LASIK laser eye surgery needs only 10 to 15 minutes to complete. No general anesthesia is given during the surgery and yes, the patient has to be awake, while the procedure is being performed. Many patients are squeamish regarding keeping the eyes open, while laser is pointed and being focused direct to the eye. Some of them go a bit further and worry about the risk of moving the eye or head accidentally and danger of damaging the eye. All these thoughts eventually increase anxiety levels of the patients. But don’t worry, there is no damage possible to your eye and the surgeons are aware of the responses of the patients and adequate care is taken during the procedure.
Why No General Anaesthesia?
General anaesthesia is not preferred by the eye surgeons, because of various reasons. The primary reason is that the patient needs to be awake and keep the eye open so that the laser beam can be focussed. And secondary reason is that there is no pain or harm to the eye, when the laser beam is focused and hence, there is no need for the patient to fall asleep. Moreover, there are certain ill-affects to the body, when general anaesthesia is given to the body, unnecessarily, when not needed. It affects the body parts like lungs, heart, brain with the same drugs. It increases the cost of the surgery, as anaesthesia specialist need additionally to be present during the procedure. General anaesthesia also may result in confusion, nausea and agitation after awakening from sleep.
Yes, there are certain sedatives, like Valium is given to the patient so that the patient stays calm and relaxed. These sedatives make the eye to be numbed and it allows no pain to be felt by the patient, even laser beams are focused sharply over the eye. Most of the patients express their opinion of feeling relaxed with no pain, by awaking during the surgery.
What About Moving Accidentally?
The threat of moving the head accidentally is another reason, why most of the patients get scared to be awake during the procedure. The laser used does not make the eyes dry or painful, as the eyes are kept hydrated consistently. So, the threat of moving the eyes is automatically ruled out. And additional good news is that modern devices used for LASIK has been equipped with the feature of safety shutoff. In case the eyes or head is moved accidentally, the machine gets shut off automatically, leaving the procedure unaffected or disturbed because of the movement. The device reacts well before the surgeon reacts and the necessary action is taken instantly.
So, never worry about being awake or even accidental movement of the eyes or head, while the procedure is performed. Your eyes are operated with enough safety.