Can LASIK Fix Astigmatism?
Laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis – also known as LASIK – is the number one laser eye surgery performed in the world today. In 2015, there were almost 600,000 surgeries performed in the United States alone, and that number is expected to reach 720,000 by 2020.
As the premier solution for refractive sight problems, laser vision correction can dramatically improve the lives of patients, who have found that glasses and even contact lenses, can compromise their ability to work or enjoy recreational activities. Astigmatism is a common eye disorder that affects a person’s ability to focus light. One of the most common questions patients ask about LASIK is “Can LASIK fix my astigmatism?”. To help answer this question, we will explain the LASIK process along with symptoms and treatments for astigmatism.
What is LASIK?
Laser vision correction has been around since the late 1970s, while the procedure known as LASIK was approved in the United States in 1999. Since its approval, the techniques and tools used in LASIK have advanced further, securing its position as the most popular choice for laser vision correction today.
LASIK uses cutting edge laser technology to reshape the cornea to improve the way that the eye focuses light rays on the retina, the layer of tissue located in the back of the eye near the optic nerve. The exact way in which the cornea is reshaped largely depends on whether the patient is far-sighted or near-sighted, along with the severity of their vision problems.
In patients who are near-sighted, the cornea is reshaped so that it is flatter. In patients who are far-sighted, the cornea is made steeper.
What is Astigmatism?
Like myopia (near-sightedness) and hyperopia (far-sightedness), astigmatism is a refractive sight problem. The cornea should be shaped with a curve like a baseball. However, in patients with astigmatism, the cornea is shaped more like an American football. The irregular curve causes the light to be refracted incorrectly, and the images that we see are blurred or hazy. Astigmatism is extremely common, and the majority of patients who rely on visual aids such as glasses have some degree of astigmatism that their prescription eyewear helps them to correct.
Can LASIK be Used to Treat Astigmatism?
Due to the fact that astigmatism is a refractive condition, most cases can be treated by LASIK. In patients with astigmatism, the laser is used to reshape the cornea so that the front surface of the eye is more symmetrical.
Typically, if the astigmatism does not exceed 3.0D (diopters) in magnitude, it can be corrected with a single LASIK procedure. However, in more severe cases, follow-up treatment may be necessary to fine tune the correction and give the patient the best possible result.
Candidates for LASIK Laser Eye Surgery
Although LASIK is extremely successful, it may not necessarily be right for your individual ocular requirements. You will be asked to attend a consultation appointment with Dr. Ahdoot at Progressive Ophthalmology, where you will be able to discuss the possibility in more detail. Dr. Ahdoot will also be able to offer more personalized recommendations. However, typically good candidates for LASIK share some common characteristics including:
- A minimum of 18 years of age
- No prescription changes for at least the last 12 months
- No family history of cornel disease
- No significant medical or ocular conditions, such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma or macular degeneration
- Not pregnant or nursing
- An eye prescription which falls between specific parameters
If you are suffering from astigmatism, LASIK can help reduce or totally eliminate your reliance on prescription visual aids. Call Progressive Ophthalmology in Queens, NY today to arrange a consultation at 718-565-2020.