• pain after lasik

Does Laser Eye Surgery Hurt?

One of the most com­mon deter­rents for LASIK eye surgery is the fear of LASIK eye surgery pain. If the pro­ce­dure was painful, cer­tain­ly few­er peo­ple would elect for the surgery, right? It seems only rea­son­able that if 20 mil­lion patients are under­go­ing LASIK, the pain must not be great. Yet, the fear per­sists.

There is a usu­al anx­i­ety around the blade or laser used dur­ing the refrac­tive surgery. Our eyes are sen­si­tive- think back to the wild dis­com­fort you feel get­ting a bit of soap or a speck of dust in your eyes. The oth­er parts of the body do not react the same way. It’s only nat­ur­al that we are hes­i­tant to let a med­ical instru­ment near our eye.

Let’s get to the bottom of the LASIK pain mystery.

Does LASIK hurt? The answer is no with the slight­est fol­low-up of a ‘but’. Nei­ther the surgery nor post LASIK care is painful, but patients can expe­ri­ence mild dis­com­fort. There is a big dif­fer­ence between these two sen­sa­tions, pain and dis­com­fort, and it’s impor­tant to note that the less­er of the two: dis­com­fort.

Discomfort is associated with laser eye surgery post surgery care in the following ways:

  • Tem­po­rary itch­ing sen­sa­tion sev­er­al hours after oper­a­tion
  • Gen­er­al tem­po­rary dis­com­fort sev­er­al hours after oper­a­tion
  • Blur­ry vision imme­di­ate­ly fol­low­ing pro­ce­dure
  • Hazi­ness imme­di­ate­ly fol­low­ing pro­ce­dure

Dry eyes are the worst symp­tom patients expe­ri­ence. The physi­cian will pre­scribe eye drops and over the counter lubri­cat­ing drops, but if the drops are not tak­en as sug­gest­ed, the dry­ness can get extreme­ly uncom­fort­able. The dis­com­fort can last for sev­er­al weeks as the cornea heals. Patients with pre-exist­ing dry eyes are often turned down from the pro­ce­dure to avoid severe pain in LASIK post op care.

Dry eye symptoms include:

  • Sandy, grit­ty feel­ing in the eyes
  • Burn­ing sen­sa­tion
  • For­eign body sen­sa­tion, like some­thing is in your eye
  • Sen­si­tiv­i­ty to light
  • Pain in the eyes (occa­sion­al­ly)
  • Heavy feel­ing of the eyes

Why are the eyes dry post-surgery?

LASIK cre­ates a corneal flap dur­ing the pro­ce­dure. It is pos­si­ble that the flap dis­rupts corneal nerves that are in com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the tear glands. If the nerves can­not effec­tive­ly com­mu­ni­cate to the tear glands that lubri­ca­tion is nec­es­sary, the flow of tears slows and the eyes become dry.

How long do dry eyes last?

Dry eyes after LASIK last only a few weeks, or as long as it takes the cornea to heal. Dur­ing the heal­ing process, the nerve end­ings are able to regen­er­ate, com­mu­ni­ca­tion returns to nor­mal between the nerves and tear glands, and the eyes become nat­u­ral­ly lubri­cat­ed once again.

Even with these post care symp­toms, remem­ber that the body is only expe­ri­enc­ing dis­com­fort as the eyes heal to grant you per­fect vision. If you can­not dis­tin­guish the dif­fer­ence between pain and dis­com­fort or you feel cer­tain that you are expe­ri­enc­ing pain, reach out to your physi­cian imme­di­ate­ly. There should not be any real pain fol­low­ing your LASIK pro­ce­dure!

If LASIK does not hurt, what sensations will I feel?

Before the pro­ce­dure, patients receive numb­ing eye drops to elim­i­nate the pos­si­bil­i­ty of pain or feel­ing dur­ing the pro­ce­dure, but there are some sen­sa­tions observed, includ­ing:

  • Adjust­ment to of blink­ing as eyes are held open, like putting con­tacts in
  • Awk­ward pres­sure or suc­tion feel­ing as physi­cian cre­ates corneal flap

The mys­tery of won­der­ing, “does LASIK eye surgery hurt?” is solved. Expect no pain as you final­ize your plans with Dia­mond Vision to regain your eye sight and reac­quaint your days with the con­ve­nience of being glass­es and con­tacts free.

March 31st, 2017|Comments Off on Does Laser Eye Surgery Hurt?

About the Author:

Born in Connecticut and raised in Upstate New York , Dr. Stetson graduated Cum Laude from Colgate University in New York, and then earned an MD degree with honors at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. He distinguished himself again in residency at the Albany Medical Center, where he obtained the highest percentile in the Ophthalmology Knowledge Assessment Examinations. Dr. Stetson has performed more than 50,000 refractive surgeries and has been on staff at Diamond Vision since 2004, before becoming Medical Director in 2006.


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