LASIK surgery typically takes just a few minutes to perform, which means that it is in the best interests of the patient to not be completely put under for the duration of the procedure. As with any surgical procedure, the largest concern that patients generally voice is their worry about the potential for pain and discomfort during the procedure. While no surgical procedure is without at least some level of discomfort, you will find that LASIK surgery is amongst the few that truly doesn’t cause that much discomfort to patients.
The swiftness of the procedure also ensures that patients aren’t filled with high levels of anxiety for the duration of the procedure, particularly because patients will be awake and alert for the duration of the surgery. While some patients may prefer the idea of being put under general anesthesia, the reality is that LASIK patients need to be alert and able to follow directions for the duration of their procedure; the surgeon will need the LASIK patient to stare at a light for about 60 seconds while the procedure is underway. A steady visual fixation on the light is critical for the most accurate post-op visual results.
Prior to the procedure patients are typically offered a very mild oral sedative that serves several purposes. First and foremost, the mild sedative will help to reduce any anxiety that the patient may be experiencing prior to the surgical procedure. The sedative will also help to ensure that the patient is comfortable and relaxed as the surgeon moves on with the procedure. The type of sedative that is offered could vary based upon your unique needs and any potential allergies, but your surgeon will be sure to discuss this with you prior to the day of your surgery.
Once the mild sedative has been taken and has started to take effect, which is very often within a few short minutes, the patient will be instructed to relax as the LASIK surgery begins. There are some misconceptions about the nerve endings in the eyes, some state there are no nerves in the eyes, but the reality is that the corneas are filled with the most number of nerves in the entire body, the cornea itself is one of the most sensitive tissues of the body absolutely. But LASIK patients can rest assure that their surgeon will use anesthetizing eye drops to thoroughly numb the entire eye so that absolutely no pain or discomfort is felt at any stage during the procedure.
The anesthetizing eye drops are very similar to the numbing gels that your dentist will use on your gums prior to the start of a dental procedure. Absolutely no pain is felt during the LASIK surgery. There may be some measure of pressure as your surgeon proceeds with the surgical procedure, and you may become acutely aware of the sounds in the room, but you will be in no pain whatsoever during the entire process.
You are encouraged to bring a loved one with you to help provide a measure of comfort, but you’ll also find that the LASIK nurses are immensely compassionate and will also be willing to hold your hand for the duration of the procedure.
Following the procedure, patients will not feel any pain or discomfort. At the most patients typically feel that their eyes are somewhat scratchy or gritty, but it is exceeding rare for a patient to feel any level of post-operative pain. If there is any pain experienced it is typically as a result of the eye being exposed to too much direct sunlight following the procedure and this comes in the form of a headache. A mild over the counter pain reliever will often help to ease the discomfort felt.
If you do feel pain or any discomfort at any point during the procedure or during the recovery phase, it is absolutely vital that you alert your LASIK surgeon so that immediate steps can be taken to alleviate your discomfort.
The vast majority of LASIK patients report that the biggest issue that they had throughout the procedure related to their levels of anxiety. The mild oral sedative that is offered prior to the procedure will go a long way toward helping you to relax in preparation for your procedure.
During the recovery phase, be sure to carefully follow all of the directions provided by your surgeon. Not only will this help to ensure you aren’t inadvertently damaging your eyes, but it will also ensure that the long-term success of the procedure is all but guaranteed.
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