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LASIK Pain: What to Expect

By William Holcomb on May 10, 2015


A brown eye with a laser beam pointed at itIf you want to undergo LASIK surgery, there may be one thing holding you back: the fear of pain. It is completely understandable that patients have some reservations; after all, LASIK involves surgical treatment of the eye. However, patients who undergo LASIK surgery find that the procedure results in far less discomfort and time than they were expecting. In fact, many patients wonder why they delayed their decision to undergo LASIK. If you are concerned about LASIK pain, read this blog post from Dr. William E. Holcomb and the team at Holcomb Laser Center. We provide you with straightforward information about how long the LASIK procedure takes, what we do to prevent pain during surgery, and how you can minimize discomfort after surgery.

How Long LASIK Takes

The biggest source of distress and apprehension for many LASIK patients is the thought of having a laser or blade make contact with the eyes. The amount of time in which the eyes are actually operated on is minimal. During the first stage of LASIK surgery, an incision is made in the eye to create the corneal flap. This step takes mere seconds. The next stage of the procedure involves the reshaping of the cornea with an excimer laser. This step typically takes less than a minute. Once one eye is complete, the next eye is treated. Overall, the actual time that a blade or laser contacts the eyes lasts for less than three minutes.

Preventing Discomfort during Surgery

During the short amount of time in which the laser is in contact with the eyes, the eyes will be completely numb. Prior to performing surgery, we will apply local anesthetic eye drops. These eye drops prevent any discomfort during the actual surgical procedure. Instead of pain, you may feel some pressure when the blade or laser comes into contact with the eyes. The numbing eye drops will last for about one hour after surgery, so you will not experience any discomfort until that point.

Minimizing Pain after LASIK Surgery

For a few hours after the numbing medication wears off, patients experience a dry or gritty sensation of the eyes. The best way to minimize this discomfort is to take pain medication before it sets in, and take a nap immediately upon returning home. By taking pain medication early, you can stay ahead of any discomfort. By keeping your eyes closed, you allow time for the corneal flap to heal, and prevent any friction against the incision. If you are worried that you will not be able to fall asleep, keep in mind that you will be given anti-anxiety medication prior to surgery. This medication often leaves patients drowsy, making it easy to take a nap.

When patients awake from their nap a few hours after LASIK, they often find that the majority of the discomfort has subsided. For a day or two after LASIK, the eyes may feel a bit dry or tired. Use lubricating eye drops and over-the-counter pain medication to ease this discomfort.

To find out if you are a good candidate for LASIK surgery, contact Holcomb Laser Center today.

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