Updated on  September 21, 2023
5 min read

Does LASIK Hurt?

6 sources cited

Listen to article

0:00 0:00
Vision Center is funded by our readers. We may earn commissions if you purchase something via one of our links.

Does LASIK Hurt During the Procedure?

LASIK causes little to no pain during the procedure. Your surgeon will administer local anesthetic eye drops to numb your eyes before LASIK eye surgery begins.

Surgeon performing LASIK Procedure

Many people describe feeling a slight pressure sensation during the surgery. But in most cases, you’ll feel no pain throughout the procedure.

Looking for the best LASIK surgeon in ? We've done the research and picked the top ones for you. See Our Picks

Does LASIK Hurt After the Procedure?

Most people experience little to no pain after LASIK.

Female patient being transported through a wheelchair talks to a doctor after her cataract operation

Others report a minor stinging or burning sensation as the anesthetic eye drops wear off. There may be some mild pain or discomfort as your vision stabilizes and your eyes heal. But overall it is relatively pain-free.

After-effects usually stop by your follow-up appointment (within 48 hours). They may last a few days past that.

Contact your eye doctor immediately if you experience pain or discomfort for more than a week after surgery.

What Happens During LASIK Surgery?

You are awake and alert during LASIK surgery. There is no leftover foggy or groggy feeling once the procedure is complete. This is because there is no general anesthesia.

However, surgeons often offer a mild sedative to help you relax before the surgery.

Step 1: Your eye surgeon holds open your eyelids with a tool so they can work. They place eye drops that contain a numbing agent in your eyes.

Step 2: The surgeon uses a small blade or special laser to cut a corneal flap in your eye. This is the part that may cause some discomfort. Many people report feeling pressure during this part of the surgery.

Step 3: The excimer laser gently reshapes your cornea. A computer with a map of your eye preloaded into it guides it.

Step 4: After the excimer laser finishes, the surgeon smooths the corneal flap back into place.

Step 5: The laser eye surgery is complete. If you are getting both eyes operated on, the doctor will immediately repeat this process on the other eye.

The entire procedure usually takes less than 30 minutes for both eyes. Approximately 10 minutes is needed to complete the surgery on each eye.

diagram showing six steps of lasik eye surgery
LASIK Surgeon Using Laser

Looking for the best LASIK surgeon in ? We've done the research and picked the top ones for you.

Learn More

Risks & Side Effects of LASIK

LASIK is a safe procedure with relatively few side effects. It’s U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved as long as the person’s vision has stabilized and a qualified eye surgeon performs the procedure with an approved laser.

Most people who undergo LASIK experience mild, temporary side effects. As your vision stabilizes, you may experience:

  • Blurred vision
  • Mild discomfort
  • Tearing up
  • Light sensitivity
  • Halos with night vision
  • Dry eyes

All of these side effects usually clear up within a few days after surgery.

Serious risks associated with LASIK include:

  • Severe dry eye syndrome, in which your eyes are no longer able to produce sufficient tears
  • Touch-up or follow-up procedures for further vision correction
  • Vision loss

LASIK is not appropriate for correcting all eye conditions, and not everyone is a good candidate for the procedure. Work with an experienced LASIK surgeon and discuss potential risks before receiving it.

We looked through hundreds of data points to pick the best LASIK surgeon in . Our Top Picks

13 LASIK Recovery Tips

Recovering from LASIK surgery is relatively uncomplicated for most people. However, it is a surgical procedure, so most people experience some mild side effects for a few days.

The following are helpful post-LASIK tips:

  • Avoid rubbing your eyes
  • Take any medications as prescribed by your doctor
  • Wear the eye shield provided by your doctor
  • Avoid wearing contact lenses even if your vision is blurry
  • Don’t exercise or engage in any physical activity for a few days
  • Avoid using eye makeup and skincare products around the eyes until your doctor says they are safe to use
  • Avoid activities that could result in bumping or hitting your eyes for at least a month after the procedure
  • Avoid hot tubs or saunas for at least a few weeks
  • Wear sunglasses in direct sunlight
  • Don’t shower the first day, but when you do shower, keep the water, shampoo, and soap out of your eyes
  • Don’t use screens for the first day, and reduce screen time for the first week
  • Stay away from dusty or dirty environments
  • Attend follow-up appointments

Contact your doctor to schedule an eye exam if you experience severe pain or your vision worsens after the initial recovery time.

The healing process can take up to 6 months for your vision to stabilize completely. Proper eye care is important. Continue to undergo annual eye exams once completely healed.


Will I Be Awake During LASIK Surgery?

Yes, you will be awake during the LASIK procedure. The process usually takes about 10 minutes. This includes about a minute of laser shaping on each eye.

Numbing eye drops will completely desensitize the surface of your eye. So, you won’t feel any pain.

What Happens if You Blink During LASIK Eye Surgery?

It’s easy to understand why people undergoing LASIK procedures are concerned about blinking. Most people blink many times per minute, which increases if they are nervous or focused on their eyes.

But there is no reason to worry about blinking during LASIK. Doctors performing LASIK use a special tool that holds your eyes open during the procedure. This ensures that even if you get the urge to blink your eyes will stay open.

Furthermore, the anesthetic eye drops lubricate your eyes and reduce discomfort. 

Can You See Immediately After LASIK?

Yes, but most people experience some blurriness. This eventually gives way to clear vision within a few days after surgery.

You’ll initially wear a protective covering over your eyes. You won’t know what your vision is like until your doctor instructs you to remove the cover.

If your vision does not gradually clear or you notice blurriness worsening, follow up with your doctor.

Surgeon performing LASIK Procedure

Explore the top LASIK providers in to make an informed decision about your vision correction procedure.

View Providers

Updated on  September 21, 2023
6 sources cited
Updated on  September 21, 2023
  1. “What Should I Expect before, during, and after Surgery?” Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, FDA, 2019.

  2. "What Are the Risks and How Can I Find the Right Doctor for Me?” Center for Devices and Radiological Health. FDA, 2018.

  3. List of FDA-Approved Lasers for LASIK.” Center for Devices and Radiological Health, FDA, 2018.

  4. Kates MM, Tuli S. "What Is LASIK Eye Surgery?" JAMA, 2020.

  5. Edmonds, JN, Moshirfar, M. "LASIK and Surface Ablation in the Modern Era: Trends and Novel Applications." Curr Ophthalmol Rep, 2013.

  6. Levitt, et al. "Chronic dry eye symptoms after LASIK: parallels and lessons to be learned from other persistent post-operative pain disorders." Mol Pain, 2015.

Vision Center Logo
The information provided on VisionCenter.org should not be used in place of actual information provided by a doctor or a specialist.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram