- What is Astigmatism?
- Preoperative Evaluation
- LASIK Procedure
- Postoperative Care
- Benefits of LASIK for Astigmatism
- Improved Vision
- Reduced Dependence on Glasses and Contacts
- Quick and Painless Procedure
- Risks and Side Effects
- Dry Eyes
- Halos and Glare
- Frequently Asked Questions
LASIK, or laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, is a popular and highly effective surgical procedure commonly used to correct various eye refractive errors for vision correction, including nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Astigmatism, in particular, is a common vision condition affecting millions worldwide. It occurs when the cornea or lens of the eye has an irregular shape, resulting in blurred or distorted vision at all distances.
If you have astigmatism, you may experience difficulties reading, driving, or performing other routine activities that require clear and crisp vision.
Fortunately for most patients, LASIK for astigmatism is a safe and effective solution that can significantly improve your visual acuity and overall quality of life.
In this blog, I will explore the LASIK procedure specifically as it relates to treating astigmatism. We will begin with discussing the preoperative evaluation, which is essential in determining whether you are a good candidate for LASIK for astigmatism.
This evaluation may include a review of your medical history, a comprehensive eye exam, and specialized diagnostic tests to assess the shape and thickness of your cornea.
Next, I will delve into the LASIK procedure itself, detailing each step and explaining how the laser reshapes the cornea to correct astigmatism. I will also discuss the different types of LASIK procedures that are available for various types of astigmatism and correction, including wavefront-guided LASIK and topography-guided LASIK.
After the LASIK procedure, postoperative care is crucial to ensure proper healing and minimize any potential complications. We will provide you with specific instructions for postoperative care, including using medicated eye drops, avoiding certain activities, and attending follow-up appointments with your eye doctor.
Finally, I will discuss LASIK’s potential benefits, risks, and possible side effects for astigmatism. Understanding these and other factors is essential in deciding whether LASIK for astigmatism is the right choice for you.
Overall, we hope this comprehensive guide to LASIK for astigmatism will help you understand this life-changing procedure and how it can improve your vision, overall health and quality of life.
What is Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is a refractive eye error from an irregularly shaped cornea or lens. In a normal eye, the cornea and lens are smooth and round, and light entering the eye is focused on the retina, creating a clear and sharp image.
However, in an eye with astigmatism, the cornea or lens has an irregular shape, like a football or an egg, causing light to be refracted or bent unevenly as it enters the eye.
As a result, the light does not focus properly on the retina, resulting in blurred or distorted vision. Astigmatism can affect both distance and near vision and can cause eye strain, headaches, and difficulty seeing at night.
Astigmatism can occur alone or with other refractive errors, such as nearsightedness (myopia) or farsightedness (hyperopia).
It can also vary in severity, with some people experiencing mild astigmatism that does not even wear glasses or significantly impact their vision. In contrast, others may have more severe astigmatism symptoms that can only be partially corrected by glasses and contact lenses and maybe only corrected completely by refractive surgery such as LASIK.
LASIK for Astigmatism
LASIK is a surgical procedure used to reshape the cornea of the eye, which corrects vision problems such as astigmatism. LASIK for astigmatism involves the use of a special laser that can precisely reshape the cornea to improve vision.
Here’s what you can expect during the LASIK procedure:
The Conlon Eye Institute will perform a comprehensive eye exam before LASIK to determine candidacy for the procedure.
- The exam includes a review of medical history, a visual acuity test, and a corneal topography exam to measure cornea shape and thickness.
- A wavefront analysis may also be performed to create a detailed map of the eye’s unique characteristics.
- These evaluations help to ensure that LASIK is safe and appropriate for your eyes and can help your surgeon determine the most effective treatment plan for your specific needs.
During the LASIK procedure, your eye doctor will use a special laser to create a flap in the cornea’s outer layer.
They will then use another laser to reshape the underlying cornea to improve your vision.
The flap is then repositioned, and the cornea will heal naturally without the need for stitches. The procedure typically takes less than 30 minutes and is generally painless.
After the LASIK procedure, you’ll need to follow specific instructions from your eye doctor to ensure proper healing and to avoid any complications.
This may include the use of medicated eye drops, avoiding strenuous activities, and wearing protective eyewear.
Your eye doctor will also schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your progress and ensure that your vision is improving.
Benefits of LASIK for Astigmatism
LASIK for astigmatism offers several benefits, including:
One of the most significant benefits of LASIK for astigmatism is improved vision. LASIK can correct the cornea’s irregular curvature, which improves how light enters the eye, focuses on the retina, and reduces blurry vision.
This eye surgery can result in clearer and sharper vision, even without the use of glasses or contacts.
Reduced Dependence on Glasses and Contacts
- LASIK eye surgery for corneal astigmatism (refractive error) improves vision by correcting the irregular curvature of the cornea.
- The procedure allows light to correctly enter the eye and focus on the retina.
- This results in clearer and sharper vision, even without glasses or contacts.
- LASIK surgery can significantly improve the quality of life for individuals with astigmatism by reducing their dependence on corrective eyewear.
Quick and Painless Procedure
- LASIK for corneal astigmatism is a quick and painless procedure that takes less than 10 minutes.
- The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, meaning that you can go home the same day.
- The recovery time is relatively quick; most people can return to normal activities within a few days.
- The minimal downtime associated with laser eye surgery for astigmatism makes it a convenient option for individuals with busy lifestyles.
Risks and Side Effects
While LASIK eye surgery for corneal astigmatism is generally considered safe, there are some risks, surgical complications and side effects that you should be aware of, including:
- Dry eyes are a common transient side effect of laser vision correction eye surgery experienced by many people after the procedure.
- This can cause discomfort and temporary vision problems such as blurred vision.
- Your eye doctor may prescribe medicated eye drops to help alleviate dry eye symptoms.
- Following your eye doctor’s instructions for these drops is important to ensure proper healing and reduce the risk of complications.
- In some cases, LASIK may result in overcorrection or undercorrection of vision.
- Overcorrection means too much tissue was removed from the cornea, resulting in too strong vision.
- Undercorrection means that not enough tissue was removed, resulting in residual astigmatism and vision that is still blurry.
- These issues can cause blurred or distorted vision, which may require additional treatment such as a second LASIK surgery procedure, corrective lenses, or other options.
- Following your eye doctor’s instructions for postoperative care and attending follow-up appointments is essential to monitor your progress and promptly address any issues.
Halos and Glare
- Some people experience halos or glare around lights at night after LASIK.
- This can be particularly noticeable when driving at night and may cause discomfort or difficulty seeing clearly.
- Halos or glare are typically caused by a difference between the size of the pupil and the area of the cornea that was treated during LASIK.
- In some cases, these issues can be addressed with additional treatment such as corrective lenses, specialized eye drops, or a second LASIK procedure.
- It is important to discuss any concerns about halos or glare with your eye doctor, who can recommend the most appropriate course of action.
In conclusion, LASIK surgery for astigmatism is an excellent option for people who want to improve their vision, reduce their dependence on corrective eyewear, and eliminate blurry vision.
This safe and effective procedure uses advanced technology to reshape the cornea and correct the irregular curvature that causes astigmatism.
However, as with any surgical procedure, it is essential to understand the risks and benefits of LASIK for astigmatism before making a decision.
You should discuss your options with Dr. Conlon or a member of his team, who can comprehensively evaluate your eyes to determine whether LASIK surgery suits your needs.
If you are a good candidate for LASIK for astigmatism, you can look forward to improved vision and a better quality of life. LASIK for astigmatism is a life-changing treatment option with a quick and painless procedure, minimal downtime, and the potential to eliminate the need for glasses or contacts.
So, if you are interested in LASIK surgery for astigmatism, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with your Lasik surgeon to learn more about the procedure and how it can benefit you.
Your eye doctor can answer any questions you may have about blurry vision and provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision about your eye health
Frequently Asked Questions
A: LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) is a type of refractive surgery used to correct vision problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
A: Astigmatism is a common vision problem that causes blurred or distorted vision. It occurs when the cornea (the eye’s clear front surface) is shaped irregularly, causing light to focus unevenly on the retina.
A: Yes. LASIK can correct astigmatism by reshaping the cornea to a more normal, spherical shape. This helps to improve the way light is focused on the retina, resulting in clearer vision.
A: LASIK is typically a painless procedure, although some patients may experience mild discomfort or a sensation of pressure during the surgery.
A: LASIK surgery typically takes about 15 minutes per eye, although the entire process, including preparation and recovery, can take several hours.
A: Yes, LASIK can be done on both eyes at the same time, although some surgeons prefer to do one eye at a time.
A: Most patients can resume normal activities within a few days of LASIK surgery, although vision may take several weeks to fully stabilize.
A: Like any surgical procedure, LASIK carries some risks, including infection, vision loss, and complications with the cornea. However, these risks are relatively rare.
A: Good candidates for LASIK surgery are generally over 18 years old, have stable vision, and have no underlying eye conditions that could complicate the surgery.
A: The cost of LASIK surgery can vary depending on a number of factors, including the surgeon’s experience and the technology used. LASIK surgery can cost between $2,000 and $3,000 per eye.
A: In most cases, LASIK surgery is considered an elective procedure and is not covered by insurance. However, some insurance plans may offer partial coverage for certain types of vision correction surgery.
A: The effects of LASIK surgery are generally permanent, although some patients may experience regression of their vision over time.
A: Yes, there are several alternative procedures for correcting astigmatism, including PRK (photorefractive keratectomy) and LASEK (laser epithelial keratomileusis).
A: Most patients can resume driving within a few days of LASIK surgery, although it’s important to follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions and wait until your vision has fully stabilized.
A: In some cases, LASIK surgery can be repeated if the patient’s vision changes or if the initial surgery was not fully successful. However, this decision should be made in consultation with your surgeon.
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Dr. M. Ronan Conlon started his career in the field of ophthalmology at the same time as the development of refractive eye surgery in Canada. In 1996, he brought laser technology to Canada from Germany, which allowed him to perform laser eye surgery before it was available in the United States. With the establishment of the Conlon Eye Institute, Dr. Conlon has performed more than 40,000 refractive procedures and has advanced his expertise in LASIK and refractive cataract surgery.