Norwood Eye Care Specialists Answer The Big Question: “Does It Hurt?”
One of the most common questions ophthalmologists at Norwood’s Eye Care Specialists are asked by patients is, “Will this hurt?” Despite LASIK receiving its FDA approval in 1995, and with more than 12 million people having had the procedure with a 95% success rate, many still worry about the pain involved. At Norwood’s Eye Care Specialists, we do not consider you paranoid or a hypochondriac for asking—after all, a laser is cutting into your eye. If you’ve had these concerns, please read the following list.
Here are the five most frequently asked questions concerning LASIK surgery:
1. Is LASIK a quick, risk-free procedure?
The acronym “LASIK” stands for laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis, and is medically used to correct, farsightedness, nearsightedness, and astigmatism. At Boston Eye Care Specialists, the procedure usually only takes about 10-15 minutes per eye, with most patients seeing dramatically better immediately afterward.
The surgery is performed by an ophthalmologist, who will use a keratome or a laser to cut a small flap into the outer layer of your cornea. Your doctor will then peel back the flap and use the laser to reshape the corneal tissue. It’s as simple as that, with no stitches needed. Patients, however, will be instructed to wear an eye patch for several days following surgery.
2. Will I be conscious during surgery and feel no pain?
Yes, patients are completely awake and fully aware during the LASIK procedure. However, this may sound worse than it really is. Though your conscious, LASIK is relatively pain-free because of the anesthetic drops applied beforehand, completely numbing the eye. If you are still nervous, the doctor may also give you a sedative to relax your nerves. In actuality, the only sensation you may feel is a slight pressure or suction near the eye, but absolutely no pain.
3. Will I experience pain or discomfort immediately after the surgery?
Patients sometimes report feelings of itching, dryness, or even a mild burning sensation after the LASIK procedure. This can occur in either one or both eyes, but fortunately these side effects usually don’t last for more than a few days. In the rare circumstance, however, that symptoms are severe or become worse, it is important that you call your ophthalmologist immediately because this could be a sign of more serious complications, which include movement of the corneal flap or an infection. These conditions could also lead to vision damage or loss, if left untreated.
4. How can I help speed up my recovery?
Your ophthalmologist should provide you with the necessary instructions for post-operative care. These instructions are fairly simple and straightforward, but should be followed to ensure a quick and complete recovery. This includes:
- Not touching or rubbing your eyes
- Avoiding contact sports, swimming, and hot tubs
- Refraining from using contact lens before the recommended time
- Using eye drops and eye patches
- Attending follow-up appointments
5. Is LASIK equally effective for everyone?
Even though the overall success of the LASIK is between 92-98%, there is no 100% guarantee and the procedure is not without its risks. One of the great things about LASIK is that most patients see an improvement immediately after the surgery, but for some patients it may take up to six months for their vision to stabilize. During this time, they may experience light sensitivity, blurriness, and other vision anomalies.
Although many patients receive perfect to near-perfect vision, it must be made clear that this is not the case for everyone. Some patients may even have to have additional surgeries to further correct their vision. A very small number of people report worse vision than before surgery (particularly at night), experiencing glares, starbursts, halos and double-vision for the long-term. However, advances in LASIK technology has made the procedure more effective and precise than ever before, minimizing the possibility of something going wrong.
If you are considering LASIK but are worried about the risks, consult a doctor at LASIK Eye Care Specialists for more information. And remember, LASIK is among the safest surgeries out there, and laser eye technology continues to improve.