Are You Awake During Laser Eye Surgery?

Are You Awake During Laser Eye Surgery?

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The idea of undergoing any surgical procedure can be daunting, let alone a procedure that involves your eyes.

Laser eye surgery has become increasingly popular over the years, but many people still wonder if they’re going to be awake during the procedure, what happens if they need to blink or sneeze, and whether or not the procedure is painful.

If you’re considering laser eye surgery, keep reading to learn more about what to expect during the procedure.

Are You Awake During Laser Eye Surgery?

The answer is yes, during most laser eye surgeries, you will be awake but your eye will be numbed with anaesthetic drops.

This means that you will be conscious and aware of what is happening around you, but you should be unable to feel any pain or discomfort during the procedure.

In some instances, the surgeon may offer a mild sedative to help you relax and remain calm during the procedure but this won’t put you to sleep, and you’ll still be able to communicate with the surgeon and follow instructions.

It’s important to note that there are different types of laser eye surgery procedures, and the exact details of the procedure will vary depending on the individual case and the specific procedure being performed.

Your doctor will be able to provide you with more information about what to expect during your specific procedure.

Why Do You Have To Be Awake During Eye Surgery?

The word surgery often makes people think of going under the knife for several hours and being under a general anaesthetic.

However, laser eye surgery only takes a few minutes per eye, and is in most cases completely pain-free, so being put to sleep is unnecessary.

When a patient is awake, they’re able to communicate with the surgeon during the procedure, which can help if the surgeon needs the patient to look in a certain direction, for example.

They can also let the surgeon know if they’re experiencing pain or discomfort during the procedure which allows them to take immediate action with additional drops.

What Happens If You Blink Or Sneeze During Surgery?

Considering you blink around 12 times per minute, it’s no surprise that you might worry about blinking during your laser surgery.

Many people worry that blinking or sneezing during laser surgery will affect the end results.

Fortunately, that’s not the case.

Blinking or sneezing during the procedure will not make a difference in your treatment and you’ll still expect to see positive changes in your vision, even if you decide to have a sneezing fit during the procedure.

Your eyelids will be gently held open and you’ll be given numbing eye drops throughout, so not only can you not blink but the eye drops will reduce the discomfort you may feel and reduce the urge to blink.

Want To Find Out If You’re Suitable?

If you’re wondering whether laser eye treatment is the right choice for you, there are some key things to consider…

Is Laser Eye Surgery Painful?

For the vast majority of patients, laser surgery is pain-free and doesn’t require any sedation.

You’ll be given numbing eye drops which act as a local anesthetic to help reduce any discomfort you may feel during the procedure.

Laser eye surgery is very quick, typically taking only 1-2 minutes per eye, so even if you do feel any discomfort it will be over quickly, and you’ll be given advice on how to reduce the discomfort over the next 24-48 hours.


You may feel worried about coming in for LASIK surgery, however, our expert team is on hand to dispel any fears and help you to stay calm before, during, and after the LASIK procedure itself.

You will be fully awake during surgery, however, the procedure only lasts a few minutes and most patients are only in the procedure room for 10-15 minutes in total.

We will talk you through the process beforehand and will be able to give you guidance on your follow-up visits to ensure your treatment has worked as planned.

Most of our patients can’t believe how quick and pain-free the whole process was.

About the Author

Mr David Allamby is the founder and medical director of Focus Clinic - the leading provider of laser eye surgery in London. Focus’ commitment is to be the #1 clinic for vision outcome results with 100% of patients achieving 20/20 vision or even better. He is one of a limited number of UK surgeons who work in laser refractive surgery full-time.


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