Can LASIK Treat Astigmatism?

Posted by: Missouri Eye Institute in Blog on December 12, 2022


One of the most persistent misconceptions about laser eye surgery is that people with astigmatism are not good candidates for LASIK. It’s hard telling how many prospective patients have believed this rumor – let’s dispel it for good!

LASIK has come a long way in the last couple of decades, and mild to moderate astigmatism is now very treatable with modern excimer lasers. Which procedure is most appropriate depends on your vision goals, lifestyle, degree of refractive error and eye anatomy.

Read on to learn more about astigmatism and LASIK.

What is astigmatism?

Astigmatism is an imperfection in the cornea’s curvature. Think of an ideal cornea as being a perfect sphere – like a baseball. With astigmatism, that curvature might more closely resemble a football. This oblong curvature causes light entering the cornea to focus in the wrong area of the eye, leading to vision issues.

What are the symptoms of astigmatism?

Just as with any refractive error, astigmatism can cause an individual some uncomfortable symptoms, including but not limited to: 

You will need an eye examination to figure out whether your symptoms are the result of astigmatism, some other refractive error or another eye condition.

What are the prescription limits for LASIK?

If you have astigmatism and are considering LASIK vision correction, you must fall within certain prescription limits to qualify. You must be up to -3.0 diopter astigmatism, or up to -9.0 diopter nearsightedness with astigmatism.

Your surgeon will also need to ensure that your corneas are healthy and thick enough for LASIK vision correction.

Can every case of astigmatism be fixed with LASIK?

Not everyone is an ideal candidate for LASIK, although most people with mild to moderate astigmatism will benefit from permanent vision correction. The best candidates for LASIK for astigmatism are individuals who have regular astigmatism with a curvature in just one direction.

A small number of people with astigmatism have what’s called “irregular astigmatism,” in which the cornea may curve in more than one direction. Irregular astigmatism is often caused by eye trauma, keratoconus or an earlier radial keratotomy (RK) procedure.

The surest way to find out if your astigmatism can be corrected with LASIK or a LASIK alternative is to consult with a LASIK expert. At Missouri Eye Institute, we start every LASIK journey with a thorough eye exam to map the eye in great detail, so your surgeon can determine the ideal treatment for you.

Missouri Eye Institute has helped thousands of patients attain freedom from glasses and contact lenses. Contact us at (800) 383-3831 to schedule a LASIK consultation or visit to learn more about our services.


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