Yes, most patients are awake during a LASIK procedure. An ophthalmologist may give you medication to help you relax, but the medication is not powerful enough to put a patient to sleep. Because LASIK is done in an outpatient facility, and oftentimes inside the doctor’s office itself, only patients who are healthy are able to undergo this procedure.
Scared To Be Awake During LASIK?
Although it can sound intimidating to have LASIK while awake, it is incredibly fast. In the hands of a skilled ophthalmologist, the procedure for both eyes can be done in under 15 minutes time. However, if you are truly unable to remain calm or stay still during these few minutes, you may not be the best candidate for this procedure.
This vision-correcting surgery is a blade-free procedure. LASIK uses advanced laser technology to correct different types of refractive disorders of the eye. Patients can have their nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism corrected.
Before you undergo LASIK, you must have a complete evaluation with an ophthalmologist who performs vision-correcting surgery. Not all ophthalmologists are able to screen patients for LASIK so it is a good idea to go to the correct doctor if you want an opinion. In order for a doctor to determine that you are a good candidate, they will perform a series of tests on you. Additionally, it is important that your prescription has stayed stable over the last year. The laser correcting procedure will target your prescription at the time and thus, if your prescription is constantly changing, the likelihood of success is much lower. Surgeons will likely not perform LASIK if the prescription has not been stable.
Related: Best Eye Drops After LASIK
On the day of surgery, you will have numbing medication to the eye and a speculum will be placed to keep the eye open. You will lie down on the table and the laser machine will be above you. A suction ring is placed on the eye so that the eye does not move. The surgeon uses the laser to create a very small flap in the surface of your cornea. Then, the surgeon will gently lift the flap in order to have access to the tissue below the flap. The laser is performed on this surface of the eye. The laser machine uses eye-tracking technology and will reshape the cornea to correct your vision. After the procedure is complete the flap is repositioned so that it can start to heal.
For most patients, LASIK can correct patients to extremely good vision that is perfect or nearly perfect. Remember that it can take a few months to have 20/25 vision or better. In many cases, LASIK patients can have great vision for ten years or more. Choosing the right surgeon is very important for LASIK because one of the most important factors in whether you will have a good result is whether or not you are a good candidate. The best candidates for LASIK are those patients who have a low degree of nearsightedness, or a small negative prescription. Patients with farsightedness (a positive prescription), astigmatisms, or a high degree of myopia will usually also have vision improvement from this procedure but the results can be less predictable.
Are You Awake During LASIK: Summary
Yes, patients are awake during LASIK. Some patients may need a mild oral medication to relax them, but this is not always necessary given that the duration of the procedure is so short. If you are absolutely unable to stay still, this may not be the best option for you.
Looking for an alternative to LASIK? Read more at Lasik Alternatives.