LASIK, which stands for Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, is a popular eye surgery to correct refractive errors of the eye. Can you fix astigmatism with LASIK?
Common refractive errors of the eye are myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism. While they differ in the area of the visual field that is impacted, all refractive errors blur your vision causing difficulty seeing, eye strain and headaches. Refractive errors occur due to imperfectly shaped or changing shape of the eyeball, cornea and lens. Many times these vision problems are attributed to age, but genetics play a role in their development as well. For many people, glasses or contacts are a simple solution, but for severe cases or long-term results, LASIK surgery is the best treatment option.
Astigmatism is caused by an irregularly shaped cornea and lens. Instead of reflecting light clearly, the light coming into the eye is distorted. Astigmatism causes blurred vision at both near and far distances since the eye can’t properly focus. An eye exam can diagnose astigmatism, as well as the level of severity. For mild to moderate cases, glasses or special contacts can correct astigmatism. For severe cases, or those that worsen over time, eye surgery is another option.
LASIK eye surgery is an outpatient procedure. During surgery, the eye is numbed with eye drops and then a laser is used to cut an opening in the cornea. The opening is folded back (think of it like a door) so the laser can quickly emit pulses of light to reshape the tissue of the cornea. Then, the opening is closed again and surgery is complete. Full recovery time is several months, but during that time vision improves by the day.
So, can you fix astigmatism with LASIK? Yes! Astigmatism is a refractive error that can be corrected with surgery and astigmatism responds well to LASIK. LASIK is one of the most popular elective surgeries in the United States, with hundreds of thousands of people choosing it every year to correct their vision. This is with good reason too, as over 90% of patients end up with 20/20 vision (or better!).
If you find yourself squinting or struggling to focus, if lights are glaring, or if you are suffering from blurry vision and headaches, schedule an exam with your eye doctor. They can diagnose astigmatism and create a treatment plan that’s right for you, including LASIK eye surgery.