Does LASIK Hurt?
A common concern for patients considering a laser vision surgery like LASIK is if the surgery is painful. Since patients are awake during laser eye surgery, this concern is understandable!
Does LASIK eye surgery hurt? The answer from most patients is “no.” Before surgery, Dr. Lipstock uses numbing drops on your eyes. These drops numb the pain sensing nerves, but not the pressure sensing nerves. Dr. Lipstock routinely gives patients Valium prior to surgery to help them relax and also after surgery to help them sleep.
During the procedure, the IntraLase laser creates the corneal flap by forming hundreds of thousands of tiny bubbles within the cornea at approximately 1/5 the depth of the cornea. To do this, a suction ring is applied to the eye to elevate the internal pressure of the eye – that’s when patients feel a pressure-like sensation for a about 30 seconds.
Most patients feel a mild to moderate amount of pressure. Occasionally one may feel an intense pressure feeling. This variability is due to differences in facial structure and how the suction ring fits onto the eye. We always advise patients that if it feels too uncomfortable we can easily stop and change to the PRK technique.
With PRK no suction ring is required and no discomfort is felt at all. Both procedures are excellent – the majority of patients who are candidates for either procedure opt for LASIK since it affords a faster recovery than PRK. With LASIK after the flap is made it is moved aside so the excimer laser can be used to change the shape of the underlying corneal tissue. After the flap is placed back in place, the quick surgery is complete.
Does Laser Eye Surgery Hurt in Recovery?
Some patients are more concerned about pain during recovery. Thankfully, recovery from the LASIK procedure is very fast. For about 3 hours after the procedure, you’ll feel a mild to moderate “foreign body” sensation. Usually we recommend that patients take a brief nap after returning home. By the time you wake up, most of the discomfort will have dissipated.
LASIK is a quick-healing procedure. In addition, we provide special eye drops to patients to speed the healing process and prevent infection. Most patients are able to return to work with clear vision and minimal discomfort the day after the surgery.