Are You Awake During LASIK?

By Andrew E Holzman, MD FACS on October 15, 2019

Woman undergoing LASIK surgeryPatient wellness and education is always a focus at our practice. That’s why Dr. Andrew E. Holzman takes time to answer patients’ questions about LASIK and what to expect during the procedure. Patient-centered care is just one of the things that has made our laser vision correction practice a leader in the Washington, DC area.

Many patients have questions about the LASIK surgery itself. Specifically, we get many questions about being conscious during the LASIK procedure. Let’s discuss what happens during LASIK and why being awake during surgery is so important to patient safety and success.

What Happens During LASIK?

During LASIK surgery, numbing eye drops are first placed to prevent pain and discomfort. A flap is created on the topmost layer of the cornea (the epithelium). The epithelial flap is raised and a computer-guided laser is used to precisely reshape the cornea. Once the corneal reshaping is completed, the corneal flap is set down to heal.

Overall, LASIK takes about 10 minutes to complete, and the laser reshaping portion of the procedure takes about a minute.

Patients Are Conscious During LASIK

Now, to answer the question this blog post poses.

Yes, patients are conscious and awake during the LASIK procedure. While it may seem unnerving to have your eyes open while a laser is pointed at your eye, it’s important given the nature of the surgery.

Patients do not have to worry about blinking during LASIK since their eye is carefully held open using a special instrument. It’s a quick eye surgery, and LASIK patients at our Washington, DC centers are usually surprised that the procedure is over so quickly.

Can I Get LASIK While Under General Anesthetic?

While general anesthetic could technically be used during LASIK, it’s a bad idea for a number of reasons.

For one, using general anesthetic would dramatically increase the cost of LASIK as well as the risks to patient wellness. In addition, using general aesthetic for a surgery that only takes about 10 minutes is excessive.

Whatever pros would be provided by the use of general anesthetic during LASIK would be greatly outweighed by the cons.

Patients Can Opt for Sedation During LASIK

While general anesthetic will not be recommended for LASIK surgery, patients can opt for conscious sedation techniques during their procedure. The use of a sedative will calm a patient down and help them achieve a relaxed state.

For patients who are especially anxious or afraid about undergoing LASIK, conscious sedation is the best and safest option to consider.

Reducing Anxiety by Discussing the LASIK Procedure

We know that having any procedure performed on your eyes can lead to some anxiety. That’s why we always take time to discuss the LASIK process with patients. Knowing what to expect and why certain actions are taken gives patients a better sense of understanding and mastery over their fears.  Furthermore, Dr Holzman will coach you through the procedure, casually chatting and making sure you are comfortable and calm while he performs your vision correction.   He also has music playing in the background,  which is remarkably effective and helpful to the patients.  

If you have any concerns whatsoever, feel free to share them so we can offer information, insight, and understanding. Your safety and well being is always our first priority.

Contact a Skilled LASIK Surgeon

For more information about laser vision correction and how it can benefit you, be sure to contact a skilled LASIK surgeon. Dr. Holzman can be reached in the Washington, DC area by calling (703) 556-9155.

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