Laser Eye Surgery

Is Laser Eye Surgery Painful?

Laser eye surgery is a common procedure for vision correction, and like other common medical procedures, it has several myths and misconceptions. Among these myths and misconceptions is the belief that laser eye surgery is painful, making many people sceptical about going for the procedure.

Contrary to this popular belief, laser eye treatment is pain-free, and if pain occurs afterwards, it is mild. The discomfort occurs for only a few days, so you have nothing to worry about.

Before laser eye surgery

Before the procedure, the eye surgeon will administer eye drops in your eyes to keep them moist and a mild anaesthetic to prevent discomfort. The surgeon will also keep your eyes open during the procedure with a sterile speculum. This may feel strange at first, but as you relax, you will get used to it.

If you feel anxious before the procedure, your eye surgeon will administer a mild sedative to make you relax.

During the procedure

Different types of laser eye treatment are available (LASIK, LASEK and SMILE). Depending on the procedure you want to undergo, the surgeon will reshape your cornea to correct your vision problem.

The actual procedure is a short one, lasting for about 30 – 40 seconds. The surgeon will use the laser to remove tissues a quarter of a width of a human hair with each pulse. This makes the procedure an accurate and focused one; it is generally painless because of the anaesthetic administered. If you feel any discomfort, it will last for only a short while.

Most people think the laser is hot, but it is cold, and the burning smell, which some patients report is the laser reacting with carbon atoms in the air surrounding it. Although the smell is similar to smoke, it is not connected to your eye tissues.

After the procedure

After laser eye surgery, you may feel a level of discomfort, depending on the laser treatment you had.


After the LASEK procedure, the surgeon will cover your eyes with bandage lenses which are soft, clear contact lenses. They help protect the eye during the healing period. You may have to wear the lens for about a week, depending on how quickly the eyes heal.

People who have had LASEK report mild to moderate pain, which occurs like a stinging sensation. However, the discomfort lasts for a short time and reduces as the eyes heal.


People who undergo the LASIK procedure experience more minor discomfort than those who have LASEK because the cornea heals faster. Dryness of the eyes may also occur, but eye drops can relieve the discomfort. About 90% of those suitable for laser eye surgery can get LASIK treatment, and it is the most common laser eye procedure.


Small Incision Lenticule Extraction (SMILE) is the newest laser eye treatment and least invasive treatment. With SMILE, you have a reduced risk of developing dry eyes –the recovery time is shorter because it does not require making a flap on the cornea.

Complications resulting from laser eye surgery are few and rarely occur. Most times, the surgeon can resolve any problem on the spot so that you can have an immediate improved vision.

To help ease your mind about laser eye surgery, you can consult your eye surgeon to discuss your suitability for the procedure, the risks and possible complications. You can also ask the surgeon questions on the things you’ve heard about the procedure to get clarification, as most of them are just myths or common misconceptions.

If you have doubts about laser eye surgery, call 020 7183 3622 to book a consultation with our eye surgeon at Optimal Vision. You can also book a laser eye surgery with the LASIK Clinic.

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