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Does LASIK Hurt?

The full and honest answer is that LASIK is an unusual experience that almost everyone I’ve ever met feels was ten times easier than they thought it would be.

By Joel Hunter, MD

Nearly everyone asks if LASIK hurts at all. Heck, long before people get the chance to be nervous about that, most show up nervous about the puff-of-air test for the eye. I’ve mentioned that test a few times. It is because I used to think that I was the only one that hated that thing, but later found out, as I became an eye doctor, that ALL of us hate that thing. If you are lucky enough not to know what I’m talking about, there was a machine (It is mostly in obsolescence now, but I think some places still use one. We DON’T.) that you would look into and then the technician would say, “Keep your eye open and a puff of air will shoot into it without warning.” What? That’s like asking someone to hold their hands down while you throw a frisbee at their face. It is unnatural. I used to get a stomach ache on the way to the optometrist because I knew that test was coming. Anyway, I’m glad it is gone now. I won’t ever buy one even if I find one that has a genie inside.

Back to LASIK, the answer is that it doesn’t hurt. The full and honest answer is that it is an unusual experience that almost everyone I’ve ever met feels was ten times easier than they thought it would be. There are two lasers, the first prepares your eyes and the second fixes your vision. The part that everyone remembers is the first LASIK laser because there is a pressure sensation with that one. It feels the exact same as if you’ve ever pressed the heel of your hand into your eye after a long day. It’s not painful, but an odd experience when your hands are resting peacefully by your side.

Post-operatively, the experience ranges from “it felt completely normal the entire day” to “I felt like I had sand in my eyes for two hours.” I was in the sand-in-the-eye category after my LASIK procedure. Basically my eyes watered and I didn’t want to open them and then they felt normal again. I thought that was what most people went through until I started seeing post-op LASIK patients. Then I realized I was in the minority and my eyes must be more sensitive than the average Joe. But exactly as sensitive as the average Joel.

Long story short, if you Googled “does LASIK hurt?” and found this blog, it means that our clinic director was right that having a blog is helpful for search engine optimization. And the answer to “does LASIK hurt?” is NO. LASIK is easy, fast and painless. And that is coming from someone that has been on both sides of the laser.

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