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Is Laser Eye Surgery Painful?

Sometimes, a life without glasses may seem out of reach. But in the past, vision correction meant glasses, contacts, and even surgery. But today, new laser technology is making laser eye surgery a little more feasible. In fact, Lasik eye surgery is often touted as completely painless, with many patients undergoing the procedure and going to sleep immediately afterwards. But is that really the case?

Laser eye surgery may sound glamorous, but the reality is this procedure is not necessarily pain-free. Whether it’s done to correct vision or reshape the eye for a cosmetic benefit, laser eye surgery can be painful and inconvenient. Patients who have laser eye surgery often experience discomfort, swelling, and light sensitivity after the surgery. However, these side effects tend to be mild, and pain medication can effectively manage discomfort.

What Is Laser Eye Surgery?

Laser eye surgery, or ophthalmologic surgery, is a surgical procedure that corrects vision. The operation removes or reshapes tissue within the eye, allowing light to focus properly on the retina.

Millions of people all over the world have undergone laser eye surgery every year, and among them are many long-time contact lens wearers who find that after laser vision correction they are no longer required to use contacts or glasses. Laser vision correction is an outpatient procedure performed through a topical anaesthetic and usually takes less than an hour.

Fortunately, the procedure is far less invasive than some might imagine. Most laser vision correction procedures, including LASIK and PRK, are relatively painless. That said, some degree of discomfort is inevitable. For most patients, post-operative soreness is mild and temporary. However, some patients do have higher pain tolerance than others. It is important to understand that laser vision correction is a medical procedure and comes with risks. Not every person is appropriate for laser vision correction.

Can I Be Put Completely Under for Laser Eye Surgery?

When most people think of laser eye surgery, they think of someone sitting back in a darkened room and staring through a laser pointer. But laser eye surgery is nothing like what you see on the silver screen. The surgery only takes minutes, and most people see clearly within a few hours of waking up. However, it’s still important not to strain your eyes after the surgery. No matter how minor, surgery is still surgery! So it’s important to take proper rest and avoid any strenuous activities for a quicker recovery. If you have support at home to manage tasks, that’s great. But if you find yourself alone and in need of help with daily tasks and care after the surgery, you can consider hiring a caregiver for a temporary period. You can search online for “caregiver agencies near me” to find experienced professionals who can assist you with your chores, ensure you take your medications timely, help with your mobility, and provide overall support until you are fully recovered.

Here Are the Dos and Don’ts After the Laser Eye Surgery

The Do:

  • Wear your protective eye shield when sleeping the first few nights.
  • Take your eye drops as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Get as much rest as possible.
  • Wear safety goggles in dusty environments.
  • Wear sunglasses.
  • Schedule an appointment with your doctor 24 to 48 hours after your procedure and at regular intervals for the first 6 months.
  • Call your doctor immediately if you experience severe pain or if your vision gets worse instead of better.

Do not:

  • Use creams, makeup, or lotions for about 2 weeks following the surgery or if your doctor says so.
  • Use a whirlpool, a hot tub, or swim for 1-2 months
  • Spend time in dusty or smoky rooms.
  • Rub your eyes after the procedure.
  • Drive at night for at least a month after your surgery.
  • Play contact sports until your doctor says it’s OK. Determined sports such as boxing or football shouldn’t be played for at least a month.

What Are the Potential Side Effects and When to Call Your Eye Doctor?

The idea of having your glasses adjusted may seem like a minor annoyance, but it could actually impact your vision and eye health. Your eyes are constantly moving, and a slight misalignment could compromise your eye health. So, if you notice any of the following symptoms, call your eye doctor:


Floaters occur when your eye’s vitreous humour, a clear, gel-like substance inside the eye, slowly pulls away from your retina. Floaters may float around in your field of vision like your eyesight is blurry, or they may be more noticeable and look like specks or cobwebs.


Here’s a symptom that you might not think is a big deal. Twitching, or involuntary eye movement, can indicate a general lack of eye health. If your eyes are twitching, call your eye doctor immediately.

Double vision

Double vision occurs when two images overlap with each other, blocking each other out. If you are experiencing double vision is one very preventable side effect. Though there are potential side effects after undergoing laser eye surgery.

While laser eye surgery is effective at correcting vision problems, it also comes with some downsides, such as requiring the use of eye drops for up to 90 days and feeling itchy and irritated. But one of the biggest possible risks is that it may be painful. Laser eye surgery patients describe feeling the pressure, rubbing, and stinging when eye drops are applied. Some also report feeling a burning sensation in the eye. So, is laser eye surgery painful? That depends on the patient, the type of surgery they are doing, and where it’s being performed.

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