Oculase Articles

Does laser eye surgery hurt?

Mr Tariq Ayoub - 29 Jun 2022

If you are due to have laser eye surgery, it’s natural to wonder if it will hurt. However, you shouldn’t feel any pain due to safe surgical techniques and anaesthetic eye drops. Read our blog to learn more.

Laser eye surgery

During laser eye surgery, we use advanced laser technology to improve your vision. The common types are LASIK and Trans-PRK/LASEK.

With laser eye surgery, we can correct:

These are all types of refractive errors, where the lenses in your eyes can’t focus light as they should. We use laser eye surgery to correct these refractive errors by reshaping your cornea.

Learn more about laser eye surgery in our blog: How does laser eye surgery work? We discuss how we perform both the LASIK and Trans-PRK procedures.

Does laser eye surgery hurt?

Typically, laser eye surgery itself does not hurt. You may feel pressure in your eye at certain points during the procedure, but you shouldn’t feel pain. This is because we use anaesthetic eye drops to numb your eyes.

If you are feeling particularly anxious about the procedure, we can also give you a sedative. Some patients ask if they can have general anaesthesia, but we tend to avoid this.

Anaesthetic eye drops

Before we begin the procedure, we use local anaesthetic eye drops to completely numb the surface of your eye. This means you shouldn’t feel anything touching your eye throughout the surgery. These drops will also help keep your eyes moist.

Once the eyes are numb, we will use an instrument called a speculum to keep your eyes open during the procedure. It may feel a little strange to be unable to blink, but this shouldn’t hurt. We can then perform the surgery.

The eye drops will wear off after a few hours, and you may feel a stinging, itching, or burning sensation. However, this shouldn’t last past the next day.


If you are feeling anxious about the procedure, you can ask us to sedate you. The sedation will make you feel relaxed and sleepy, putting you more at ease physically and mentally. Though rare, some people do not react well to sedation. At Oculase, we usually avoid using sedation for patient safety.

General anaesthesia

During laser eye surgery, the patient has to focus on a guiding beam of light at all times so that the laser is delivered precisely to the eye. Heavy sedation and general anaesthesia make this much more difficult, and they are generally avoided. At Oculase, we avoid using anaesthetics in the interest of patient safety.

Side effects of laser eye surgery

After the surgery, you may feel a little discomfort and pain as part of the healing process.

In his video below, Mr Tariq Ayoub, our Consultant Ophthalmologist, details some of the side effects of laser eye surgery. Including glare, a gritty feeling, and blurred vision. These should all be temporary.

Will I feel pain after surgery?

After LASIK, your eyes will feel gritty and sore. This will typically resolve within 12-24 hours. Severe pain is rare, and if you experience severe pain, you should contact your surgeon immediately.

After trans-PRK/LASEK, your eyes will experience pain and photophobia for 2-3 days as the surface of the eyes heal. We give you drops and tablets to minimise this pain.

You should wear sunglasses to help minimise any pain or photophobia you may experience after surgery.

Read our blog to learn more about the safety of laser eye surgery: Is laser vision correction safe?

Book an appointment

At Oculase, we provide an unrushed and informative service that focuses on you. We offer a thorough consultation, assessment, and tailored treatment plan, aiming to give you what you want – not just what you need.

If you want private laser eye surgery, book an appointment with us today for a consultation. We will answer all your questions to ensure you make an informed decision.

Laser eye surgery at Oculase

Debating laser eye surgery at Oculase? To get a better view of what we offer, read or listen to the experiences of others.
Hear from some of our clients:

  • Victoria, Actress, had LASIK laser eye surgery for myopia. Watch her story here.
  • Brandon, Marketing Executive, had Trans-PRK for myopia. Watch his story here.
  • Jo, Nurse, had LASIK with monovision for presbyopia. Watch her story here.

Read our patient testimonials, as collected on Doctify:

“I had to wear glasses from a very young age. Having a considerable amount of prescription (over -6) and astigmatism, I wasn’t sure if I would be suitable for laser eye surgery. Fortunately, Mr. Ayoub was very patient and informative. On the day of the initial consultation, I had multiple scans and a full, thorough eye assessment. At the end of the consultation, he assured me that I was a suitable candidate for laser eye surgery. He gave a very detailed description of the various procedures – I opted to have PRK rather than LASIK. On the procedure day, the behaviour of the team was professional and friendly, putting me at ease. I had been warned to expect some pain and discomfort for a couple of days after my PRK procedure, so I was well prepared for this. However, the pain was minimal. I now have 20/20 vision in both eyes. The surgery has changed my life. I was intolerant to contact lenses and found wearing glasses just a hindrance and annoying. Now, I am able to do everything without glasses. I am glad I picked Mr. Ayoub for my surgery. For anyone considering having laser eye surgery, I would say it is the best decision you will ever take, and I would highly recommend Mr Ayoub and his team at Oculase without any hesitation.”

“The thought of any surgery, however small or big, can be a traumatic experience. I’d been meaning to have laser eye correction for a while, however just wasn’t sure how to choose the right clinic or more importantly the right doctor. I was then referred to Mr.Tariq Ayoub by a perfectionist friend who had just had eye surgery done through Mr.Ayoub after meticulously searching for and successfully finding the right surgeon. She couldn’t commend him enough, and after meeting Mr Ayoub, I understood why he was a highly qualified, thorough professional from the start to the absolute end. Words cannot describe my experience with him and his clinical team. Mr Ayoub was both very friendly and professional. He was always extremely thorough and explained everything very well. The aftercare was second to none. Let me just say all the staff at the clinic knew me by name and always greeted me on every occasion. They were always so helpful and kind, it was always in my comfort zone at OCULASE. I cannot express my happiness and freedom I now have after finding the perfect doctor and going ahead with the surgery. I’m so glad I did. Anyone thinking about laser eye surgery I’d say just go for it, you’ll never look back. Thanks to Mr. Tariq Ayoub, I now have perfect vision.”

“I have seen various eye doctors and surgeons on an NHS and private basis, including world-leading specialists. Dr Ayoub’s service was above all. He explained my eye conditions in a very simple, clear and patient manner, which gave me a complete understanding of them and, more importantly, peace of mind. He explained the risks and advantages of procedures, allowing me to make informed choices.”

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About the author

Mr Tariq Ayoub
Mr Tariq Ayoub, Consultant Ophthalmologist

Mr Ayoub has been rated as one of the top eye surgeons in the UK. He is a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in London, one of the largest NHS trusts in England. He is also the Lead for the Emergency Department at Western Eye Hospital, as part of the Imperial College Trust.

Mr Ayoub completed his Ophthalmology training at the prestigious London School of Ophthalmology, namely at Moorfields Eye Hospital and Royal Free Hospital. During his career, he has received many prestigious awards from national and international organisations for his work in the field of ophthalmology.

His clinical interests include treatment for cataracts, vision correction, corneal disease, eye-lid disorders, trauma, and general ophthalmology. Mr Ayoub prides himself on the high quality of his work. With his extensive experience, he can holistically manage complex eye conditions to deliver the best care for his patients.

0330 128 1616

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