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Is Laser Eye Surgery Painful

Many persons believe several myths and misconceptions about laser eye surgery. This makes them think twice about undergoing the procedure. The most common myth about laser eye surgery is that the procedure is painful and causes a lot of discomforts.

However, laser eye treatment is pain-free, and even when discomfort is present, it occurs afterwards and is minimal. This means that you have nothing to worry about if you want to undergo laser eye surgery.

Below is information on what you should expect after the treatment and if it causes pain.

Before laser eye surgery

Before the procedure, the eye surgeon will administer eye drops to ensure your eye remains moist and a mild anaesthetic to prevent discomfort. They will also keep your eyes open with a sterile speculum. Although the speculum may make your eyes feel strange, you will get used to it and feel comfortable as you relax.

If you feel anxious about the procedure, inform your surgeon so they can administer a mild sedative for relaxation.

During laser eye surgery

Different laser eye treatments are available such as SMILE, LASEK and LASIK. Depending on the type you want to undergo, the surgeon will use an appropriate technique to reshape your cornea and correct the visual impairment.

The actual procedure is quick, lasting for about 30 – 40 seconds. During each pulse, the laser will remove tissue in the eye, about one-quarter of the human hair. The anaesthetic administered before the procedure makes it painless, and if you feel discomfort, it will last for only a short while.

Unlike what most people believe, the laser is cold and not hot. Although some patients perceive a burning smell during the procedure, it is laser reacting with carbon atoms in the air. The smell is similar to smoke, but it is not your eyes tissues getting burnt.

After laser eye surgery

After laser eye surgery, you may experience some discomfort. The degree of discomfort usually depends on the treatment.


Following LASEK surgery, your surgeon will cover your eyes with bandage lenses. These are soft clear contact lenses for protecting the eyes during the healing process. You may need to wear these lenses for about a week, depending on how quickly your eyes heal.

LASEK patients may experience mild to moderate pain, which usually occurs as a stinging sensation. However, the pain subsides within a short period and reduces as the eyes heal.


LASIK patients usually experience less discomfort than people who undergo LASEK because the cornea heals quickly. You may experience dryness of the eyes for a few days after the procedure, but eye drops can relieve the discomfort. About 90% of people who want to undergo laser eye treatment are suitable for LASIK, making it the most common laser eye surgery.


SMILE is the least invasive and newest laser eye treatment. The risk of developing dry eyes is small, and the recovery time is shorter because the cornea correction doesn’t require creating a flap.

Consult your surgeon

In a few cases, complications occur, but most can be resolved on the spot. Mild discomfort hours or days after laser eye surgery may occur, but as the eyes heal, the discomfort will subside. However, if you have concerns before, during or after the procedure, consult your surgeon. The surgeon can address your concerns and answer your questions.

The misconceptions about laser eye procedures have stopped many people from undergoing the treatment, which makes understanding the procedure important.

Many people have had laser eye surgery as the procedure is quick and easy. Although you may need a while to recover, most patients can go about their regular activities in a few days.

If you need a laser eye surgery clinic in London with an experienced surgeon, contact Optimal Vision now on 020 7183 3725 to schedule an appointment.

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