BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - You've heard of Lasik. But have you heard of Smile?
It's a new type of technology to correct your vision, and it's only offered at 30 places in the country.
One of those places is right here in the Twin Cities.
"I literally had glasses everywhere, upstairs, downstairs, everywhere. Now I don't have to worry about that," said Renae Herman, a Smile patient.
"I was a minus 5 and a quarter in both eyes, so fairly blind, couldn't drive without my contacts or anything like that, couldn't go swimming without glasses on," Herman said.
Herman, who struggles from dry eye and seasonal allergies, was always skeptical of Lasik. One of the potential side effects from that form of laser surgery is dry eyes.
So when she heard that Smile is less invasive and less likely to lead to complications, she was on board.
"Smile laser vision corrective surgery is the latest evolution in laser refractive surgery," said Y. Ralph Chu, medical director and opthalmologist at Chu Vision Institute.
Chu performed the laser surgery on Herman's eyes. His is the first, and only, surgical center in Minnesota to use this technology, which was recently approved by the FDA.
"There are many patients out there who are afraid of Lasik, who haven't had Lasik because they're told they are bad candidates because they have dry eye," said Chu. "And now Smile offers an opportunity for those patients to re-look at laser vision correction."
The procedure only takes a few minutes, with the laser portion lasting about 30 seconds. And it requires only a tiny incision, as opposed to a large flap with Lasik.
"With Smile we make a small incision in the cornea and we sort of create a contact lens piece of tissue that is removed from the eye through that small incision, and that's what corrects the vision," said Dr. Chu.
"It's just easier all around," said Herman. "I say just do it. It was awesome. It's probably the best thing I've done."
The total estimated cost of the procedure is $2,000 for each eye.