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Pain and Lasik

Although discomfort is managed with vision correction surgery, different procedures have different levels of pain.

Topographical map of a central island after Lasik  
Pain is rare with Lasik, but some discomfort may be expected.  

Potential Discomfort

Some refractive surgery techniques are associated with more pain than others, but the single greatest source of discomfort from any refractive surgery technique will probably be the anxiety and stress of anticipating eye surgery. Before all types of refractive surgery, an anesthetic is applied to the eye. You are awake and aware, but you should feel nothing of the surgery.

Lasik & Pain

Lasik probably wins the comfort race, as it has the lowest incident of postoperative discomfort, however pain, itching, an foreign body sensation may occur. Bladeless Lasik is just behind Lasik with a slightly higher incidence of edema and associated discomfort. Epi-Lasik and LASEK attempt to limit the pain that is normally associated with PRK by saving the epithelium. While discomfort may be less with Epi-Lasik and LASEK than with PRK, there probably will be some discomfort. PRK is at the bottom of the list with probably temporary discomfort that is limited by medications.

Lens Surgery

P-IOL and RLE are lens-based surgeries that require an incision at the edge of the cornea and manipulation of the interior of the eye. This is more traditional surgery and is more associated with discomfort, which is limited by medications.

Personal Response

The healing response is greatly variable from one patient to another. Some will have PRK and have absolutely no problems at all. Some will have Lasik and be miserable for days. What is represented here is a very gross generality. Complications will dramatically change the level of discomfort one will experience.

Any postoperative pain - even expected levels of pain - should be immediately reported to the doctor. Sometimes pain is an indication of a complication that needs immediate response.

Looking For Best Lasik Surgeon?

If you are ready to choose a doctor to be evaluated for conventional or custom wavefront Lasik, Bladeless Lasik, PRK, or any refractive surgery procedure, we recommend you consider a doctor who has been evaluated and certified by the USAEyes nonprofit organization. Locate a USAEyes Evaluated & Certified Lasik Doctor.

Personalized Answers

If this article did not fully answer your questions, use our free Ask Lasik Expert patient forum.

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