LASIK for Astigmatism
What is Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is a very common vision correction condition and the majority of people have at least a small amount of astigmatism. Small amounts of astigmatism typically do not affect the vision clarity and do not require treatment.
In most cases, higher amounts of astigmatism causes blurry vision requiring correction. Astigmatism is caused by either an irregular shaped cornea, which is the clear front cover of the eye, or sometimes the curvature of the lens inside the eye.
An irregular shaped cornea or lens prevents light from focusing properly on the retina, the light sensitive surface at the back of the eye. As a result, vision becomes blurred at any distance both near and far.
Astigmatism can occur in one or both eyes and can be accompanied by hyperopia or myopia. Patients with astigmatism may experience eyestrain and headaches without the aid of glasses or contact lenses.
Instead of the cornea imitating the curved shape of a baseball, it imitates that of a football. This type of curve causes light to hit the eye at multiple points, rather than a single point, sending mixed signals to the brain which then causes images to look distorted. Individuals can inherit astigmatism from their parents. It can also be caused by an injury or ocular disease. Most patients with astigmatism are required to wear glasses or contact lenses
in order to correct the problem.
Is LASIK Eye Surgery for Astigmatism Possible?
Many wonder if astigmatism is a refractive error that can be corrected with LASIK eye surgery. Astigmatism will not disqualify a patient from being a candidate for LASIK since FDA approved technologies allow most patients with an astigmatism to experience positive results from LASIK eye surgery.
LASIK for astigmatism changes the curvature of the cornea, either by flattening or steepening, using a cool laser beam. However, before undergoing the procedure, all potential patients will be evaluated and not all will be considered good candidates for LASIK.
There may be some patients with severe astigmatism that do not qualify for LASIK surgery. Many people afflicted with astigmatism are children, and it is recommended that LASIK patients be over the age of 18 years old to ensure that their refractive error has stabilized.
How Does LASIK Surgery for Astigmatism Work?
LASIK surgery addresses the problems of astigmatism by reshaping the cornea to correct the way light enters the back of the eye. This spherical curve then allows the eye to focus light rays efficiently, which in turn may lead to clearer vision. Glasses and contact lenses can temporarily fix astigmatism, however, LASIK is a permanent solution.