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Does LASIK Hurt?

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You will be awake and alert during the LASIK procedure, but you should feel little to no pain during or after the surgery.

Your doctor uses numbing drops before the surgery starts. When the laser begins reshaping your cornea, you won’t feel it at all.

After surgery, your eyes may feel a little gritty or uncomfortable. But if you follow your doctor’s directions carefully, you’ll heal quickly with no long-lasting pain problems.

Will I Feel Any Pain During LASIK?

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When your surgery starts, your surgeon will use eye drops with local anesthetic in them to numb the eye (or eyes) that will be surgically altered. You may feel some mild discomfort after this is done, but you should not feel any pain.

You might smell burning tissues or see dimming lights while your eyes are reshaped, but the numbing drops will keep you from feeling pain or discomfort.

Immediately after surgery, you may feel like something is deep inside your eye, and you might feel like that tissue pushes deeper into your eye while you blink.

Your doctor might suggest a mild pain reliever to help with discomfort after surgery. Eye drops could also help you feel more comfortable.

What Does It Mean if I Feel Pain After Surgery?

It is normal to feel mild-to-moderate pain for up to 24 hours after LASIK surgery as your cornea heals. If you don’t follow your aftercare instructions carefully, your risk of pain rises. 

To ensure you heal properly, follow these steps:

patient receiving cataract surgery
During the procedure, your surgeon will put anesthetizing eye drops in one or both eyes, depending on whether you want LASIK for one eye or both. This means that you may feel mild discomfort during the surgery, but you will not feel pain.
  • Use your medications and eye drops per your doctor’s orders. 
  • Do not try to put your old contacts back in your eyes, even if you’re struggling to see clearly.
  • Do not rub or poke at your eyes, even if you think something is stuck in them.
  • Do not use makeup, lotions, or creams around your eyes for up to two weeks after your surgery or as directed by your doctor.
  • Do not go swimming or use a hot tub for a month or two.
  • Do not play contact sports or participate in other high-contact activities for at least four weeks.
  • Attend all your follow-up appointments, even if you aren’t experiencing pain or other problems. Your eye doctor needs to monitor your progress to ensure your treatment is still on track to produce good results.
  • If you’re experiencing pain, call your doctor. Your eye doctor might ask you to return for a follow-up visit to ensure everything looks good.


  1. Is Eye Pain Common Post LASIK Surgery? How Long Does the Cornea Take to Heal After LASIK? (January 2012). American Academy of Ophthalmology.
  2. What Should I Expect Before, During, and After Surgery? (July 2018). U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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