Get LASIK for your Astigmatism

If you’ve been told in the past that you’re not a suitable candidate for LASIK eye surgery because you have astigmatism, then you’re not alone. In the early days of LASIK surgery, astigmatism patients may have been ruled out due to the limitations of technology and the ability to make the accurate calculations necessary to correct such a prescription. Fortunately for us, medical technology has advanced to the point where we can now offer LASIK for astigmatism.

What is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a type of prescription. Often found in conjunction with long-sightedness (hyperopia) or short-sightedness (myopia). It usually arises from an uneven curvature of the front surface of the eye known as the cornea. Such that light entering through this surface refracts and bends to fall on two different points on the retina at the back of the eye. This results in blurry or distorted vision. Patients with uncorrected astigmatism may also experience:
  • an increase in glare, perceiving lights as “smeared out” in a starburst pattern
  • ghosting, which is the sensation of seeing a faint double image of the one object
  • headaches, around the brow area after prolonged near work such as reading or computer use
A popular analogy used to explain astigmatism is an AFL football or rugby ball. A spherical soccer ball would represent an eye without astigmatism. Whilst a football has a flatter degree of curvature down end to end when compared to the steeper curvature of the ball going from one side to the other. If light were to refract to a degree based on the amount of curvature of the cornea, you would see how light entering along one meridian would focus at a different plane. Compared to light entering along the perpendicular meridian. A small percentage of astigmatism cases also arise from uneven curvature of the lens inside the eye. Known as lenticular astigmatism. Correcting astigmatism is a little more complicated than correcting simple hyperopia or myopia. Excluding many people from LASIK eye surgery.

How Does LASIK Work?

At a basic level, LASIK works on the concept of reshaping the cornea. In a way that the light passing through this tissue redirects to focus to a clear point on the retina. Done by creating a flap of superficial corneal tissue with a femtosecond laser while the eye is under topical anaesthetic. When pushing this flap aside it allows access for a second laser. Called an excimer laser, to remove select sections of the underlying corneal layers. The flap is then replaced and allowed to self-seal. The improvement in vision once the procedure is complete is almost immediate. Many patients can see well enough to even drive within the following day or two.

Does LASIK Work for Astigmatism?

As we’ve established, LASIK eye surgery has come a long way from when it was first invented in the 1990s. Through the use of computer algorithms, we are now able to make the complex wavefront calculations. Guiding the excimer laser to reshape the cornea and correct astigmatism.
Not only can we provide LASIK for regular astigmatism but in the case of the two curvatures of the cornea being perpendicular to each other, mild amounts of the more complicated irregular astigmatism can now improve with LASIK eye surgery too.

Am I suitable for LASIK for Astigmatism?

With the appropriate equipment and expertise, LASIK eye surgery can help degrees of astigmatism up to about -4 dioptres. Other eligibility criteria apply for all patients interested in LASIK surgery, including:
  • a stable refraction. This is to ensure that the surgery performed from the calculations at the time of the procedure will be accurate long-term
  • absence of other sight-threatening diseases such as macular degeneration or cataract
  • a healthy cornea with the ability to undergo reshaping by the excimer laser
Higher degrees of astigmatism, though correctable with LASIK, may experience some regression of the prescription with time as the astigmatism returns. Many laser eye specialists will be happy to re-treat this with a quick touch-up laser procedure.
Have you avoided pursuing surgical options to reduce your dependency on glasses and contact lenses because you have astigmatism? LASIK surgery for astigmatism may be the answer. For patients who are unsuitable for the LASIK procedure for any reason, there are more options for surgical correction of astigmatism. Including SMILE® surgery and intraocular contact lens procedures.
Call Eye Laser Specialists today for a free preliminary assessment: 0390 700 910

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About the expert

Dr Anton van Heerden, MBCHB; FRANZCO
Ophthalmologist & Laser Eye Surgeon

Based in Melbourne, but with a reputation that transcends borders, Dr Van Heerden sets the highest bar for laser vision correction surgery in Australia. While his skills and experience are second to none, it is his fun, caring and down to earth nature that truly set’s him apart from the rest. You can sit back and enjoy the journey knowing every detail has been carefully considered.