Is Laser Eye Surgery Painful?

3 June 2021

By Author: Alex J Shortt

There are many myths and misconceptions about laser eye treatment, and many people are apprehensive about getting surgery because they think it could be painful.

Laser eye surgery is an incredibly safe and popular procedure. The technology has evolved significantly over the past couple of decades, and at a dedicated eye hospital like Optegra, there is no reason to fear the procedure.

In this article, we explore whether there is any pain involved when getting laser eye surgery done.


Does Laser Eye Surgery Hurt?

Your surgeon will administer some eye drops to keep your eyes moist and a mild anaesthetic to prevent discomfort. Because of the anaesthetic, there is no pain felt during the procedure. If you are feeling particularly anxious about your surgery, your surgeon can also offer you a mild sedative to help you relax.

Will I Experience Any Pain During the Surgery?

Depending on what type of laser eye treatment is carried out (LASIKLASEK, or SMILE), your surgeon will use innovative techniques to reshape the cornea and correct your visual error.

The actual laser treatment part of the process is very short and only lasts about 30 to 40 seconds. The laser removes tissue a quarter of the width of a human hair with each pulse, so it is incredibly accurate and focused.


Pain Levels After Your Surgery

After the treatment, there may be some discomfort, depending on which treatment you have opted for.


After having LASEK surgery, your eyes will be covered with bandage lenses—soft, clear contact lenses worn to protect the eye while it heals. These lenses may need to be worn for up to a week, depending on how quickly the healing takes place.

LASEK patients report some mild to moderate discomfort. However, this is usually very short-lived and will soon decrease as the eye heals. The healing process is longer than LASIK, and discomfort can last anywhere from 3 to 5 days.



Patients with LASIK treatment tend to experience less discomfort than with LASEK, as the cornea heals quickly. There may be some dryness of the eyes in the days after surgery, but this can be countered with eye drops. Around 90% of laser eye surgery patients are suitable for LASIK treatment, and it is the most common type of laser eye surgery. Most people find the discomfort subsides significantly within the first day or two.



SMILE (Small Incision Lenticule Extraction) is the newest and least-invasive laser eye treatment. If you opt for SMILE eye surgery, you’ll have less risk of developing dry eyes and a quick recovery time, as no flap is created on the cornea.

After treatment, following your surgeon’s guidance on aftercare is important.


Speak To Your Surgeon

At Optegra, our world-class ophthalmic surgeons are extremely skilled and help to make the treatment as comfortable as possible.

There are very few complications; in almost all cases, these can be effectively dealt with on the spot. While there may be some mild discomfort in the hours and possibly days after surgery as your eyes heal, this is no cause for concern.

However, you can ask your surgeon if you have any concerns before, during, or after your surgery. They are on hand to answer any questions you may have.


Don’t Let Fear Stand in Your Way. Book Your Free Consultation Today!

Some people let fear get in the way of good eyesight. Misconceptions about laser eye surgery have prevented too many people from getting treatment, so you must know the facts.

Book a free virtual consultation with Optegra; our knowledgeable staff will happily answer your questions and advise on the best options for your needs.

Alex Shortt Headshot

By Author: Alex J Shortt

Mr Shortt is a leading ophthalmic surgeon and an expert in the fields of cornea, cataract and refractive surgery.

Medically Reviewed Date: 15th February 2024


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