If you’re reading this article, you probably have astigmatism. And if you’re wondering if you can get LASIK for astigmatism, the short answer is yes. The doctors at the Kraff Eye Institute can tell you more.
Refractive errors are a group of conditions that affect how light refracts or bends when it enters the eye. Astigmatism is a common type of refractive error, like hyperopia, myopia, and presbyopia. Astigmatism is usually present at birth, as a result of the shape of the eye. However, it can fluctuate throughout life. The source of astigmatism is most commonly the cornea, the clear tissue at the front of the eye. This is called corneal astigmatism. Astigmatism can also come from the crystalline lens inside the eye. This is called lenticular astigmatism.
In corneal astigmatism, the curvature of the cornea is uneven, instead of being shaped like a perfect sphere. The astigmatic corneal contour can be compared to that of a football, rather than a basketball or soccer ball. Similarly, in lenticular astigmatism, the lens is uneven in shape.
When the cornea or lens is not symmetric, the light that passes through the eye splits and creates two different focal points. Depending on if you also have myopia or hyperopia, the 2 focal points are hitting in front of (myopia) or behind (hyperopia) the retina. The retina is the sensory tissue at the back of the eye. When light doesn’t focus in the right place, people with astigmatism experience blurry vision.
You’re probably wondering, can you get LASIK with astigmatism? The answer is yes, but it will also depend on the level of your astigmatism and whether the astigmatism is symmetric or asymmetric.
Can LASIK Eye Surgery Fix Astigmatism?
You may have heard that LASIK and astigmatism don’t go together, but that’s not the case. In LASIK eye surgery, astigmatism is corrected by the laser to make the cornea more symmetrical. When you correct the astigmatism, vision improves.
How Effective Is LASIK for Astigmatism?
So, does LASIK work for astigmatism? The answer is usually yes. LASIK is successful in treating most people’s astigmatism, as long as it’s the right type and it falls within the treatment limits. With the technology used in our practice, we are typically able to treat patients who have high levels of astigmatism.
Are There Types of Astigmatism That LASIK Can’t Fix?
LASIK treats the cornea, and therefore can only address corneal astigmatism. Lenticular astigmatism won’t be affected.
There are two general types of astigmatism: regular and irregular. The type of astigmatism referred to so far in this article is the regular subtype, which is most common. Irregular astigmatism results from trauma to the eye or certain corneal conditions such as keratoconus, pellucid marginal degeneration, epithelial basement membrane dystrophy, and others. Irregular astigmatism is more difficult to address with refractive surgery, and LASIK usually won’t be an option.
The treatment limits for LASIK are fairly generous, so even astigmatism that’s thought to be severe may fall within them. With bad astigmatism, we will have to determine if surgery will still be a safe and effective treatment option.
Dr. Colman R. Kraff is an eye specialist with over 25 years of experience. Schedule an appointment to discuss the treatment of astigmatism with LASIK.