Are you awake during laser eye surgery?

Many people worry about being awake during laser eye surgery because they’re anxious about what they’ll see or how they’ll react.

Over 30 million people have had LASIK laser eye surgery since 1999. It is becoming increasingly popular as technology advances and becomes more affordable.

Even with today’s technology, people still have many concerns about laser eye surgery. One common question people often ask is, “are you awake during laser eye surgery?”

Many people think that surgery that involves using a laser to cut into your eye would require general anesthesia. It doesn’t. This is because general anaesthesia carries a higher risk than LASIK itself, so surgeons prefer not to use it.

LASIK surgery is so quick—it only takes a few minutes—that patients only need local anesthesia in the form of eye drops. These completely numb the eyes but you will be completely awake for the entire surgery.

To make you feel comfortable and relaxed, the eye surgeons explain every step of the surgery.

What happens if you blink during LASIK?

Most people envision LASIK to involve big, scary lasers which shoot beams into their eyes. If you’re someone who has trouble putting things in your eyes, then this image is quite worrisome.

So how do you keep from blinking during eye surgery?

Surgeons use a special blinking retainer called a lid speculum. This gently holds the eyelid in place and helps prevent blinking. State-of-the-art LASIK equipment also tracks the eye’s movement at an incredible speed of 4,000 times per second. This means that if you did blink or move your eye during surgery—which is virtually impossible—the LASIK equipment would halt operations. It will resume as soon as the eye is back in place.

What does laser eye surgery do?

LASIK surgery corrects refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Laser eye surgery works by reshaping the cornea. The cornea focuses light onto the retina at the back of the eye. If you’re nearsighted, farsighted or have astigmatism, your cornea does not reflect light correctly. Reshaping your cornea with lasers helps it focus light to create a more sharp and clear image.

What’s the best laser eye surgery?

We answered the question, “are you awake during laser eye surgery?” Now you may be wondering what the best laser eye surgery is for you. To find out, we recommend getting a free video appointment with our eye specialist. Here we can answer any questions you may have about laser eye surgery.

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What patients say about us

I was well taken care of. They took good care of my things. Dr. Erik Chotiner did an excellent job. I am so happy to see quite clearly with my eye that has macular degeneration.
Very happy with all the staff, from check in, check out and nursing in pre op. Amazing. Very clean facility. Dr. Chotiner is so efficient and fast. Would recommend him to everyone.
Vey Love
Excellent care and personal attention are provided at Memorial Eye. Hats off to Dr. E. Chotiner, nurses and staff for making my experience there so great!
Q. Bender
I had cataract surgery and correction of an astigmatism. In one word......excellent!
Ray Jaffev
Wonderful practice with kind and supportive employees. The doctors are top notch and excellent!
A. Hendrix
I am a first time patient at your practice. Everyone was so nice and knowledgeable. Overall it was a great experience. I did not realize how bad my vision was. I am amazed! The get well flowers were a nice touch!
Surgery was quick and easy. Staff was very pleasant. Would recommend Dr. Chotiner very highly.
Patricia Scheidler
Service is very complete and professional. Dr. Erik Chotiner was very friendly and able to answer all of my questions. I am very pleased with service and will recommend.
A. Lawrence
I would recommend Memorial Eye Institute and Dr. Erik Chotiner for their expertise. They are all very professional and caring for their patients. It was an excellent experience.
Joyce Keefer

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Recognized leaders in Harrisburg eye surgery


Dr. Bennett Chotiner
M.D., F.A.C.S.


Dr. Bennett Chotiner is the founder and medical director of Memorial Eye Institute. A noted innovator, in 1977 he established his clinical practice, the Pennsylvania Eye Associates. In 1984, he established the Pennsylvania Eye Surgery Center, Pennsylvania’s first …

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Dr. Erik A Chotiner
M.D., F.A.C.S.


Erik Chotiner, M.D. diagnoses and treats a wide range of medical eye conditions. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Franklin and Marshall College. Dr. Chotiner attended Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia where he received multiple awards including the Physiology Prize for …

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