Can You Get LASIK for Astigmatism? (and Does it Fix it?)

LASIK is a popular form of refractive eye surgery designed to correct common vision issues, such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. Astigmatism is a condition in which the eye doesn’t focus light evenly onto the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye, leading to blurred or distorted vision. This issue is often due to an irregular curvature of the cornea, the eye’s front surface, or sometimes the lens inside the eye. LASIK for astigmatism involves reshaping the cornea so that it can focus light more precisely onto the retina, helping to improve vision clarity. Because astigmatism has its root in an improperly shaped cornea, LASIK is an ideal surgery for those living with the condition.

Can I Have LASIK Surgery if I Have Astigmatism?

LASIK’s efficacy in correcting astigmatism largely depends on the degree of the condition. For mild to moderate astigmatism, LASIK is often effective at significantly reducing or even eliminating your reliance on glasses or contact lenses. The procedure uses a special laser to precisely remove corneal tissue, effectively reshaping the cornea to correct the way it focuses light onto the retina. However, in cases of severe astigmatism, LASIK may not fully correct the vision impairment, and eyewear may still be required, albeit with a reduced prescription.

While LASIK is generally considered safe, there are potential risks and complications specific to astigmatism patients. One of these is overcorrection or undercorrection, which could necessitate a secondary or “enhancement” procedure. Additionally, some patients may experience side effects, such as glare, halos, and difficulty with night vision, post-surgery. It is essential for prospective LASIK patients to discuss these potential outcomes with Dr. Haddad, to fully understand the benefits and risks before deciding on LASIK.

Curious to Learn More about LASIK?

We cover how this procedure works and more in our comprehensive guide.

Candidacy for LASIK with Astigmatism

Determining candidacy for LASIK surgery is a comprehensive process that involves assessing several factors, like degree of astigmatism, overall eye health, and the stability of your prescription. To be considered a candidate for LASIK, your astigmatism should be within a correctable range and your eyes should be healthy and free from other conditions. 

The evaluation process for LASIK includes a consultation with Dr. Haddad who will examine your eyes and make sure you are indeed a good candidate for LASIK. If for some reason you aren’t a good candidate, there are other procedures such as SMILE and PRK which may be better options.

Alternatives to LASIK with Astigmatism

While LASIK is a common surgical treatment for astigmatism, it’s not the only option. SMILE (Small Incision Lenticule Extraction) and PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) are other surgical procedures that can be used to correct astigmatism.

SMILE is a less invasive procedure than LASIK and involves creating a small incision in the cornea to remove a small piece of corneal tissue. This changes the cornea’s shape and improves the way light is focused onto the retina. SMILE has shown good results in treating astigmatism and may be an option for those not eligible for LASIK due to factors such as a thin cornea or dry eye syndrome.

PRK was the precursor to LASIK and still remains a viable option for certain patients. Like LASIK, PRK works by reshaping the cornea using a laser. However, unlike LASIK, which creates a corneal flap to access the tissue underneath, PRK works directly on the surface of the cornea. This eliminates the risk of flap-related complications and makes it a suitable option for individuals with thin corneas, those involved in contact sports, and vocations that might risk a flap-related injury.

Recovery Time and Life After LASIK, SMILE, and PRK

LEI shares the differences in recovery after these popular vision correction procedures.

Non-surgical solutions to astigmatism primarily involve compensating for the irregular cornea shape to help focus light onto the retina more accurately. Glasses and contact lenses are the most common non-surgical treatments for astigmatism. Specially-designed toric contact lenses can provide a more precise correction for certain types of astigmatism. Orthokeratology, or “ortho-k,” is another non-surgical option where specially designed gas permeable contact lenses are worn overnight to temporarily reshape the cornea for clearer vision during the day.

Regardless of the chosen method of correction, it’s important for individuals with astigmatism to have regular eye examinations with Dr. Haddad to monitor their eye health and vision quality. The team of nurses and physicians at Laser Eye Institute can provide the most appropriate advice based on the individual’s unique condition and lifestyle.

Final Thoughts

In a large number of cases, astigmatism can be managed and improved with procedures like LASIK, SMILE, and PRK. If you or a loved one has astigmatism, LASIK may be an excellent option to help improve or restore your vision. Are you ready to become a patient at Laser Eye Institute? Get started by scheduling a consultation. Or if you’re still deciding, schedule a 15-minute phone call with a LASIK coordinator OR take this quick quiz to find out if LASIK, PRK or SMILE is right for you.

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David Lemieux, BA from Oakland University is a LASIK expert and marketing professional that has worked with Dr. Dan Haddad and the Laser Eye Institute since 2017. David believes in education and cutting through the noise to deliver facts and opinions about LASIK, SMILE, and all things Laser Vision Correction.