Can Laser Eye Surgery Correct Astigmatism?.. And Is It Right for You?
Those who have been diagnosed with astigmatism may be fed up with blurry vision, and are looking for a more permanent solution —
- “Does Laser Eye Surgery work for astigmatism?”
- “Can I get Laser Eye Surgery even if I have severe astigmatism?”
- “What sort of treatment outcomes can I expect following the procedure?”
If any of these concerns sound familiar, you will find value in this article. We will discuss:
- What exactly is astigmatism (and its various sources and forms)
- How Laser Eye Surgery is used to correct astigmatism
- Various other treatment options
Here’s everything you need to know.
What is astigmatism?
Astigmatism is a common refractive error in which the eye has an irregularly shaped cornea — it’s elongated rather than fully spherical. This distorts and fragments the light entering the eye, causing blurred vision.
It is one of the most common diagnoses and is very manageable:
of all people
*Based on a study of 2124 patients.
There are two main sources of astigmatism:
- Corneal astigmatism is a distortion of the cornea — the outer portion of the eye.
- Lenticular astigmatism is a distortion in the lens — which is just inside the front of the eye.
Astigmatism usually affects refraction as well, leading to three forms of astigmatism:
- Myopic astigmatism, in an eye that is nearsighted.
- Hyperopic astigmatism, in an eye that is farsighted.
- Mixed astigmatism, in an eye that is both nearsighted and farsighted.
Although the brain accommodates for small distortions, significant astigmatism can cause:
- Blurred vision (up close and/or far away)
- Difficulty with night vision
- Eyestrain or irritation
- Frequent headaches
This is why regular screening and vision testing by an eyecare specialist is vital — so that they can quickly identify, treat and prevent problems from worsening.
What does an astigmatic prescription look like?
If you have astigmatism, your prescription will have a cylinder (or cyl) and an axis. The cyl value denotes the amount of astigmatism, and the axis, its direction.
It would look something like this:
Glasses, contact lenses, and laser eye surgery are all potential treatment options for astigmatism.
Here are some pros and cons of each option:
|· Generally inexpensive.
· Can be removed when not needed.
· No need for ongoing maintenance or follow-up.
|· May be inconvenient or uncomfortable.
· Easily lost or broken.
· Can fog up or be affected by weather conditions.
|· Provides a more natural appearance.
· Can be worn during sports and other physical activity.
· No need for ongoing maintenance or follow-up.
|· Risk infection without proper hygiene and care.
· Can inconvenience daily activities, such as face washing, showering etc.
· May need frequent replacement.
Laser Eye Surgery
|· Permanent or long-lasting correction.
· Quick and simple procedure.
· Low risk of complications.
· Requires surgical procedure.
· Needs follow-up appointment.
· Some people may be unsuitable due to medical conditions or other factors.
Ultimately, the best choice will depend on your specific needs, lifestyle, and preferences.
Laser Eye Surgery for Astigmatism
Laser eye surgery has a very high success rate for treating most types of refractive errors. It is an excellent procedure for most patients with astigmatism, and can be used to correct most types of astigmatism very effectively.
In fact, Mendoza et al. conducted research on the postoperative outcomes of LASIK in astigmatic patients.
The results, published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, showed no difference in LASIK outcomes between patients with high versus moderate astigmatism.
Can severe astigmatism be treated with Laser Eye Surgery?
You may have been told that you’re ineligible for Laser Eye Surgery due to:
- Your level of refractive error (too shortsighted or too farsighted).
- Source of your astigmatism — corneal, lenticular or both.
- Extent of your astigmatic distortion.
But this may not necessarily be true.
Our surgeons routinely treat complex astigmatisms — patients with even 6 Diopters of astigmatism can expect excellent long-term vision outcomes.
Book your consultation with us, and your clinician will discuss all your available options in detail to determine the best course of treatment.
Before you get Laser Eye Surgery
Here are some factors you should consider before booking appointment for Laser Eye Surgery:
Your overall health
You may be ineligible for Laser Eye Surgery if you:
- Have underlying health conditions, such as autoimmune disorders and uncontrolled diabetes.
- Are pregnant, as pregnancy could affect the shape of your cornea.
- Have had previous eye surgery, as you’re at higher risk for complications.
Discuss these and any other potential risk factors with your clinician during the consultation.
The expertise of your surgeon
An experienced surgeon will have a thorough understanding of the techniques used in Laser Eye surgery. They can identify and manage any vital decision making or complications that may arise during the procedure.
A skilled surgeon is crucial in ensuring the best possible outcome for your treatment.
Calibre of technology
Which is more important? The laser or the diagnostic equipment?
The laser makes precise, controlled changes in shape of your cornea — any inaccuracies or imprecisions could result in suboptimal outcomes or complications.
And diagnostics provide critical calculations necessary for your procedure.
So, it is impossible to have one without the other.
That’s why we place equal importance on both — and have worked with WaveFront to develop our diagnostic and therapeutic equipment to match our rigorous standards.
This is the best way to have precise control over every aspect of your treatment.
Cost of the procedure
Laser Eye Surgery cost may vary greatly depending on the procedure, the location and the surgeon.
But here are some other factors you should look for in your treatment:
- Comprehensive pre-surgical assessment so you get the best treatment plan for your individual needs.
- Experienced clinicians using cutting-edge equipment for advanced surgical precision.
- Extensive aftercare with detailed advice and follow-up to ensure the best long-term visual outcome.
Mendoza, G. et al. (2014) Comparative study of the outcome of LASIK in moderate versus high astigmatism, Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. Available at: https://iovs.arvojournals.org/article.aspx?articleid=2266802