You may have heard that people with astigmatism don’t qualify for LASIK. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.
In previous years, many people interested in LASIK were turned away because the procedure could not fix astigmatism. Unfortunately, those people may still be under the impression that LASIK cannot provide a lasting solution.
However, LASIK technology has evolved to the point where most forms of astigmatism can be partially or fully fixed, along with myopia and hyperopia. If you have astigmatism but haven’t yet pursued laser correction, now is the time.
LASIK and Astigmatism
Normal corneas are round, but people with astigmatism have an oblong cornea that’s shaped more like an egg. Mild astigmatism often doesn’t require any correction, but in more severe cases, it becomes difficult for the eye to focus images. These cases require intervention, and can especially benefit from LASIK.
Laser surgery may seem intimidating, but it’s a fairly simple — and very commonly-performed — procedure. The end goal of LASIK is to change the shape of the cornea to make it more spherical. To do so, the surgeon will make a tiny incision in the cornea and then alter its shape using an ultra-precise laser. In most cases, patients find that their recovery time is no more than two days, and the complication rate is low.
LASIK is very versatile, but it’s not quite a silver bullet. People with a very high degree of astigmatism may require follow-up LASIK enhancement procedures. Even in these cases, LASIK may be a better solution than glasses or contacts. Depending on the type and severity of astigmatism, glasses or contacts may only correct vision along the horizontal axis or vertical axis of the visual field. LASIK, on the other hand, should correct the entire field of vision.
However, not all patients are equally-suited to LASIK. Patients who suffer from keratoconus, a cousin of astigmatism in which the cornea is cone-shaped instead of egg-shaped, currently aren’t eligible for LASIK. Also, if cataracts or nerve problems are causing your astigmatism, LASIK probably won’t be helpful. Ultimately, the decision about whether LASIK is right for you will come down to an eye care professional’s opinion.
Taking the Next Steps
The decision to go ahead with LASIK is one that should always be made after careful consultation with your personal eye care professional — they’re the experts, and they can help you weigh all of your eye care options before making a final decision. If you’re tired of living with astigmatism and want to start seeing more clearly and living more fully, contact Swagel Wootton Eye Institute to schedule a consultation today.