Does Cataract Surgery Hurt?

Long Island, New York Cataract Surgery CenterBefore a laser cataract treatment procedure, our patients often ask us: “Is cataract surgery painful?” The eyes are an extremely sensitive area of the body, and it is natural to feel nervous or apprehensive about a laser or other surgical instruments coming into contact with the eyes. Some people even postpone the treatment they need out of fear or nerves.

The cataract surgeons at Island Eye Surgicenter want to assure potential patients that the procedure does not hurt. Concerns about pain are no reason to avoid surgery. Read on for more details.

Preventing Pain and Discomfort During Cataract Surgery

Prior to cataract surgery, the patient’s eyes are completely numbed with special drops to eliminate the possibility of pain. Sedative medication, such as Valium or something similar, can also be administered to help the patient drift into a deeply relaxed and comfortable state during surgery. Additional sedative medication may be administered intravenously during surgery to keep the patient comfortable.

A special speculum is used to gently hold the eyes open during the procedure, but this does not hurt. Patients may feel mild pressure as the surgeon breaks up the lens, removes it and places the intraocular lens. However, these steps are not painful and occur very quickly.

Eye Pain After Laser Eye Surgery

Cataract patients normally do not experience pain after surgery. However, as the numbing drops wear off after surgery, they may experience mild discomfort, as well as the following:

  • Itchy or irritated eyes
  • Blurry or hazy vision
  • Watery eyes
  • Foreign body sensation – as if something is stuck in the eye
  • Sensitivity to light

These symptoms are temporary and usually subside within a few days. Prescription or over-the-counter pain medication can be used to make patients more comfortable as they recuperate. Most patients see well enough to resume work and drive by the end of the first week after surgery.

Significant eye pain after cataract surgery could indicate a serious complication, and should be reported to the surgical team to rule out an adverse reaction.

Contact Island Eye Surgicenter

If you have a question for the cataract surgeons at Island Eye Surgicenter or would like to schedule an informational consultation, please contact our Staten Island office today.


Island Eye Surgicenter
1500 Jericho Turnpike
Westbury, NY 11590

Tel: (516) 877-2400
Fax: (516) 877-1879

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