Does laser eye surgery hurt?

“Is laser eye surgery painful? This is one of the first questions any prospective patient raises. Let’s find out what sort of discomfort or pain, if any, you can expect if you undergo laser eye surgery.”



To the uninitiated, the term ‘laser eye surgery’ will probably conjure images of a hapless patient’s eyes being pricked with needles and laser beams burning holes through them.

In reality, however, laser eye surgery does not involve needles at all and the laser used for reshaping the cornea actually feels cold!

Does laser eye surgery hurt? In a word, no.

To make this clearer, let’s take you through the steps of a typical laser eye surgery procedure, and look at certain parts that you might imagine to be painful.

Before Laser Eye Surgery

Before the surgery, the surgeon will put some anaesthetic eye drops into your eye.

Preparing for laser eye surgery won't hurt at all.

The surgeon will then put a little clamp called a speculum on your eyelids to stop you from blinking.

You'll feel an odd sensation as your eye is held open.

During The Surgery

In order to gain access to your cornea, the surgeon will scrape off the epithelium of your eye (PRK), cut the epithelium and move it to the side (LASEK) or create a corneal flap and peel it back (LASIK).

The anaesthetic will ensure that you don't feel a thing throughout.

The laser will then be directed onto your cornea and will start reshaping it.

The surgery will be over in a matter of seconds and you won't feel a thing.

Following Laser Eye Surgery

If you’re undergoing LASEK or PRK, the surgeon will put a protective soft contact lens on your treated eye to protect your cornea. You will then be allowed to go home with some eye drops and painkillers. Your recovery is now underway.

Some experience a mild stinging sensation however this will only last a few days.

LASIK patients have it easier. They don’t require protective lenses and their recovery is a lot shorter.

The recovery from LASIK laser eye surgery is completely painless.

Still Worried?

Don’t be afraid to tell your surgeon about your worries. If you are scared of the possibility of pain during and after your surgery, let your surgeon know and they’ll be able to explain to you in full detail every step of the procedure and allow you to have realistic expectations of what could happen during your surgery.