Can LASIK correct astigmatism?

Published by Lance Kugler, MD on March 9, 2012

Astigmatism is a refractive error that results in impaired eyesight due to irregular conformation of the eye, meaning the eye is not perfectly round but more ovular. It often occurs early in life and usually in children between the ages of 5 to 17 years old. Astigmatism can last a lifetime if it isn’t treated properly.

Many believe that astigmatism cannot be treated with LASIK surgery, and although this was true years ago, modern laser systems can now treat astigmatism very well. Laser vision correction can now change the shape of the front surface of the cornea, which is most responsible for astigmatism. However it cannot change the shape of other parts of the eye, such as the posterior surface of the cornea or the crystalline lens, which are also contributing factors. If astigmatism lies in the front surface of the cornea, the surgery can be completed successfully, but if it is anywhere else in the eye, then most laser systems try to reverse the astigmatism by reshaping the cornea, even if there is nothing wrong with it.

This form of correction results in good vision for patients temporarily, but may actually cause poor quality vision long-term. It could also reduce the success of cataract surgery for the patient in the future. There are only a handful of clinics, ours being one of them, that can avoid this long-term astigmatism problem by using vector analysis software for all of their LASIK patients with astigmatism. This analysis outlines patients who may be at risk for long-term astigmatism problems, and allows doctors to address them at the time of surgery or recommend another type of vision correction.

If you suffer from astigmatism, the best way to check if you are suitable for laser vision correction is to book a consultation with an eye doctor that specializes in LASIK for patients with astigmatism. Contact our clinic today to book an appointment with Lance Kugler, MD.

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