Most people know what LASIK eye surgery is - an eye surgery that uses lasers to give people clear vision. What most people don’t know is whether or not they qualify to get LASIK done themselves.
This is especially true when you have astigmatism. Because astigmatism is different from the more common myopia (near-sightedness) and hyperopia (far-sightedness), it’s hard to know if your eye condition can be fixed so you can enjoy easy, clear vision for once in your life.
It’s time to clear this question up for good - can I get LASIK surgery with astigmatism?
What is Astigmatism and How is It Different from Other Vision Problems?
Let’s start off by clarifying what astigmatism actually is because not everyone knows. Astigmatism is simply this - imperfections on the cornea or lens of the eye that causes a person to have blurry vision. That probably sounds like other vision problems as well, but astigmatism is a bit different from other vision problems.
Many people have myopic or hyperopic vision. Myopic vision is also called near-sighted vision, which means that the person can see things up close clearly, but things far away are blurry. Hyperopic vision is the exact opposite of myopic vision, so the person can see far away clearly but objects in the distance are blurry.
Astigmatism is different from myopia and hyperopia because it’s basically a combination of both. A person with astigmatism will have blurry vision when they look at things up close and at objects in the distance.
These vision problems all come from refractive problems in the eye. When an eye is functioning at its best, the light enters the eye through the cornea and the lens. The lens bends the light so it hits the back of the eye and registers a clear image to the retina.
But when vision is blurry, it usually means that there’s an issue with the eye the prevents the light from entering the eye at the correct angle needed for clear vision. In myopia, the eye is a bit too long for the light to hit the retina properly, but in hyperopia, the eye is too short, so the light can’t come into focus before it hits the retina.
However, astigmatism isn’t a result of the eye being too long or short. Instead, the cornea or the lens has imperfections that prevent light from entering the eye correctly in the first place. So for astigmatism to be corrected, these imperfections need to be smoothed out or removed.
LASIK Eye Surgery with Astigmatism
When a person receives LASIK in Utah, an incision is made in the outer cornea tissue with a laser to make a flap. The flap is lifted, and another laser is used to modify the shape of the cornea so light can enter the patient’s eyes properly. The flap is then closed (no stitches required), and as the eye heals, the patient’s vision improves.
With myopia and hyperopia, the lasers modify the shape of the cornea to counteract the shape of the eye. This helps the light to focus on the retina correctly. But for astigmatism,it’s a bit different. Astigmatism can be corrected by LASIK, but the corrections are a bit different from those of other vision problems. Despite this, the surgery process remains pretty much the same.
For LASIK with astigmatism, the imperfections on the cornea are removed or smoothed over with the laser. This is often done by creating an elliptical pattern on the cornea with the laser. Once this has been done, the post-surgery healing should be just like any other LASIK surgery.
It is possible that, if the imperfections are on the lens of your eye and not your cornea, the modifications to your eye may be a bit different than described here. It’s also possible your eye doctor will recommend another option to correct your astigmatism aside from LASIK. However, in most cases, normal LASIK surgery should work to correct astigmatism.
Other LASIK Eligibility Requirements
For most patients, having astigmatism qualifies you to receive LASIK. However, there are other qualifying factors that come into play, so the best way to know if you qualify is to go to a highly-qualified ophthalmologist for a vision assessment.
Here are a few things your doctor will check on or ask you about when you have your pre-op vision assessment to see if you qualify:
Presbyopia - Presbyopia is the loss of elasticity in the eye tissue. It’s extremely common in people as they age, so if you are over 40 years old, your doctor will likely check to see if it is an issue for you. Presbyopia cannot be corrected by LASIK because it isn’t an issue related to the shape of the eye or cornea. There may still be ways to help your vision if you have presbyopia, so ask your doctor for their recommendation.
Systemic and Eye Diseases - This includes things like cataracts, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and more. These diseases pose a higher risk for surgeries, including LASIK, so if you have such a disease, you may not be able to get LASIK in Utah.
Medications - Some medications pose no risk during a LASIK surgery, but there are some that could pose a risk. Make sure to tell your doctor about any prescribed medications you are taking.
If you think that you have one of these at-risk concerns, you can still come in for a pre-op vision assessment. Your ophthalmologist will be able to determine if you do qualify or not, and you may find that you do still qualify for LASIK to correct your astigmatism. Find out more about eligibility for LASIK in Utah here.
Choose the Best LASIK in Utah
The most important thing you can do to make sure you’re getting the best ophthalmologist to take care of you. Dr. Davis is one of the best options for LASIK in Utah (and in the United States). He’s highly experienced as one of the first LASIK surgeons and has successfully performed more than 40,000 laser eye surgeries.
It’s comforting to know that you are going to the best for your eye care. And it’s also comforting to know what is coming when you decide to get LASIK in Utah. To find out more about how LASIK works and how it can help you, check out our LASIK Utah page. You can also contact Davis Vision Center at (801) 253-3080 with questions or to schedule an appointment.