To assess early visual outcomes and military task performance after small-incision lenticule extraction (SMILE) among U.S. military service members.
Warfighter Refractive Eye Surgery Program and Research Center and Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate, Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
Single-center, prospective, observational study.
The study was composed of active duty service members (n = 37) electing to undergo SMILE for myopia or myopic astigmatism. Testing performed preoperatively and at 1 month and 3 months postoperatively included uncorrected (UDVA) and corrected (CDVA) distance visual acuities, wavefront aberrometry, low-contrast visual acuity (LCVA), contrast sensitivity, and vision-related questionnaire. 14 participants underwent rifle marksmanship with spectacle correction before and without correction at 6 to 8 weeks postoperatively.
At 3 months postoperatively, the efficacy index was 0.96 and the safety index was 1.03. UDVA was ≥20/20 in 69 (96%) of eyes. LCVA change from baseline was significant under night vision condition. Eye problems contributed to 10% work and 20% activity impairments, both of which decreased to 0% (P = .001). The overall satisfaction rating for SMILE was high at 90.9 (95% CI, 85.3 to 96.5), and 95% of participants would be willing to undergo the procedure again. The median scores between preoperative and 6 to 8 weeks postoperative firing performance were comparable (34 vs 35, with and without correction, respectively; P = .247).
After the early recovery period, SMILE seems to preserve quality of vision, which appears to facilitate the accomplishment of tasks related to their work as military service members as well as performing activities outside of work.