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Is LASIK painful?


When it comes to refractive surgeries, one of the most frequently asked questions about laser eye surgery in Singapore is “Is it painful?”. When it comes to LASIK, the answer is no.

The whole procedure is performed when the eye is numbed with local “eye drops” anaesthesia, which makes it painless. During the surgery, absolutely no injection is given. You may experience a sensation of pressure when the lid speculum is inserted, this is to keep the eye open and prevent you, the patient, from blinking. The pressure you feel from the eyelid holder is similar to that of a finger firmly pressed against your eyelid. You will also feel a foreign body sensation when cornea flap is made1. When the laser comes on, you might notice some sounds and smells, both are normal and not to be worried about.

For anxious patients, your doctor may prescribe a mild sedative to be taken before the procedure.

After the procedure, some side effects such as scratchy irritation, light sensitivity, discomfort or pain; and tearing are common. They usually disappear over time, most of them in about six hours and can be relieved by instilling lubricating artificial tears eye-drops and wearing sunglasses.

Note that the entire surgery should only take less than 30 minutes, and you would be lying on a reclining chair in a face up position. You would be asked to stare at a light, which is not the laser used to reshape your cornea, but something to keep your eye fixed on one spot for the actual laser used for the surgery. The laser will only be used when your eye is in the correct position. If you had problem staring at a fixed spot for more than 60 seconds, this might disqualify you as a LASIK surgery candidate.

After the surgery is complete, a shield will be placed over your eye to protect it. You should keep your eye shield on at all time to prevent accidental eye rubs, pressure during sleep and other objects that might get into your eyes.


  1. LASIK – Laser Eye Surgery; EyeSmart, American Academy of Ophthalmology

What should I expect before, during and after surgery? U.S. Food and Drug Administration.