Can LASIK Fix Astigmatism?

LASIK eye surgery can correct vision problems associated with astigmatism.

Astigmatism is common, affecting about one in three people in the United States. The vision problem is not a disease – it is merely a refractive error like nearsightedness and farsightedness. Similar to nearsightedness and farsightedness, astigmatism happens when the shape of your eyes prevents them from focusing well. Like other refractive errors, astigmatism can be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses, and LASIK surgery.

Astigmatism occurs when your eyeball is not completely round, or when the cornea or lens has mismatching curves that bend the light improperly. The improper bending of light, or refraction error, causes the light to strike the wrong part of the retina.

The most common type of astigmatism is known as regular astigmatism, in which there is a uniform curve at the entrance to the pupil. In irregular astigmatism, the curvature of the cornea is not uniform and changes as it crosses the entrance to the pupil.

Doctors measure astigmatism in diopters, which is the standard measurement scientists use when discussing the focusing power of a lens. Lower diopters mean better vision, while higher diopters mean worse vision. For example, a measurement of 2 diopters means you have fairly mild astigmatism, whereas diopters of 6 or higher indicate severe astigmatism.

LASIK Surgery Reshapes Your Cornea to Correct Astigmatism

LASIK surgery can correct astigmatism and other refractive errors in most cases. The procedure involves using an ultra-precise laser to reshape the cornea to make the front of the eye more symmetrical. Reshaping the front of the eye allows the cornea to bend the light correctly so that it strikes the optimal spot on the retina for clear vision.

You may be a good candidate for LASIK if you have 6 or fewer diopters, your astigmatism is regular, and the health of your cornea allows.

For more information on LASIK surgery and to determine if you are a good candidate for LASIK to fix astigmatism, consult with your eye care team at Illinois Eye Center. You can also download information from our website, or register for our free, on-demand LASIK Webinar.

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