Can LASIK treat my Astigmatism?
The answer is yes!
Astigmatism is a refractive condition in which images are not properly focused sharply on the retina. In myopia (nearsightedness) images are focused on a point before reaching the retina. In hyperopia (farsightedness) images are focused on a point behind the retina. In astigmatism, the images do not focus on one single point due either to the irregular shape of the cornea or the lens. These multiple points of focus can be in front of or behind the retina. In astigmatism vision will be blurred at all distances (far and near).
In addition to blurry vision, patients with uncorrected astigmatism may complain of eyestrain and headaches, associated with reading or other prolonged visual tasks. Since astigmatism can be diagnosed early in life, it is important to schedule an eye exam for your children in order to diagnose potential visual problems in school. It is estimated that approximately one third of school age children have some degree of astigmatism.
Many who suffer from astigmatism do not know that it can be corrected with LASIK surgery.
Most astigmatism is genetically determined, so it is commonly found in children with parents that have astigmatism. Sometimes astigmatism may develop following an eye injury or eye surgery. There is also a relatively rare condition called keratoconus where the cornea becomes progressively thinner and cone shaped. This results in a large amount of astigmatism resulting in distorted poor vision that cannot be clearly corrected with eyeglasses.
LASIK for Astigmatism – Options for Correction
Astigmatism, just like nearsightedness and farsightedness, is correctable with eyeglasses. Some patients prefer contact lenses (Soft Toric Contact Lenses or Gas Permeable Contact Lenses).
Patients who do not want to depend on glasses or contact lenses can opt to have refractive surgery.
The most frequently performed refractive surgery procedures are done with a computer-driven Excimer Laser. LASIK surgery is usually the appropriate procedure of choice for people with a moderate degree of Myopia (nearsightedness), Hyperopia (Farsightedness), and/or Astigmatism. FDA approved parameters are used to determine who is a good candidate.
What are the risks?
As with any surgery, LASIK surgery has some risks, including: under-correction or over-correction, unwanted visual aberrations (such as glare and halos around bright lights or even double vision), and dry eyes post-operatively. Most complications in LASIK have been related to the corneal flap created in the traditional LASIK procedure. Today surgeons can perform the LASIK procedure without making a flap making the surgery considerably safer.
A Significant Reduction in Risk – No Flap LASIK
It is now safe and effective to apply the laser directly to the corneal surface without having to make the corneal flap. This Advanced Surface Laser Vision Correction (The No-Flap LASIK technique), is now the preferred method at Rand Eye Institute. Avoiding a flap eliminates the risks of flap complications. The patient will require only a few days for the corneal surface to heal. Initially, during the first few days of the healing process, vision will not be as clear and the patient may feel a “foreign body sensation.” But it is worth a few days for this safer procedure with an excellent prognosis. Although we have a generation of happy patients done with a LASIK flap, we believe that the no-flap procedure is a safer and better procedure.
When a flap is created, it creates a permanent weakness in the structure of the cornea subjecting the eye to increased risk in case of future eye trauma. This risk is eliminated with the no-flap technique because the integrity of the cornea is not affected by this superficial procedure.
As with all other types of surgery, a good surgical outcome depends on careful evaluation of your eyes before the surgery, a doctor and staff that are highly experienced, and a surgical center with the latest technology and safety standards.
The Rand Eye Institute is one of the few LASIK Centers performing LASIK under true sterile conditions in a state-of-the-art, fully licensed, Joint Commission accredited surgical facility, providing the highest level of surgical care. The Rand Eye Institute adheres to the highest nationally accepted standards for safety, sterility, technology, and quality outcomes.