Astigmatism LASIK Laser Vision Correction
Can LASIK treat my Regular Astigmatism?
The answer is Yes!
One of the most common misconceptions about LASIK is that astigmatism cannot be corrected. Yet, the treatment of astigmatism has been successfully performed and FDA approved in the U.S. since 1997! With the recent FDA approval of iDesign Custom LASIK, higher levels of astigmatism can be treated safely, up to 5 D.
What is astigmatism?
There are two types of Astigmatism - Regular and Irregular. Astigmatism is a common condition of the eye and occurs in about one third of people.
Regular AstigmatismRegular astigmatism can occur in conjunction with nearsightedness, farsightedness or alone. It is defined as a steepening of the cornea or natural lens which causes light to be focused unevenly, so two different planes of light are formed within the eye. Images may look blurry, shadowed or ghosted when one has astigmatism. Blurry vision may occur at all distances, near and far.
In addition to blurry vision, patients with uncorrected astigmatism may complain of eyestrain and headaches, associated with reading or other prolonged visual tasks.
Irregular AstigmatismIf one has irregular astigmatism; glasses do not correct this condition. Patients will require contact lenses or possible other corneal surgery to see clearly. This often results from a disease of the cornea.
Will LASIK correct Irregular Astigmatism?
No. Some people with irregular astigmatism have a disease in their eye known as Keratoconus in which the front surface, cornea, becomes thinner and misshapen like a football. The condition progresses usually during the late teens to early twenties and progressively gets worse throughout one's life. This results in an irregularity and asymmetry of the astigmatism and is best to treat with a strengthening procedure, such as corneal collagen crosslinking of the eye.
Most astigmatism is genetically determined, so it is commonly found in children with parents that have astigmatism. Sometimes astigmatism may develop following an eye injury or eye surgery. Since astigmatism can be diagnosed early in life, it is important to schedule an eye exam for your children in order to diagnose potential visual problems in school. It is estimated that approximately one third of school age children have some degree of astigmatism.
Options for Correction of Astigmatism includes - LASIK!
Astigmatism, just like nearsightedness and farsightedness, is correctable with eyeglasses. Some patients prefer contact lenses (Soft Toric Contact Lenses or Gas Permeable Contact Lenses).
Patients who do not want to depend on glasses or contact lenses can opt to have refractive surgery.
The most frequently performed refractive surgery procedures are done with a computer-driven Excimer Laser. LASIK surgery is usually the appropriate procedure of choice for people with a moderate degree of Myopia (nearsightedness), Hyperopia (Farsightedness), and/or Astigmatism. FDA approved parameters are used to determine who is a good candidate.
What are the risks?
As with any surgery, LASIK surgery has some risks, including: under-correction or over-correction, unwanted visual aberrations (such as glare and halos around bright lights or even double vision), and dry eyes post-operatively. Most complications in LASIK have been related to the corneal flap created in the traditional LASIK procedure. Today surgeons can perform the LASIK procedure without making a flap making the surgery considerably safer.
The best recommendation is for you to schedule a consultation to determine what is the best treatment option for your vision. During your consultation ask the surgeon directly what they expect your visual outcome to be.