When you think of “laser eye surgery,” it’s not unusual to feel a little anxious. Maybe you’re thinking about traditional surgeries that use needles or other types of laser procedures that can cause discomfort like laser hair removal. Once you understand what the experience of LASIK surgery is actually like, you might be pleasantly surprised to hear that these concerns couldn’t be further from the truth.
If you think LASIK and PRK are dangerous, risky, or painful, you’re not alone. Dr. Richard Rothman and the team at LASIK of Nevada want to make sure everyone considering laser vision correction has a full understanding of the process. Once you realize how straightforward and comfortable the procedure is, it will help put your mind at ease.
What actually happens during laser eye surgery? Here’s a description of what happens before, during and after the LASIK procedure:
Your laser eye surgeon will put anesthetic (numbing) eye drops in your eyes so you don’t feel anything during the procedure except touch, stretch, and pressure. Your doctor will also use a gentle eyelid holder so you won’t have to worry about blinking during the procedure.
If you’re still feeling anxious prior to your procedure, your doctor may elect to give you an oral medication to help you relax. You also won’t feel any pain at the beginning of the procedure because your LASIK surgeon will have already given you numbing eye drops.
While most patients will feel touch, stretch, and pressure during the procedure, most patients are surprised by how little discomfort they actually feel. A helpful tip to put your mind at ease about any potential pain during your LASIK or PRK would be to talk to someone who has already had it done. It’s very likely that they were worried about the same things as you, but found the procedure to actually be much more comfortable than they expected.
The anesthetic drops will minimize any discomfort while the LASIK flap is being created as well as throughout the PRK procedure. There’s also no sensation of pain during the part of the procedure that reshapes the cornea with a laser.
The only time after laser eye surgery that patients can potentially experience some discomfort is during the immediate recovery period. This is usually minimized by properly following your surgeon’s instructions, such as taking a nap and properly applying eye drops.
With either LASIK or PRK, you may experience some temporary discomfort such as stinging, tearing, or mild to moderate foreign body sensation. These symptoms can usually be successfully treated with over-the-counter pain medication.
It’s also not uncommon for some LASIK patients to occasionally experience temporary dryness of their eyes during the healing process. To maximize comfort, make sure to use artificial tears after any refractive surgery.
After LASIK, it’s important to know how much pain is normal and how long it should last. Mild to moderate discomfort may occur in the first few hours after LASIK, but it shouldn’t last for more than four to six hours.
After PRK, healing of the surface of the cornea should be complete five to seven days after the procedure.
The recovery process for LASIK and PRK also includes surface healing and vision stabilization, which is normally not associated with any pain.
Does laser eye surgery hurt during the procedure? In most cases, it does not. However, it’s understandable for you to have concerns about pain as well as LASIK safety. The best first step to address your concerns about any procedure is to schedule a consultation where you can ask all your questions and learn if you’re a candidate for LASIK.
It’s helpful to rely on doctors and staff who are highly experienced with your procedure. Laser eye surgery is a safe and effective choice by millions of people worldwide each year. These procedures have enormous potential to painlessly improve the quality of your life.