When patients ask about laser eye surgery they are typically referring to Lasik, but in ophthalmology we actually use a variety of lasers to treat many diseases in addition to correcting Refractive errors. For example, we use argon lasers to treat diabetic retinopathy, diode lasers and YAG lasers to treat glaucoma, and femtosecond laser’s to remove cataracts. Each of these lasers can create a different sensation during the procedure.
When it comes to Lasik eye surgery, we typically use two different types of lasers, a femtosecond laser to create the Lasik flap and excimer laser to reshape the eye. During creation of the flap with the femtosecond laser, the laser itself does not cause any sensation in the eye, but the patient interface that allows the laser to be coupled to the eye may impart a mild pressure sensation. The excimer laser that actually does the reshaping of the eye causes no discomfort whatsoever.
After Lasik, when the anesthetic has worn off there’s typically a foreign body sensation and watering of the eye for approximately two hours. Typically, oral sedation is given prior to the procedure and then again afterwards to help the patient sleep through this healing process. After your brief nap, you should wake up feeling fine. You will use some drops throughout the evening and we will recheck your eyes the following morning.