Can I Get LASIK if I Have Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a common vision problem. In fact, about a third of the population has this vision condition to some degree. 

While glasses or contacts have traditionally been used to solve this widespread issue, many people want more from their vision. That’s why millions of people have turned to LASIK.  

Keep reading to learn if you can get LASIK if you have astigmatism!

What is Astigmatism?

LASIK is an incredible surgery that can correct refractive errors, including astigmatism. In order to understand how LASIK works, you first need to know how refractive errors work. 

Nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism have different effects on your vision. However, these refractive errors are typically caused by the same thing.

Refractive errors are typically caused by improperly shaped corneas or if the eye is too short or too long. The cornea is the clear tissue at the front of your eye.

It creates a dome over your pupil and iris. It is not only there to keep things out of your eyes, though.

The curvature of the cornea also changes the way light enters your eye. The cornea is responsible for focusing over two-thirds of the light that enters your eye. 

The rest is taken care of by the lens inside the eye. The light is then focused directly onto the retina in an eye without refractive error. 

However, with a refractive error, the cornea does not focus the light correctly. Nearsighted corneas cause the light to come into focus before it reaches the retina. 

Farsighted eyes are the opposite, causing the light to focus behind the retina. Astigmatism causes light to focus into multiple points inside the eye due to a cornea that is unevenly shaped. 

Refractive errors can cause blurry vision that requires vision correction.          

How Does LASIK Work?

LASIK targets the source of astigmatism: the corneas. Using lasers guided by computer software, surgeons are able to carefully reshape the cornea so that light enters the eye correctly. 

The cornea is made up of five distinct layers, but there are two that are important when it comes to LASIK: the top layer and the middle layer. The middle layer of the cornea is the thickest, so that is where the reshaping takes place. 

To get to the middle layer, your LASIK surgeon will create a flap in the top layer with a laser. A second laser is then used to reshape the corneal tissue in the middle layer.

The top layer takes the shape of the corrected middle layer when it is placed back down. The entire procedure takes only about fifteen minutes per eye.   

Once the cornea is reshaped, your refractive error will be corrected, and you will have less dependence on visual aids like glasses and contact lenses. 

What If I Have Severe Astigmatism?

As with other surgeries, there are limits to what LASIK can do. Severe refractive errors may require too much correction. 

There is only so much corneal tissue your surgeon can take away before it becomes dangerous. This is why it is important to see your eye doctor for a consultation and why you must qualify as a candidate before scheduling the procedure.

Do you have astigmatism and want to know if you may be a candidate for LASIK? Schedule a LASIK consultation at Eye Care Specialists in Kingston, PA, today to find out if your astigmatism can be treated with LASIK!