— Are small-invasive laser vision correction operations done in Russia using the Small Incision Lenticule Extraction method?
Yes, about 10 years already. Every year, more and more at conferences of ophthalmologists, questions arise not at the level of “What is this?”, But at specific practical nuances of technology. VisuMax lasers exist in several clinics in Russia, but it is much less used under ReLEx SMILE than under femtoLASIK. Historically, it happened in Russia that this technology is little used in the central part and is actively used beyond the Urals.
— What is the story with licenses for specific operations?
Zeiss sells cones with licenses. A cone — a replacement part adjacent to the eye — is purchased with a license to use a laser procedure, usually in batches of 10 or 100 operations. For example, 10 cones and 10 licenses are received. Licenses are driven through the laser menu, and it allows you to use the appropriate cones for the appropriate program types. Licenses for SMILE separately, for femtoLASIK separately, for FLEX, rings and additional corrections are also separate licenses. Most manufacturers of femtosecond and some excimer lasers have a similar situation. Licenses for excimer operations are not needed, perhaps, except on models of about 5 years old and older.
— And you can not get such a license for SMILE?
Easily. Firstly, this module in the laser is as an expensive option, so the device itself without the SMILE option is cheaper. Secondly, if this option is available, then licenses to carry out the operation ReLEx SMILE can be acquired only after conducting 5–10 test runs on pig eyes, then performing at least 10 femtoLASIK operations on patients, then 50 FLEX operations, and only after that Buy a SMILE license for a specific surgeon.