye drops every once in a while, but it was not really an issue for me. Right now everything is fine and I have zero problems with that. My cousin had LASIK done five years ago and she still has problems with dry eyes now. I hope this helps you further! I will send you an e-mail with the clinic and doctor 🙂 Have a nice day!

  • Ty

    How are you eyes now? I’m 4 weeks in and could see 20/20 on my left and 20/30 on my right. Compared to my left eye, the right just looks more blurrier with some shadow/double vision effect if i try to focus on anything far, too small or bright signs with lights on it. What do you think? Will it get better over time? Am I being inpatient?


    • kathrin

      Hey Ty, please consult your doctor over this, I am only sharing my own experience here but I have no medical knowledge on this matter whatsoever! I hope things clear up for you soon, literally! 🙂

  • Rohan M.

    Hey, Kathrin!

    Like the others above and you, I’ve also had quite a lot of paranoia regarding all sorts pokey objects in my eyes. I’m going to get my Smile op done this week and have been so uneasy. This is by far the most reassuring post I’ve read so far. Thanks for being so personal and relatable in your writing, you are what makes the internet a great place.


    • kathrin

      Thanks for your lovely comment Rohan! Good luck with the surgery! I’m sure it will all be fine! It’s over before you know it and it’s a small inconvenience for the result you’ll get 🙂 all the best to you!

  • Ty

    Hi Kathrin,

    I had my Relex SMILE laser on both of my eyes 6 weeks ago. My left eye is perfect; however, i’m a bit concerned with the blurriness on my right eye.

    When I went for my 1 week post-op check, I could read the 20/15 line with my left eye. All the letters above that line look really sharp and clear. I couldn’t see anything below that line because the letters were too small.
    Conversely, I could see up to the 20/30 line on my right eye, but all the letters on that line, and anything above and below it still look blurry. I could make out the letters above the 20/30, but they are not as sharp as my left eye.

    I work with computer all day, and I haven’t experienced “too” many issues staring at the screen and making out finer details on it. In saying that, I really want my right eye to get a bit going forward. My eye doctor didn’t really comment too much on this, other than telling me “it’s still healing”.

    My right eye hasn’t improved much over the past weeks, so do you think it’s as good as it gets? Or do you think I should be more patient and wait it out for a bit longer?

    • Shweta

      Hello Ty,

      I wanted to ask you if you are still facing the same issue with your right eye. Having the same issue, my doctor has told me to continue with the drops. Did you have to undergo any other treatment or further surgery?

      • kathrin

        Hi there! Sorry to hear you have that issue. It’s so minimal that it doesn’t really make sense to get surgery again, I barely notice it at all. There’s less than -0.25 left on the eye, which is too little to even correct with glasses for instance. I’m also still using the drops here and there, but it’s not affecting the sight itself. Good luck with it!

  • Jhon Bucciachio

    Hi, Kathrin

    I had my Eye Laser Surgery done 4 month ago and now I am facing some issues like I can’t see things so clearly it is a bit blurry. I am a working person and have to work on computer for like 8 hours and my eyes start paining after 4 hours please suggest me something so I can get rid of it.

    Thank you

    Jhon Bucciachio

    • kathrin

      Hi Jhon, sorry to hear you’re having issues. Please consult your doctor. I only shared my experience here, I am in no way at all qualified to give any advice. All the best and a nice day to you!

  • Katie


    Thanks so much for writing about your experience, very thorough! I had the procedure done 7 days ago and have noticed the tired eye feeling and slightly headachey feelings you talked about so I’m relieved I’m not the only one! How long did it take for this to settle down for you?

    • kathrin

      Hi Katie, thanks for your comment! I hope you’re feeling better already now 🙂 I think it got so faint at some point during the second week that I don’t even remember actively when it went away, but definitely after two weeks.

  • Smit


    You have -0.25 left in both eyes because of dryness? Or you are under corrected with the SMILE procedure?

    • kathrin

      Hi! At this point it is -0.25 undercorrected, which is still well within the normal frame of up to -0.75. But as mentioned, I don’t even notice a difference between -0.25 and 0.00. It’s so minor.

  • Grace

    Hi there!

    Thanks so much for your post, it’s really helpful. I was going to get LASIK, however I have dry eyes so my surgeon has suggested that I go for the SMILE procedure instead. I’ve got a few questions and would be delighted if you could help me out!
    1. Reading
    Can you read after ReLex SMILE? I’m an avid reader and am short-sighted. I have considered going for the surgery, however I have some reservations as I am afraid that I will no longer be able to focus on written texts in paper books and e-readers (including those with e-ink and LCD screens). Would you be able to let me know whether you are still able to read as well as you were able to before after the surgery?
    2. Stargazing
    Another thing – can you still stargaze? Stargazing is one of my favourite past-times and I’m worried that I’ll no longer be able to see the stars (due to me hearing about horror stories regarding haloes, starbursts and decreased contrast sensitivity). Do you notice that you can’t see stars any more after the surgery?
    3. Computer Work
    Can you see your screen well? Can you work as you could before on your laptop?
    4. Night Vision
    Do you have any problems with driving at night or seeing in low-light conditions? Do you have problems with contrast sensitivity and discerning colours and shades in darker lighting?

    Thanks so much!

    • kathrin

      Hi Grace, thanks for your comment! Glad you found it helpful. Regarding your questions:
      – Reading: no problems at all. As mentioned in the post, during the first week or two I had headaches from focussing and re-adjusting, but nothing remains of that.
      – Stargazing: very good question. I wouldn’t say I actively stargaze a lot, but I still see the stars and shooting stars properly, but I haven’t “tested” it over a longer period of time.
      – Computer work: I actually have less problems than before, my eyes got very tired and sore from wearing contacts while doing screenwork. After SMILE that got much better. As mentioned regarding the reading, it takes some time to adjust for your eyes but for me it’s perfect now.
      – Night Vision: here I have VERY minor issues, for example that I can’t read the tiny text on a poster across the room that well anymore if the light is low. But I wouldn’t say it’s an issue while driving or generally a problem, no.

      I hope this helps your further! I can only encourage you to go for it, for me it has been the best decision I could have made.

  • david

    Do you know your own relex smile optical zone mm and cap data mm ?

  • Haameem

    Thank u for such a great article.I had my surgery on January 2 , but I have hazy vision…. especially lights appear foggy…..I m worried…

  • Adam Smith

    Just thread through your story a few weeks ago! I’m booked in for May 25th! Nervous and excited at the same time but your story gave me more confidence in the journey, thank you.

    • kathrin

      Ah I’m so happy to hear that, thanks Adam! Good luck with everything!

  • Sabi

    Hi Kathrin,
    So good to hear your experience. Thank-you! I am also considering this procedure but I am not sure yet if I should actually do it. I am just worried if something goes wrong and it will affect my eyes even more..Can I ask how is it going with your vision and eye condition now after a year or so? Also could you please share your eye clinic and the doctor who treated you? I am also living in Helsinki at the moment 🙂

    Thank-you so much <3<3

    • kathrin

      Hi Sabi, glad you found the post helpful! I should add a one-year-update, good that you said that! But basically I have nothing really to add from the last one. Everything is perfect and I’m so happy with it. I will send you an e-mail with the clinic and doctor. I’m not a professional so I can’t tell you about the risks and possible outcomes, but you can always schedule a free consultation and ask the doctor everything that’s on your mind. For me everything went as well as it could possibly have and I’d recommend it to everyone based on that. Hope this helps!

  • Elena

    Hi Kathrin, I have dry eye problem now. Is this still ok to do the surgery?

    • kathrin

      Hi Elena, thanks for your comment! I’m just sharing my experience here, I am not a medical professional. Please consult a doctor about this 🙂 all the best to you!

      • Elena

        Hi Kathrin, thanks for your reply. How are you feeling now? Any aftereffect?

  • Ariadne

    I just did the Smile procedure two days ago, after seven years of chickening out of eye laser surgery. I basically couldn’t live without my specs and contact lenses: my prescription was -8 and -5.
    The procedure was quick and painless and two days on I can see incredibly well from afar. I’m just a bit concerned that I’m still seeing hazy and blurred close-up; I struggle to read my emails and text messages – and working on computers is my job. Obviously, I appreciate everybody’s healing time is different. Did you see well immediately? Is there anyone on this forum who experienced the same thing?
    Obviously, I’m bracing myself for weeks of paranoia, which is normal. I’m just grateful to all the staff at Saint James Hospital Eye Clinic in Malta who are so professional, gentle and reassuring. I’m glad I finally bit the bullet and did the surgery. I have no regrets.

    • kathrin

      Hi Ariadne, I hope everything is going well! I was also paranoid for no apparent reason, but it was gone a few weeks in. I also struggled with reading up close during the first couple of days, so I wouldn’t worry about it. It still needs to heal 🙂 All the best to you!

  • Gregor Diel

    Hi folks, I was considering to go for relex smile surgery, but I freaked out when I learned that adverse events were downlabeled as complications at that the real percentage of people unhappy with relex smile or lasik is between twenty and thirty percent.
    Please visit
    I am very sceptical now and curious if my anxious comment here will not be taken away.
    Money rules the world.
    Please share your opions on this.
    Love Gregor

    • kathrin

      Hi Gregor, thanks for your comment! Sorry to hear that you are having doubts. I can only say that in my post I have been sharing my personal experience which has been nothing but positive – and so far from anyone I know who has actually done the procedure I haven’t heard anything about complications or issues, and everyone I know personally is truly happy with the results (both immediate and long-term).
      Of course I am no medical professional. Please discuss this with a doctor and everyone’s case is different and you will be educated regarding possible risks. Don’t rely on internet research only, the link you shared does not work and I couldn’t find any reliable sources to back up the claim that the percentage of people happy with their surgery is that low. Everyone has to decide for themselves if this is an option for them, and for me it has only changed my life for the better and I would do it again in the blink of an eye. I am also not paid for this, I shared my experience because I would have liked to read something like this before I went into surgery, neither the clinic nor doctor are mentioned so it doesn’t give the impression of an advertisement of some sorts. Just an experience report here 🙂
      All the best to you! Kathrin

  • Hanny

    Hi Kathrin,
    Thank you very much for sharing your own experience.
    I want to ask whether you did your surgery in Helsinki. If yes can you please share me some information concerning the clinic you were at? Moreover, it is 1 year 2 months after your surgery, how good is your vision now? Any problems arise?
    Thanks and Best regards

    • kathrin

      Hi Hanny, thanks for your message! I will send you a private e-mail with the information on the doctor and clinic.
      No problems at all, I had the last check up 2 months ago and my vision was marked down as “as good as it could be” so I’m super happy! Good luck!

  • Andy

    HI Kathrin

    Thank you very much for your very informative post. I read your blog the evening before my surgery (originally I had planned LASIK, but this was changed to RELEX as I have a thin cornea) and it was very helpful, really calmed the nerves! I am now on the 5th day following the procedure and the vision is much better, I can drive, use a computer, etc, without a problem.

    My only questions is how long it took before your vision stabilised? I would say at the moment I have about 90% of the vision I had when I was wearing glasses, and it’s the little things like far-off motorway signs, clocks, etc I can’t read. Just looking for your experiences, apologies if you have already explained it and I’ve missed it.

    Thanks again


  • T

    Hi Kathrin, thank you for sharing your experience. It was very informative and helpful. Please can you PM me the details of the clinic and doctor you used. Thanks, T

  • Timothy Huertas

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. I got smile yesterday and was a bit nervous my vision would never return 🙂 it’s already at 20/25 and getting better. Hearing your story let me know that my concerns are normal.

  • P

    Thank you very much for sharing your experience. I have the smile operation in 2 weeks and I’m a little nervous. my doctor said it will take 3 weeks to see perfectly 🙁
    and im worried to move my eyes when im under the laser!
    anyway thank you so much for your story.
    have a good day.

  • Trang

    Thank you for your post and detailed answer and sharing. May I ask what is the clinic and doctor that you went to?

    • kathrin

      Hi and thank you for your comment! I will send you an email with the clinic and name of the doctor. Best wishes!

  • Chris

    For all of you reading this currently contemplating ReLex SmILE surgery, please stop and ask yourself what is more important to you, not having to wear corrective lenses, or having your best possible vision?
    A vast majority of laser corrective eye surgery patients including myself end up with significantly worse eyesight post surgery compared to corrected eyesight pre-surgery.
    Somebody asked about star gazing, for me, forget about it, I can barely make out street lights at night. The bottom line is unless you’re very lucky, you will likely not see as well after surgery as you did with your corrective lenses. Half of the other patients in the surgery office I met were having some kind of secondary correction after their first surgery. Should have been a bigger red flag than it was, but I had heard many stories such as the author of this blog, talk about their great experience, and I was sure I’d be one of the lucky ones, the others were just statistics. Not true, everybody loses some vision after the surgery, unless your vision was not fully correctable before the surgery. I highly recommend steering clear if you have better than “perfect” vision with lenses, your vision will likely be degraded after surgery. Good candidate is somebody whose got some astigmatism already and is only correctable with lenses to 20/20 or 20/30.

    It’s a cosmetic surgery like breast implants. Sure it may look nice, and offer some convenient benefits, but for all intents and purposes is less functional than without the surgery.

    • kathrin

      Hi Chris, thank you for your comment! I’m sorry you had a negative experience. I have just shared my personal one here, and 3 years later I still stand behind this post. According to the stats from the clinic I went to, about 2% of patients need a correction after the first surgery, so at least here it is not the vast majority. Of course everybody’s experience is different and any surgery is a risk, always. I can say that for me it has tremendously improved my life quality and I would do it again in a heartbeat. But that’s a very personal choice. I wish you all the best and good luck in the future!

  • Chris

    It’s very misleading to not allow comments critical of ReLEx SMILE procedure or Lasik in general. I had a very negative experience with it and it’s hurtful to your readers to deprive them a fair shake.

    • kathrin

      Hi Chris, I’m sorry you had to wait. I approve all comments within 24 hours, I’ve been offline spending the weekend with my family. Every opinion and experience is welcome here. Best wishes to you!

  • Alecu Alexia

    Hi! I want to know if you see perfectly fine when is dark too. Do you have halo/glare or double vision at night? Do you see perfectly at night as before the sugery? Also, did they tell you what will happen if during or after a future pregnancy your diopters will raise? Will they go back to normal or remain with those dioptres? Thank you in advance for the reply. Have a nice day!!

    • kathrin

      Hi Alexia! Thanks for your comment! I don’t have and never had any halos, glaring, or double vision. In the darkness I see the same way I did before, at least I can’t actively say that I noticed a difference. But of course, this is just my personal experience. About the pregnancy issue, I didn’t ask about that as for me personally it’s not relevant, so best to check that with your doctor. Good luck and I hope this was somewhat helpful! Kathrin

  • Winnie


    I stumbled across your blog and am contemplating doing the Relex SMILE surgery in Helsinki, can you please let me know where you got the procedure done, and the name of the doctor?

    Thank you!!

    • Ans

      Hi, I have the same question! Any recommendation for the clinic or specialist in Helsinki?

  • Shaun


    I’m about a month post-op for my RELEX surgery, and it seems my eyes were a bit worse than yours in terms of prescription (I was -6) and astigmatism. At the moment I have to strain and squint when reading fine text because of the bluriness.

    How long did it take for you to be able to read fine text without any problems?

    • kathrin

      Hi Shaun, thanks for your comment! It’s been a few years now since my surgery so I can’t say for sure anymore, but I don’t recall any particular issue with reading fine text at all afterwards. Sorry, this probably isn’t very helpful! But as always, I am not a doctor, always check with your surgeon and an eye specialist. Good luck to you!

  • Jos

    Hi! Thank you for sharing your experience of Smile surgery. Glad to hear that everything went well. How much was you vision before the surgery? I’m also thinking of getting Smile, could you send me the name of the doctor and the place you went? Thank you! 🙂

    • kathrin

      Hi Jos, thanks for your comment, I’m glad you found it helpful! My vision was at -2.75 and -3.00 – so not extremely bad but bad enough to need glasses or lenses. Still all these years later my vision is pretty much perfect and I still think it was the best investment into my own well-being, I couldn’t recommend it more! I will email you the name of the clinic and doctor. Best of luck to you! Kathrin

  • Nikita Khlebushkin

    Hi! Thank you very much for such an informative and reassuring article! I am also considering to take an eye surgery, could you please share the clinic/doctor name? Thanks in advance!

  • WN

    Hi Kathryn, I appreciate the time you took to writing this post with all the little details. I’m someone who thinks too much and gets paranoid with random “possibly nonsensical” worries, so I definitely felt much more assured after reading your post. Just a quick question, if you do not mind, I’m wondering if Lasik/Smile would have any negative effects aesthetically wise. I often read that dryness in eyes causes more red blood vessels in the sclera or that the vessels become more prominent. And I also hear that eyes after Lasik/Smile becomes more dry as compared to pre-surgery, even if just a little more dry. So just thinking if that will cause more blood vessels or redness? Hoping you could share your experience with me 🙂

    • kathrin

      Hei! I’ve personally not noticed anything like that at all 🙂

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