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Astigmatism and laser eye surgery

24/08/2017

Can people with astigmatism have laser eye surgery?

It’s a common myth that people who suffer from astigmatism are not suitable for laser eye surgery. The truth is that laser vision correction procedures such as LASIK and ASLA have been able to correct astigmatism for many years now. Read about the different types of laser eye surgery.

What is astigmatism?

Astigmatism is caused by an irregular curvature of the front of the eye (the cornea). In a normal eye, light enters in a singular ray. The irregular curvature causes light to enter the eye at multiple points – the eye transmits these conflicting signals to the brain, and this causes a blurred image.

For many people, astigmatism is inherited, however it can also be caused by injury or ocular disease such as keratoconus.

Astigmatism can appear in conjunction with other refractive errors, including long-sightedness (hyperopia) and short-sightedness (myopia).

Symptoms of astigmatism

As well as blurred vision, symptoms of astigmatism include headaches, fatigue after reading and eyestrain. An eye examination performed by an optometrist will be able to diagnose astigmatism.

Treatment

Astigmatism is extremely common – in fact, most people suffer from some form of astigmatism. Often it is mild and does not need treatment. However, in more severe cases astigmatism may make it difficult to see fine details.

If astigmatism affects a person’s vision, there are two options – corrective lenses or laser eye surgery.

An optometrist will be able to prescribe glasses or contact lenses to correct astigmatism alone, or astigmatism in combination with long-sightedness or short-sightedness.

The second option for astigmatism is laser eye surgery. For many years now, laser vision correction procedures including LASIK and ASLA (also known as PRK) has been able to correct astigmatism.

LASIK or ASLA (PRK)

LASIK is the most common type of laser vision correction performed. However, if a person has irregular or thin corneas, ASLA (also known as PRK) will most likely be recommended.

Today, laser eye surgery is considered a safe and successful procedure – 99% of people who have had LASIK are able to legally drive without glasses the day after surgery.

If you have astigmatism, laser eye surgery is an option. Talk to your optometrist or book a consultation with an ophthalmologist for an assessment.

All medical procedures have benefits, risks and possible complications. If you have any queries regarding vision correction procedures please contact us.

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