SMILE Vision Correction Minneapolis

SMILE is the latest FDA-approved LASER technology for both astigmatism and nearsightedness. Chu Vision is the first and only practice in Minnesota to offer the procedure.

If you’ve been told you weren’t a LASIK candidate, Chu Vision has the full spectrum of LASIK alternatives and vision correction procedures to ensure a fit that’s best for your unique vision needs.

Join the thousands of patients who have experienced visual freedom with a SMILE procedure in Minneapolis, Bloomington, and St. Paul from refractive surgeon Dr. Ralph Chu.

SMILE Minneapolis testimonial Ronnie


My vision was horrendous. After seeing my mom get a vision procedure at Chu Vision, I seriously looked into it. Working as a hospital nurse, I work the overnight shift and my contacts made my eyes dry.  SMILE has changed my life. Waking up and being able to see perfectly is the coolest feeling ever.

Why Chu Vision for SMILE?

  • Only surgeon in Minnesota who performs SMILE

  • Chu Vision selected for 100+ FDA clinical trials

  • Trusted by Minneapolis for 25+ years

  • Calming and cheerful bedside manner

  • The broadest selection of vision procedures in Minnesota

  • Featured vision expert on local and national TV interviews

Schedule your life-changing experience now!

See if you are a SMILE candidate.

Find out if SMILE is for you right now.

What are the benefits of SMILE vision correction surgery?

  • Reduced risk of Dry Eye
  • Able to correct astigmatism and nearsightedness
  • You’ll get time with Dr. Chu before, during, and at your follow-up
  • Fast visual recovery
  • Quiet, comfortable, blade-free procedure
  • Freedom from glasses and contacts
  • No flap creation is needed


SMILE laser eye surgery is ideal for men and women with slight to severe myopia (nearsightedness) or astigmatism. Those who may not have been LASIK procedure or PRK candidates in the past could potentially benefit from this new technique. During your consultation at our Minneapolis office, Dr. Chu will assess the overall health of your eyes and determine which laser vision correction surgery is right for your needs. If LASIK surgery or PRK are ruled out, SMILE eye surgery could be an excellent alternative. Patients considering refractive error surgery should be at least 18 years old with a consistent eyeglass prescription.


Before we start your SMILE laser surgery, a member of our staff will numb your eyes using anesthetic drops and keep your eyes open and steady using a gentle device. During SMILE eye surgery, a computer-operated VisuMax femtosecond laser is used to create a thin, microscopic disc of corneal tissue called a lenticule that rests right beneath the surface of the eye. The lenticule of corneal tissue is then removed through a small opening, eliminating the need for a LASIK flap. SMILE is not performed on the surface of the eye, and there is no corneal flap, which means that your recovery time is often quicker than that of LASIK eye surgery or PRK. After SMILE surgery, you may experience less dry eye and discomfort throughout your healing period and in the future. SMILE laser eye surgery often takes fewer than ten minutes from start to finish and only 30 seconds of laser exposure. The majority of SMILE patients can go back to work within 24 hours following their SMILE laser eye surgery.


The wonderful thing is that a person’s vision often recovers very quickly after SMILE eye surgery. Since SMILE patients do not have a large incision like LASIK patients, there is less incidence of dry eyes. Patients are usually able to resume their normal activities, like swimming, outdoor sports, and more, within the first week after SMILE eye surgery.


SMILE Minneapolis testimonial Jason


Going from blind-as-a-bat to being able to see in 40 seconds was stunning to me. My experiences with Chu Vision have been fantastic from top to bottom. I couldn’t recommend them more highly. It was a world-class experience.

  • Read more patient transformation stories

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Common Questions About SMILE

Is SMILE eye surgery permanent?

Laser vision correction using SMILE is essentially permanent. Regarding the permanence of laser eye surgery, there are several misconceptions. Many individuals believe that laser eye surgery eventually “fades.” It doesn’t.

At Chu Vision Institute, we only utilize leading-edge equipment and the most advanced technology.  Additionally, our SMILE technology is based on the most recent SMILE FDA clearance from 2018, which permits the treatment of both astigmatism and nearsightedness (or myopia.) These innovative techniques expand the optical zones while also resisting the body’s inclination to regress the treatment.

How long does SMILE eye surgery take?

From start to finish, the SMILE procedure takes between 15 and 30 minutes. The laser part, however, just takes about 25 seconds per eye. As with all of our laser eye surgeries, you should plan to be in the office for two to three hours the day of your procedure to allow for check-in and recovery following the procedure.

How long do the results of SMILE eye surgery last?

The results of a SMILE procedure, which treats nearsightedness, with or without astigmatism, will be lasting if we treat patients with stable prescriptions.

As individuals become older and reach middle age, they could then need reading glasses. Additionally, as middle age advances, reading glasses may become less necessary.

Of course, having undergone a SMILE procedure doesn’t stop you from having a different procedure to address the need for reading glasses in middle age.

SMILE and the results of surgery are permanent. However, as we age, our eyes may change, and reading glasses may be needed.

Is SMILE surgery FDA approved?

In 2016, the FDA approved SMILE, the most recent development in laser vision surgery. It is now offered for the treatment of myopia and myopic astigmatism and has been demonstrated to be just as safe and effective as LASIK.

Is SMILE laser surgery safe?

SMILE, or small incision lenticule extraction, is a generally safe procedure with minimal side effects, similar to LASIK. Due to the absence of a corneal flap, SMILE has a lesser chance of leaving scars.

When can I go back to work after SMILE surgery?

The day after SMILE surgery, most patients may resume their jobs. For the majority of patients, SMILE healing does not prevent them from resuming their jobs again within 24 hours. Be sure to discuss with your doctor any concerns particular to your specific job so they can answer your questions and give you the best advice about returning to work.

What is the SMILE recovery process like?

After SMILE vision correction, most patients have a quick and relatively painless recovery period. Within 24 hours, the tiny incision where the lenticule (a tiny disc-shaped tissue) was placed heals. On the day after the treatment, it’s common to feel a little dry or have sleepy eyes. Following the treatment, the eyes are maintained at ease with a surgeon-recommended regimen of medication drops and artificial tears.

The majority of SMILE patients resume daily activities the next day, including driving, going to work, and engaging in light exercise. We advise SMILE patients to wait a week following their treatment before wearing makeup or going swimming.

Who is a good candidate for SMILE?

For many individuals, SMILE is a great choice for vision correction. It has been shown that the SMILE technique is both safe and reliable. With continuously high satisfaction ratings, SMILE offers outcomes that are strikingly comparable to those of LASIK. It’s important to remember that there are several different options to correct eyesight. Call our office today to schedule a comprehensive examination and see if SMILE is the right procedure for you.

Is SMILE eye surgery painful?

SMILE eye surgery is not painful. Anesthetic eye drops will be used to numb your eye before to the start of your SMILE treatment. Although the SMILE technique seldom causes actual discomfort, you could experience a minor pressure feeling. However, Dr. Chu will walk you through every stage of the process. Your eyes may feel unpleasant or dry after SMILE, but this will pass as your eyes recover. To keep your eyes comfortable, be careful to adhere to your post-operative instructions and take your drops on time. Your surgeon will give you further details about SMILE healing at your consultation.

How is SMILE different from LASIK?

Both SMILE eye surgery and LASIK laser eye surgery provide sharp, clear vision, yet their methods and technologies are different. An excimer laser is used in LASIK to remove a small amount of tissue after creating a tiny flap in the cornea, or outer layer of the eye. A tiny, disc-shaped piece of corneal tissue (known as a lenticule) is removed during the SMILE vision correction procedure via a very small opening. By altering the eye’s surface so that light entering the eye focuses effectively on the retina, SMILE and LASIK both correct eyesight. The incision made with LASIK is much larger compared to the much smaller incision used during SMILE laser eye surgery. The two surgeries are different, yet both yield amazing results.