Astigmatism is a common eye condition, with one in three people experiencing it in their lifetime. If you have any degree of astigmatism, you might be wondering if LASIK will fix it, or if it will impact your candidacy for LASIK. Keep reading to learn more.
What is Astigmatism?
Astigmatism refers to a general blurring of the vision. It can happen on its own, though it can also accompany other refractive errors such as myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness). Some people are born with astigmatism, while others develop it gradually. Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent astigmatism.
What Causes Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is often caused by a misshapen eye. Ideally, the eye should be spherical, though sometimes the eye’s shape is not so round and is more oblong in nature. This may be the result of a poor contour for the cornea (corneal astigmatism), the lens (lenticular astigmatism), or a combination of the two. When the eye is not properly shaped, light refracts onto multiple parts of the retina rather than a single point. This leads to blurred vision.
Astigmatism can also be caused by an eye injury that results in a scarred cornea. This type is called irregular astigmatism.
Can LASIK Fix Astigmatism?
LASIK is very effective at treating corneal astigmatism and other refractive errors. Thanks to LASIK, patients who previously suffered from corneal astigmatism are able to see clearly without needing glasses or contact lenses.
During the procedure, the eye surgeon creates a flap in the eye and uses a laser to remove thin layers from the cornea. Removing these thin layers reshapes the cornea so that it is round, as it should be, as opposed to spherical. Reshaping the cornea removes the astigmatism and restores vision for the patient.
While corneal astigmatism is characterized by an improperly shaped cornea, lenticular astigmatism is characterized by an improperly curved lens. Lenticular astigmatism is less common than corneal astigmatism. Unfortunately, LASIK cannot treat this type of astigmatism, since LASIK reshapes the cornea, not the lens.
Occasionally, a patient with astigmatism might not be an ideal candidate for LASIK due to other factors. In this scenario, there are surgical and non-surgical treatments that can address his or her needs. Procedures such as PRK or LASEK may be ideal. CK is another option to consider that may help address astigmatism. The best non-surgical LASIK alternatives tend to be glasses or contact lenses.
LASIK Surgery in Austin, Texas
If you live in Austin, Texas, or the surrounding area and are considering LASIK, contact Broberg Eye Care today. We would love to answer your questions, address any concerns you may have about the procedure or your candidacy, and help you decide if LASIK is right for you. Schedule an appointment today and take one step closer to 20/20 vision (or better!).