What Does Lasik Feel Like?

For many, the thought of undergoing any form of eye surgery can be daunting, particularly when it comes to LASIK. This laser-assisted surgery has become a beacon of hope for those wishing to correct their vision and potentially discard their glasses or contact lenses for good. 

But a common question lingers in the minds of potential candidates: What does LASIK feel like? 

This post aims to demystify the LASIK experience, providing you with a comprehensive understanding of what to expect before, during, and after the procedure. By shedding light on the sensations, emotions, and overall process, we hope to alleviate any concerns and help you make an informed decision about whether LASIK is right for you.


Understanding LASIK

LASIK, or Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, is a popular refractive surgery designed to correct vision issues such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. 

The procedure modifies the cornea’s shape, ensuring that light entering the eye is precisely focused onto the retina, resulting in improved clarity of vision.


Before the Procedure

The journey to clearer vision begins with a thorough consultation with your eye care professional. Here, you’ll discuss your medical history and undergo a comprehensive eye exam.

The exam includes assessing the thickness of your cornea, the stability of your prescription, and the overall health of your eyes. 

Once you’re deemed eligible, you’ll discuss the procedure with your surgeon, addressing any questions or concerns you might have.

It’s normal to feel a mix of excitement and nervousness during this stage. 

Remember, knowledge is power, and understanding the procedure can significantly ease any apprehension.


The LASIK Experience

Pre-Procedure Preparation

Upon arriving at the clinic, you’ll likely feel a blend of anticipation and anxiety. It’s a normal response to the upcoming experience. 

Before the surgery, you’ll be given a mild sedative to help relax any nerves. The area around your eyes will be cleaned, and numbing eye drops will be applied, ensuring a painless procedure. At this point, you may feel a slight sting from the drops, but this sensation quickly fades.


During the Procedure

The process can be distilled into several essential steps:

  1. Crafting the Flap: Utilizing a femtosecond laser, the surgeon meticulously crafts a slim flap within the cornea. Patients often describe a sensation of pressure during this stage, but it’s generally not uncomfortable.
  2. Reshaping the Cornea: With the flap lifted, an excimer laser is used to reshape the underlying corneal tissue. This precision laser removes microscopic amounts of tissue to correct vision. During this part of the procedure, you may notice a mild clicking sound from the laser, along with a faint smell similar to burning hair, which is completely normal.
  3. Repositioning the Flap: Once the cornea has been reshaped, the surgeon meticulously places the flap back over the underlying tissue, where it seamlessly bonds by itself.

Throughout the procedure, you’re awake, and your surgeon may ask you to focus on a point of light, although it might become blurry at times. This helps keep your eye properly aligned, but the advanced tracking technology of the laser ensures safety even if your eye makes small, involuntary movements.


The Procedure’s Length

Another piece of good news is the surgery’s swift nature. Each eye takes approximately 5 to 10 minutes, making LASIK one of the quickest corrective procedures.


After LASIK: The Recovery Process

Post-Procedure Sensations

Immediately after the surgery, it’s common to experience a gritty sensation in your eyes, much like having an eyelash or a piece of sand stuck in them. 

Your vision might be blurry or hazy, and sensitivity to light is typical. 

These sensations are generally short-lived, improving significantly within the first few hours post-surgery.

It’s crucial to have someone drive you home, where you should rest your eyes as much as possible.


The First Few Hours

During the initial recovery period, you may encounter:

  • Mild Burning or Itching: This is a natural part of the healing process. Avoid the temptation to rub your eyes.
  • Watery Eyes: Your eyes might water more than usual, accompanied by increased sensitivity to light.
  • Hazy Vision: Clarity usually improves quickly, sometimes as soon as the day after surgery.


The Following Days

Most patients report a dramatic improvement in vision the day after LASIK. However, fluctuations in clarity can occur as your eyes heal. Follow-up appointments are critical to monitor your progress and ensure a smooth recovery.


Long-term Sensations

The vast majority of LASIK patients are thrilled with their results, enjoying significant improvements in vision. Dry eyes can be a temporary side effect, but artificial tears can provide relief, and for most, this condition improves within a few months.


Personal Experiences

Patients often describe the immediate aftermath of LASIK as akin to opening their eyes underwater—a certain blurriness that gives way to progressively clearer vision. 

The sensation of dryness or itchiness in the eyes can persist for a few days, managed effectively with lubricating eye drops.


The Emotional Impact

Beyond the physical sensations, it’s worth noting the profound emotional response many have to LASIK. 

The joy of waking up to clear vision without the need for glasses or contact lenses is frequently described as life-changing, offering a newfound sense of freedom and confidence.


Final Thoughts

While the thought of eye surgery can be daunting, understanding what LASIK feels like demystifies the procedure, making it a less intimidating prospect. The sensations experienced during and after LASIK are manageable and temporary, with the outcome—a significant improvement in vision and quality of life—far outweighing the brief discomforts. If you’re considering LASIK, rest assured that you’re in for a procedure that’s not only quick and efficient but also transformative.

For those on the fence about LASIK, hearing first-hand accounts and learning about the procedure in detail can provide the reassurance needed to take the next step toward a clear vision. 

Remember, consulting with a qualified LASIK surgeon is the best way to get personalised information and determine if you’re a good candidate for the procedure. Here’s to a clearer, brighter future!


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