LASIK surgery has been safely and effectively performed on millions of patients in the United States and throughout the world. Yet, despite the high success and low complication rate, there are still millions of people who are suitable candidates for LASIK, but choose not to undergo surgery. Some of these patients are intimidated by the cost of surgery; others are worried about undergoing an operation on the eyes. Another one of the most common reasons people don’t undergo LASIK is the fear of pain during and after surgery. In this blog post, the experts at the laser eye surgery practice Chicago Cornea Consultants™ describe the typical LASIK recovery period in terms of patient pain.
During LASIK Surgery
Most patients are the most worried about pain during the actual LASIK procedure. They are pleasantly surprised when they only experience some minor pressure, not actual discomfort, when the initial corneal incision is made, and then when there is laser contact. This is because numbing eye drops are applied to each eye and allowed to take effect before the surgical process begins. The surgical phase of the LASIK process takes mere minutes, and few patients report actual pain during this stage of treatment.
Immediately after LASIK Surgery
After LASIK surgery, the effects of the numbing eye drops will fade in 30 to 90 minutes. It is at this time that patients report the highest degree of discomfort during the LASIK process. We advise patients to take a nap as soon as possible after LASIK surgery to minimize pain. The blinking action can irritate the healing corneal incisions; keeping the eyes closed will reduce discomfort and give the corneal flap time to heal.
Patients may also apply lubricating eye drops or take pain medication before napping to reduce pain. Talk to the doctors at Chicago Cornea Consultants™ to discuss any pain medications you plan on taking after surgery so we can determine if there are any contraindications with the anti-anxiety medication that is given prior to LASIK surgery, or with the eye drops that are prescribed for use after LASIK surgery.
Within a few hours of surgery, patients tend to notice a dramatic reduction in eye discomfort, and vast improvement in vision. Patients should continue to use eye drops, rest the eyes, and wear protective goggles at this time to encourage healing.
The Day after LASIK Surgery
The morning after LASIK surgery, most patients find that the discomfort has subsided. The eyes may feel more sensitive than usual, however, especially when exposed to light. Patients should continue to apply the medicated eye drops as prescribed, and they may also choose to apply lubricating eye drops and/or take pain medication to reduce any residual discomfort. Patients may also get relief from applying a soft ice pack to closed eyes. Finally, resting the eyes and avoiding eye strain, which can be caused by watching TV or looking at the computer for too long, can help reduce any discomfort or sensitivity the patient is feeling.
To schedule a LASIK evaluation at Chicago Cornea Consultants™, contact our practice today.