One of the biggest reasons that people hesitate to get LASIK is the element of fear. Any surgery can cause some anxiety, and if you are unfamiliar with LASIK it’s normal to be anxious about the unknown.
LASIK has a reputation as a surgery that doesn’t use general anesthesia, but just because you’re awake doesn’t mean that the procedure is painful or frightening.
In fact, it’s completely painless. Keep reading to learn why LASIK isn’t painful at all!
It is true that you need to be awake during LASIK. This is because the surgeon will need you to look at a certain point for about a few seconds to get correct eye measurements during the procedure.
But while general anesthetic isn’t used, the eyes are still numbed. To numb the eyes, there is no needle or injection necessary. Simple eye drops are administered in each eye that numb the surface after you blink a few times.
Utilizing local anesthetic is easy, painless, and also safer because there are no risks usually associated with general anesthetic.
How LASIK Surgery Works
LASIK only takes a few seconds of laser time per eye to perform. After numbing both eyes, the LASIK surgeon creates a corneal flap. The flap acts as a natural bandage after LASIK is over, and protects the rest of your eye while you recover.
Some patients report slight discomfort when the flap is created. At most, you may feel some pressure that is over in a matter of seconds. While it may feel awkward, it isn’t painful.
After creating the flap, the surgeon uses an excimer laser to reshape the cornea under the flap. This is the majority of the procedure and most patients don’t feel a thing.
You may have heard that while the laser is shaping your eye, you can smell burning tissue, but this isn’t the case. The excimer laser is a “cold” laser. It doesn’t remove tissue by burning it, but rather by pulsing extremely fast to disrupt matter on a molecular level. This allows the laser to remove only the tissue it makes direct contact with.
The smell reported by some patients is merely a chemical reaction that occurs when molecular bonds break apart in the cornea’s cells.
After the surgeon finishes reshaping your eye, they flip the flap back to cover the rest of your cornea. Then, the procedure is over.
There are no stitches needed with LASIK. Instead, the flap will fuse back with the rest of your cornea during the course of recovery.
Your eyes will be numb for a few hours after having LASIK. Once the numbness wears off, it’s normal for your eyes to feel a little irritated. It can take a few days before this discomfort dissipates. You can manage this with over-the-counter painkillers.
Your surgeon may also allow you to use artificial tears to ease any feelings of dryness or grit in the eyes. Be sure to get any kind of over-the-counter eye drops approved by your eye surgeon before using them.
Some kinds of artificial tears have ingredients in them that may be too harsh on your eyes while you’re healing. If your eyes feel too dry, use artificial tears or eye drops to replenish moisture.
Even if they itch, don’t rub your eyes! This can cause damage to the delicate corneal flap created during LASIK. Above all, know that it can take time for your eyes to stabilize after LASIK.
Your eyesight may improve dramatically right after the procedure, or it may take a few days. Make sure to attend all follow-up appointments with your eye doctor. This is the best way to catch any complications or infections that could occur early on.
Think that you’re ready to find out if you’re a good LASIK candidate? Schedule a LASIK consultation at The Nielsen Eye Center in the greater Boston area now!
See if you could be seeing 20/20 in 2020. Call The Nielsen Eye Center at 617-471-5665, where one of our Patient Advocates will be waiting to speak to you! If you’ve dreamed of a world with visual freedom, why not consider LASIK?