For those of you impatient types
who like to skip to the end of an article before reading the beginning, we've taken the liberty of answering your most pressing question up front [SPOILERS AHEAD]:Yes,for those of you with mild to moderate astigmatism, LASIK can probably help.
With that out of way, here's a bit more information
What is astigmatism and why is it so hard to spell?
To answer the first part, picture a basketball. Are you picturing it? Good. That’s the shape of a normal cornea.
If you’ve got astigmatism, your cornea is shaped more like a football. It’s a fetching look, to be sure, but it means that light bends unevenly as it enters the eye, causing blurriness. Basically, the more like a football your eye looks, the worse your vision is likely to be.
There are two types of astigmatism – regular and irregular. Regular astigmatism is by far the most common and is probably hereditary. Irregular astigmatism is much less common and can be caused by eye disease or injury.
Almost everybody has astigmatism to one degree or another, though most don’t require treatment. As for why it’s so hard to spell? We don’t know, but we’re guessing that astigmatism got its name during the great vowel shortage of 1878.
How can LASIK help?
You’re probably thinking, “Great, I’ve got a football instead of an eyeball, no amount of laser eye surgery can fix that.”
And you’re right! If you’ve got an actual football instead of an eyeball, you’ve got bigger problems than blurry vision. If, however, you’ve got an eyeball that’s merely shaped like a football, chances are good that LASIK can help.
LASIK works by using a highly focused laser to reshape the cornea. This allows the light entering the eye to do so without being distorted, improving your vision. Anesthetic eye drops are provided before the procedure to help manage pain, and for most patients the whole thing takes less than 10 minutes per eye. In a study, more than 93% of people with mild or moderate nearsightedness and astigmatism who underwent LASIK saw 20/20 or better six months after the procedure.
Am I a candidate?
There’s a common, dated misconception that astigmatism rules out LASIK as an option, but in reality, people with mild to moderate astigmatism can be candidates for the procedure. Of course, you have to be a candidate for LASIK in general in order to be a candidate for LASIK treatment of your astigmatism.
LASIK’s not for everyone
Although many patients with astigmatism in a clinical trial saw 20/20 or better six months after the procedure, your results with LASIK may vary. Some complications cited by the FDA include dry eyes; halos, glare and other visual disturbances; over-corrections and under-corrections.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
Indication: LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) is a laser surgery procedure that permanently changes the shape of the cornea to reduce or eliminate nearsightedness, farsightedness, or mixed visual irregularities due to an abnormal curve in the cornea (astigmatism). Only an eye care professional trained in laser vision correction can determine if you are a candidate for this procedure. The iFS® laser is a surgical laser that can be used to create flaps for use in LASIK surgery.
Contraindications: You should not have LASIK if you have collagen vascular (such as rheumatoid arthritis), autoimmune, or an immunodeficiency disease because they affect the body's ability to heal. You should not have this procedure if you are pregnant or nursing, show signs of corneal thinning, or take medications with eye-related side effects, such as Isotretinoin (Accutane®) for acne treatment or Amiodarone hydrochloride (Cordarone®) for normalizing heart rhythm.
Warnings: LASIK is not recommended if you have diabetes, a history of herpes simplex or herpes zoster keratitis, significant dry eye, or severe allergies.
Precautions: Your doctor will examine your eyes to determine if you are a candidate for this procedure. Talk to your doctor about any eye-related conditions, injuries, or surgeries you have had, as well as any changes to your vision in the past year. These may result in poor vision after LASIK. Tell your doctor about any medications you are taking. After surgery, you may find it more difficult to see in conditions such as dim light, rain, snow, fog, or glare from bright lights at night. LASIK is for patients 21 years of age and over.
Side effects: Possible side effects include dryness, which may be severe; loss of vision or the possible need for glasses or contact lenses after surgery; and visual disturbances such as halos (hazy rings around lights), glare, starbursts, double images, and other visual irregularities that may be debilitating. Possible complications resulting from LASIK flap creation include swelling, inflammation or pain in your eye, infection, or flap-related complications. Mild to severe light sensitivity occurred in 1% of patients between 2 and 6 weeks after surgery. Some patients (0.03%) noticed a temporary spoke-like band of light in their peripheral vision.
Please consult with your eye care professional regarding the potential risks and benefits of this procedure. Results may vary for each individual patient.
The iLASIK® platform utilizes the STAR S4 IR® Excimer Laser System, WaveScan WaveFront® System, as well as the iFS® Advanced Femtosecond Laser during the LASIK procedure.
Caution: U.S. Federal Law restricts these devices to use by practitioners who have been trained in their calibration and operation, and who have experience in the surgical treatment and management of refractive errors.
For U.S. Consumers Only