Does LASIK Hurt? | Dr. Edmiston Answers

March 13, 2024 | LASIK


LASIK, or laser in-situ keratomileusis, is a life-changing procedure that corrects near-sightedness, far-sightedness, and astigmatism and offers patients freedom from glasses and contact lenses. When considering LASIK eye surgery, one of the most common questions we hear at ClearSight is: "Does LASIK hurt?" It's a reasonable concern for anyone thinking about undergoing this procedure to improve their visual perception. The truth is, LASIK surgery involves advanced technology and techniques designed to minimize discomfort and promote a quick recovery. In this article, we'll dive into what you can expect during and after the procedure, addressing your concerns and helping you feel more at ease about the experience.

Does LASIK hurt?

No, LASIK does not hurt; patients will not experience any pain during the procedure. During the surgery, it's common to feel a slight pressure around the eye, but this is generally not described as painful. After the procedure, some individuals might notice a gritty sensation in their eyes, similar to having an eyelash inside, but this feeling usually subsides within the first few hours.

The misconception that LASIK is a painful procedure might stem from the early days of corneal refractive surgery, which has significantly evolved since the 1960s. Before LASIK's approval by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1999, earlier forms of refractive surgery did involve a level of discomfort. However, LASIK has had decades of technological advancements and procedural refinements, offering a much more comfortable experience. The procedure itself is quick, often lasting only a matter of seconds, and is designed to minimize discomfort.

If I won't feel any pain during LASIK, what will I feel?

Initially, you might feel mild pressure on your eye, similar to a light thumb press, as well as the unusual sense of being unable to blink due to a device that keeps your eyelids open. This is coupled with the experience of bright lights from the microscope, which can be momentarily startling. Additionally, the application of numbing drops may cause a brief moment of discomfort, but this sensation is fleeting, typically lasting no more than 10 seconds.

The LASIK procedure involves a few steps where sensation is present but not painful. Your eye will be kept moist and comfortable throughout, helping to minimize any feelings of dryness or irritation. When your surgeon creates the flap on the cornea, you'll likely feel pressure, but the local anesthetic eye drops ensure this isn't painful. The actual laser treatment, which reshapes the cornea, is painless, though some patients report feeling anxious about the sound of the laser. To help with this, an oral sedative is available to ease any nerves, making the overall experience as stress-free as possible. Undergoing LASIK eye surgery at ClearSight is designed to be as comfortable as possible, though it's natural to wonder what sensations you'll experience during the procedure, which is why we are here to answer any questions you may have before, during, and after your procedure.

Will I experience any pain during my LASIK recovery?

While the procedure itself is designed to be pain-free, some patients may experience a degree of discomfort in the initial hours following their treatment. To manage this, Tylenol or ibuprofen can be taken, which, along with the residual effects of the oral sedative, helps most patients to sleep comfortably through this brief period without significant discomfort.

During the early recovery phase from LASIK, any discomfort you may feel usually arises from inflammation as the eye begins its healing process. To combat this, patients are prescribed eye drops, including antibiotics and prednisolone, which play a crucial role in reducing inflammation and preventing infection. If there is any discomfort, it usually diminishes within the first few hours after the surgery. Experiencing severe pain is not common and should prompt an immediate consultation with your doctor to ensure a smooth recovery.

After your LASIK procedure you should follow your surgeon's post-op instructions carefully and avoid putting strain on your eyes so that they can heal optimally. This careful approach helps ensure that the recovery period is as comfortable and effective as possible, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of improved vision with minimal discomfort.

If I am worried about pain during LASIK, can I request general anesthesia?

The use of general anesthesia is avoided in LASIK surgery. Patients need to remain engaged by focusing on a specific light to guide the laser accurately, so being unconscious would be counterproductive. This approach ensures that the surgery's effectiveness and accuracy are maximized while you remain comfortable and pain-free.

For those considering LASIK surgery at ClearSight and concerned about potential pain, understanding the role of anesthesia and sedation can provide significant reassurance. The fear of pain during surgery often stems from concerns about inadequate anesthesia. However, when it comes to LASIK, pain is generally not an issue. The procedure involves minimal manipulation of tissue, and despite the cornea's sensitivity, the use of medications effectively ensures patient comfort.

LASIK differs from some other surgeries in that it doesn't require general anesthesia. Instead, the procedure uses numbing eye drops applied directly to the eyes, providing sufficient pain control due to the limited tissue involvement. These anesthetic eye drops are a standard part of LASIK care, ensuring the eye is fully numbed throughout the surgery.

Additionally, to help patients relax, an oral sedative is often administered. This sedation allows you to remain awake, alert, and able to follow instructions—such as focusing on a target light during the procedure—while feeling calm and comfortable. The importance of being awake during LASIK cannot be overstated, as active patient participation is crucial for the precision of the laser treatment.

Seeing Clearly: The Truth About LASIK and Pain

If you're still on the fence about LASIK due to concerns about discomfort, let us reassure you. At ClearSight, our priority is not only to enhance your vision but also to ensure your comfort and confidence throughout the entire process. Our team is ready to address any questions or concerns you may have, providing personalized care tailored to your unique needs.

Take the first step towards clear vision without fear. Contact ClearSight today to schedule your consultation, and let us guide you through a seamless, comfortable LASIK experience. Your journey to clearer vision should be exciting and we're here to make sure that's exactly what it is.

More FAQ's About Does LASIK Hurt

What kind of discomfort can I expect immediately after LASIK?

After LASIK at ClearSight, patients typically report feeling a temporary sensation similar to having an eyelash or a bit of sand in their eye. This mild irritation or scratchiness is normal and usually subsides within a few hours after the procedure. Our team ensures you have the appropriate aftercare instructions and eye drops to help alleviate these sensations quickly.

How long does it take for the eyes to heal completely after LASIK?

At ClearSight, most patients notice a significant improvement in their vision almost immediately after LASIK. However, complete healing and vision stabilization can take up to 3 to 6 months. During this time, it's normal to experience fluctuations in your vision. Our dedicated follow-up care ensures your recovery is smooth and comfortable.

Can LASIK cause headaches or eye strain during recovery?

Some patients may experience mild headaches or eye strain in the first few days following LASIK due to the adjustment period of their new vision. At ClearSight, we provide comprehensive guidelines to minimize discomfort, including tips on resting your eyes and managing screen time effectively during the recovery phase.

Is dry eye common after LASIK, and does it cause pain?

Dry eye is a common side effect of LASIK, but it's typically temporary. While it can cause some discomfort, ClearSight offers personalized treatment plans, including lubricating eye drops and other therapies, to manage dry eye symptoms effectively until they naturally subside as your eyes heal.

What measures does ClearSight take to minimize discomfort during LASIK?

ClearSight prioritizes patient comfort, utilizing the latest numbing drops and sedation methods to ensure a painless experience during LASIK. Our surgeons use state-of-the-art technology to perform the procedure swiftly and accurately, minimizing the duration of any uncomfortable sensations.

Can I take pain medication after LASIK if I experience discomfort?

Yes, at ClearSight, we may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers to manage any post-LASIK discomfort. However, we'll provide you with specific guidelines on what medications are safe to use and how to apply any prescribed eye drops to avoid interfering with the healing process.

Will wearing protective eyewear after LASIK help with discomfort?

Absolutely. ClearSight advises all patients to wear protective eyewear or sunglasses post-LASIK to shield their eyes from environmental irritants, which can help reduce discomfort. This is especially important in the first few days when your eyes are most vulnerable.

How can I tell if the discomfort I'm feeling after LASIK is normal?

At ClearSight, we ensure you know what sensations to expect during your recovery. Mild discomfort, such as dryness or sensitivity to light, is normal. However, we emphasize the importance of immediate communication if you experience severe pain or discomfort, as it could indicate a need for further assessment.

Does the LASIK flap creation cause pain?

During LASIK at ClearSight, flap creation is performed under topical anesthesia, making it a painless process. While you may feel pressure, our advanced techniques and the quick nature of the procedure mean you'll experience minimal discomfort.

What should I do if I experience unexpected pain days after LASIK?

If you encounter unexpected signs and symptoms, such as pain, days after your LASIK procedure at ClearSight, we urge you to contact us immediately. While significant discomfort is rare, prompt evaluation by our specialists ensures any issues are addressed quickly to maintain your comfort and eye health.


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