Can LASIK eye surgery fix astigmatism? - SightMD Skip to main content

August 12, 2022

By: Jeffrey Martin, MD

Can LASIK eye surgery fix astigmatism?

A girl reading from a list of letters far away with a doctor standing next to the poster

What is Astigmatism ?

Astigmatism is a common type of refractive error and while it is usually present at birth, as a result of the shape of the eye, it can fluctuate throughout life. The source of astigmatism is most commonly the cornea, the clear tissue at the front of the eye known as corneal astigmatism. In corneal astigmatism, the curvature of the cornea is uneven, instead of being shaped like a perfect sphere. When the cornea or lens is not symmetric, the light that passes through the eye splits and creates two different focal points. Depending on if you also have myopia or hyperopia, the 2 focal points are hitting in front of (myopia) or behind (hyperopia) the retina which creates focusing problems in your retina. Objects in your sight line may be blurry because your eyes cannot focus light when you have astigmatism. The condition can get better or worse over time. Astigmatism is a very common vision problem and despite its big, somewhat scary-sounding name, astigmatism is simply a refractive error like nearsightedness and farsightedness and it can be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses and LASIK surgery.

Can LASIK Eye Surgery Fix Astigmatism?

You may have heard that LASIK and astigmatism don’t go together, but that’s not the case. In LASIK eye surgery, astigmatism is corrected by the laser to make the cornea more symmetrical. When you correct the astigmatism, vision improves. The ultra-precise lasers used for LASIK surgery can be programmed to reshape the cornea so the front surface of the eye is more symmetrical, thereby eliminating vision problems caused by astigmatism.

How Effective Is LASIK For Astigmatism?

LASIK is successful in treating most people’s astigmatism, as long as it’s the right type and it falls within the treatment limits. Most of the time astigmatism can be fully corrected with a single LASIK procedure. High amounts of astigmatism can be corrected with LASIK, though this increases the likelihood a follow-up LASIK enhancement may be needed to fine-tune the correction.

Are There Types Of Astigmatism That LASIK Can’t Fix?

There are two general types of astigmatism: regular and irregular. The type of astigmatism referred to so far in this article is the regular subtype, which is most common. LASIK treats the cornea, and therefore can only address corneal astigmatism. Irregular astigmatism results from trauma to the eye or certain corneal conditions such as keratoconus, pellucid marginal degeneration, epithelial basement membrane dystrophy, and others. Irregular astigmatism is more difficult to address with refractive surgery, and LASIK usually won’t be an option.

The treatment limits for LASIK are fairly generous, so even astigmatism that’s thought to be severe may fall within them. With bad astigmatism, we will have to determine if surgery will still be a safe and effective treatment option.

Convenient Locations

If you are considering LASIK to correct your astigmatism, it’s important to discuss your options with a surgeon or eye care professional. Contact SightMD today to schedule your consultation today and see if LASIK is the right choice for you. SightMD in New York has 40 locations for LASIK eye surgery in Long Island (Suffolk County and Nassau County), Queens, Westchester, and Manhattan, with 2 dedicated LASIK Eye Surgery suites in Smithtown and Rockville Centre. SightMD New Jersey has 9 locations throughout Monmouth County and Ocean County. SightMD Connecticut has 4 locations within Hartford County and Litchfield Country.We offer access to the latest innovations and state-of-the-art technologies with the widest range of laser and eye surgery vision correction services. Unsure if laser eye surgery is right for you? Take our LASIK Self Evaluation.