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Can LASIK Treat Astigmatism?

The idea that astigmatism cannot be corrected with specialized LASIK laser eye surgery is one of the most pervasive myths concerning laser vision correction. The most popular method for treating astigmatism and nearsightedness (myopia) is laser-assisted in situ keratomileuses (LASIK). This incorrect information and assumption about astigmatism may have deterred thousands of people from gaining clear vision. We frequently hear this from patients who visit Tersigni Vision in Portland. It’s unfortunate since this isn’t the case at all, and many people could have benefited from the gift of better eyesight if they had realized that astigmatism can be corrected with LASIK eye surgery.

Astigmatism is a deviation in the cornea’s curvature. The human eye is not perfectly round and is more of an oblong shape than a perfect sphere. The shape of an ideal cornea is commonly compared to that of a baseball, whereas the shape of a cornea with astigmatism is frequently compared to that of a football.

When there is a particularly pronounced oblong curve on the front of the eye, one is said to have steep or strong astigmatism. Astigmatism is one of a number of types of refractive errors, which cause the light entering the eye not to be focused correctly on the retina in the back of the eye. Astigmatism frequently manifests in patients with signs and symptoms such as blurred vision, eye strain, headaches, squinting, and problems with night vision. In the past, the only ways to improve visual acuity were to wear glasses or special contacts called toric lenses that corrected this refractive error.

In the earliest days of LASIK and laser vision correction, the technology was not as effective at consistently treating high levels of astigmatism. Because of this, it wasn’t possible to do the surgical procedure to correct vision on these patients with large amounts of astigmatism.

Thankfully, modern, custom LASIK surgery technology has come a long way, and the situation has significantly changed. Since astigmatism affects a large percentage of the population, scientists have worked hard to produce therapies with impressive success rates for those who suffer nearsightedness, far-sightedness, and astigmatism. Modern excimer lasers give LASIK surgeons more options for treating patients with mild to moderate astigmatism, but also brand-new procedures like SMILE, implantable contact lenses (EVO ICL), refractive lens exchange (RLE), and advanced surface ablation (ASA/advanced PRK) were developed especially with astigmatism in mind. Which procedure corrects astigmatism the best will be determined by your eye doctor based on your individual eye needs.

Tersigni Vision is proud to offer the most advanced vision correction procedures that deliver life-changing positive results for our patients in the Portland, Oregon, area. Dr. Tersigni is an expert in treating astigmatism and is really happy to know that he can help people who had little possibility of ever being able to see clearly without glasses or contact lenses.

Get more vision correction choices and customized care. Schedule your experience now.

Learn More About How LASIK Can Treat Astigmatism

Can astigmatism reoccur or develop after LASIK?

Despite the fact that more than 90% of LASIK patients attain 20/20 vision without any problems, astigmatism could arise after the procedure. Remaining astigmatism after LASIK surgery is referred to as residual astigmatism. Often this can be treated with what is called an enhancement, or re-treatment.

The likelihood of developing astigmatism following LASIK surgery is significantly decreased by working with a skilled and competent LASIK specialist like those at Tersigni Vision.

Is there a permanent cure for astigmatism?

Surgery for vision correction is the only way to permanently correct astigmatism. However, your astigmatism type and degree, corneal thickness, age, and other eye diseases will determine whether surgery is the best option for you and what kind of surgery you need.

Several laser refractive surgery techniques can correct astigmatism by changing the shape of the cornea. They include:

LASIK –  A laser creates a small flap on the surface of the cornea that acts like a self-sealing bandage. The excimer laser is then used to reshape the tissue beneath this thin flap by folding it back. Reshaping the cornea improves eyesight.

PRK –  the epithelium is entirely removed to access the corneal tissue rather than being folded or pulled away, and it regenerates very quickly.

SMILE – with this refractive eye surgery, the epithelium is left intact while a perfectly formed piece of corneal tissue is removed in order to reshape the cornea.

What makes astigmatism worse?

Astigmatism can sometimes get worse with age. Your cornea may become more irregular as a result of pressure from your eyelids, which lose their muscle tone as you age.

Occasionally, for no apparent reason, someone’s astigmatism will get worse. Sometimes this can be due to other eye problems like dry eye syndrome. There are also some medical conditions that can cause astigmatism to get worse over time.

For instance, keratoconus, a rare astigmatism problem caused by a thin, weak cornea, can exacerbate severe astigmatism. Blurry vision might result from your cornea’s uneven shape interfering with your eye’s ability to focus light on the retina.

Fortunately, there is little chance of astigmatism worsening for people having LASIK surgery with our highly trained team at Tersigni Vision. Call our office to arrange your comprehensive eye examination now if you’re interested in learning more about Tersigni Vision’s LASIK astigmatism treatment options.

Are there Types of Astigmatism that LASIK Can’t Fix?

Most individuals who are good candidates for LASIK will be able to proceed with laser eye surgery to correct their astigmatism. While LASIK surgery can successfully treat most astigmatism types, there are a few that it cannot. For example, irregular astigmatism may not be responsive to a LASIK procedure.

During your LASIK appointment, our highly qualified surgeon, Dr. Tersigni, will evaluate your eyes to see if you are a good candidate for astigmatism-related laser vision correction.

Will Insurance Cover the Cost of LASIK for Astigmatism?

Insurance plans consider the cost of LASIK surgery for astigmatism to be an “elective treatment,” regardless of how necessary the surgery is. Even though it is an elective procedure, we strive to make LASIK as affordable as possible so that everyone can experience visual freedom. At Tersigni Vision, we accept cash, checks, credit cards, and other standard forms of payment. We also accept health savings accounts (HSAs), flexible spending accounts (FSAs), and medical savings accounts (MSAs). The majority of laser vision correction operations are eligible for tax deductions. In order to offer monthly payment options that fit the majority of budgets, we also collaborate with a number of financing companies.

What is the astigmatism limit for LASIK?

To qualify for LASIK, your eyes must meet a number of conditions. The typical refractive prescription that is acceptable for laser eye surgery is:

  • Nearsightedness of up to -8.0 diopters
  • Astigmatism up to a -6.0 diopter value
  • Astigmatism and nearsightedness of up to -9.0 diopters

A LASIK evaluation is necessary to assess your eye health and establish your eligibility for surgery because this can differ from person to person. We typically have the ability to treat patients with severe amounts of astigmatism thanks to the cutting-edge technologies we use at Tersigni Vision. Even for those who are not good candidates for LASIK, there is usually an option that can be a good fit for you. To find out if you are a good candidate for LASIK, make an appointment for your comprehensive eye exam with our office.

Can astigmatism be corrected if you aren’t a candidate for laser surgery?

You still have options to enhance vision and treat astigmatism if you have thin corneas, other eye conditions, or are not a candidate for laser surgery. These include:

  • Cataract surgery combined with lens replacement provides astigmatism correction by replacing the natural lens with a toric lens during the procedure.
  • Refractive lens exchange is a procedure that is similar to cataract surgery in that the natural lens is removed and replaced with an intraocular lens (IOL), but its purpose is to improve vision rather than remove cataracts.
  • Like contact lenses, implantable collamer lenses (ICLs) are implanted behind the iris to replace the eye’s natural lens. This keeps the natural lens in place.

These lens implant solutions have been approved and available in the United States for decades. Intraocular lenses and implantable collamer lenses are fantastic options for patients and can often help our patients see better than they could with their glasses or contacts.

How Long Will it Take to Recover after Getting LASIK for my Astigmatism?

The majority of our patients see improvements in their visual perception right away and see clearly as soon as the next day. However, it usually takes your eyes a few months to fully recover and heal after you undergo LASIK surgery for astigmatism.

Following your surgeon’s post-LASIK instructions precisely is essential for a safe and thorough healing process and can prevent or reduce the risk of any unplanned issues or surgical complications.

Even though a LASIK treatment cannot treat all forms of astigmatism, you always have options, and the staff at Tersigni Vision is ready to help. Call us as soon as possible to make an appointment with a highly skilled LASIK specialist and find out if LASIK is the best choice for you. The first step in evaluating whether you are an ideal candidate for LASIK in Portland is scheduling a Tersigni Vision Advanced Ocular Analysis, which is much more than a basic LASIK consultation.

At Tersigni Vision, we look forward to assisting you on your journey to visual freedom, and we welcome the chance to answer any questions you may have. Begin your journey now and be one step closer to a life free from corrective lenses.10ml

Posted on October 31, 2022


Dr. Steven Tersigni is a refractive surgeon offering LASIK and five LASIK alternatives in the Portland, Oregon area. In addition to providing customized care to each of his patients, Dr. Tersigni is an educator and researcher. He has been published in national journals and has been involved in 10 U.S. FDA trials.