SMILE Laser Eye Surgery Becoming Increasingly Popular as Glasses Users Deal with Mask Fog Amid COVID-19

(as originally aired on CBS Baltimore)

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A new type of eye surgery has become increasingly popular during the COVID-19 pandemic because many people are finding their glasses fogging up when wearing a mask.

“It’s called SMILE laser eye surgery and SMILE is short for small incision lenticule extraction,” Goel Vision Medical Director Dr. Sonny Goel said.

SMILE is an alternative to LASIK that was approved by the FDA in 2017. Dr. Goel said he was the first to offer it in Maryland last year.

“Think of it as a small incision LASIK. We’re able to treat it without making a large corneal flap, just making a very small incision up under the upper eyelid,” Dr. Goel said.

If you’ve found yourself frustrated while walking around during the pandemic when your glasses fog up, this surgery might be just the thing to help you out.

Both SMILE and LASIK have been popular during the pandemic, but SMILE is less invasive and the recovery time is shorter.

Melissa Nelson is of about 500 patients at Dr. Goel’s practice that has had the surgery done.

“By the next day, I was able to drive, wear eye makeup, rub my eyes,” Nelson said.

Dr. Goel said the treatments are similar and right now is charging $4,500 for the surgery for both eyes.

“This has just been a game-changer for them,” Dr. Goel said. “They’ve been really impressed by how quick and easy the procedure is, how they’re back to work the next day and how they just didn’t think it would be that quick.”

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