How Much Pain is Normal During Recovery from LASIK Surgery?

How long does this pain normally last? Would sunshine trigger the pain? What other things would cause pain while recovering?

Doctor Answers 3

Amount of Discomfort After Lasik Surgery

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

I like to use a scale of 0-10 when describing discomfort. Obviously a "0" is no pain and a "10" is pain on the order of child birth, kidney stones or a broken leg. Most Lasik patients should expect about 3-5 hours of discomfort that they would grade as a "1" and then it goes away, to be followed by no more discomfort other than some mild dryness upon awakening the first few mornings. I hear the description of a mild onion sensation to describe the first few hours post Lasik, but, usually, this is no worse than a bad contact lens day sensation.

Baltimore Ophthalmologist

How Much Pain is Normal During Recover from LASIK?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Everyone's perception of pain is different.  That being said, most people have a scratchy and sore feeling in their eyes for the first three to four hours.  The best way to avoid pain is to sleep after the procedure.  If you get to sleep in the first half hour after your procedure, most patients have no complaint of pain at all.  When I had my procedure, it felt like there was a piece of sand in my eye for the first four hours.  Over the counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used if needed.

Mark Golden, MD
Chicago Ophthalmologist

How Much Pain is Normal During Recover from LASIK?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Pain is an individual feeling and most people experience discomfort lasting four to six hours.  This usually consists of tearing, watery eyes and foreign body sensation. If you sleep, you will usually miss this feeling. Sometimes, individuals do heal differently so if you are experiencing pain, seek the care of your LASIK surgeon.

Sometimes, light sensitivity does occur and may be due to dryness of the eyes or a condition known as transient photosensitivity syndrome.  Instillation of eye drops usually helps these conditions.

Sandy Feldman, MD
San Diego Ophthalmologist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.