• Barraquer Eye Hospital (Barcelona, Spain) - Ophthalmology Center
  • Barraquer Eye Hospital (Barcelona, Spain) - Ophthalmology Center

Laser Eye Surgery for Astigmatism; No More Blurry Vision

Can I have laser eye surgery if I have astigmatism? You probably have heard about laser treatments for people who suffer from both near and farsightedness.

The short answer is Yes. Fortunately, laser eye surgery is an effective, quick, and painless procedure to correct astigmatism. So, if you’re tired of using glasses or contact lenses, laser eye surgery is for you. It offers a great and permanent solution to fix blurry vision.

What Is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a common vision refraction problem where the lens of the eye, known as the cornea, has an irregular curve. So your eye is more shaped like a rugby ball (egg-shaped) rather than a football.

This curvature changes the way light rays enter the eye and refract (bend and focus) in your retina, the light-sensitive layer at the back of your eye. With astigmatism, one meridian is significantly more curved than the meridian perpendicular to it. So there is an irregularity both depth-ways and sideways.

To understand the concept of meridians, think of the front of the eye (cornea) like the face of a clock. The line connecting the 12 and 6 is one meridian, and the line connecting the 3 and 9 is the other.

In patients with astigmatism, one meridian is significantly more curved than the other perpendicular to it. Hence, astigmatism provides two focal points instead of one.

This means you can only partially focus on an object, having blurred vision to some degree at all distances, both near and far.

Astigmatism Classification

There are three main types of astigmatism:

  • Myopic astigmatism. One or both meridians of the eye are short-sighted.
  • Hyperopic astigmatism: One or both meridians of the eye are near-sighted.
  • Mixed astigmatism. The principal meridian is short-sighted while the other one is long-sighted.

This eye condition can also be classified as regular or irregular.

In regular astigmatism, the meridians are perpendicular to each other (90 degrees apart). Conversely, in irregular astigmatism, the cornea’s curvature isn’t even, and the angle between meridians is not 90 degrees.

Astigmatism Symptoms

Since the cornea or lens is not evenly curved and perfectly smooth, you get blurred vision.

Other classic symptoms include difficulty reading and the inability to see near and far without squinting. Double vision, eye strain, constant headaches, and fatigue may be present too.

Astigmatism in one eye may cause lazy eye, also called amblyopia (where the vision does not develop properly). This must be spotted early in young children so it can be treated on time.

However, this eye condition doesn’t always present symptoms. Some people will have astigmatism without even knowing it. For that reason, it’s important to book regular appointments with your optometrist to quickly identify any problems and prevent them from worsening, especially in children.

Remember that this eye condition isn’t caused or made worse by reading in poor light, sitting too close to the television, or squinting.

Causes of Astigmatism

The cause of astigmatism is unknown. Also, there is no way to prevent it from developing. It may have a genetic predisposition. It’s often present at birth, but it may also develop later in life.

Astigmatism can result from an eye injury, scarring or thinning of your cornea, or previous surgery.

This eye disease is often accompanied by farsightedness (hyperopia) and near-sightedness (myopia), though this isn’t always the case.

Some cases stem from an eye condition called keratoconus. This is a thinning of the cornea, which causes it to bulge out in a coned shape, causing distorted vision.

Patients with keratoconus have moderate to severe degrees of irregular astigmatism.

Astigmatism Treatment Options

Mild cases don’t require treatment. Glasses or contacts can correct almost every case.

Indeed, glasses are the simplest and cheapest option to treat astigmatism. But contact lenses can provide a wider field of vision because they sit right on the surface of the eye.

Your eye doctor will probably prescribe a special type of soft contact lenses called toric lenses. They are designed to bend light more in one direction than the other.

Also, if your case is more severe, you might get gas-permeable rigid contact lenses to correct the irregular curvature of your cornea temporarily. This is a procedure called orthokeratology (Ortho-K).

You wear the corrective lenses while you are asleep, and they reshape your cornea. You must wear the lenses to hold the new shape, but you won’t have to wear them as often.

Your eye doctor may recommend refractive surgery if you have a severe case of astigmatism. Also, you may consider laser eye surgery if you don’t want to wear corrective glasses or contact lenses anymore.

After all, laser eye surgery offers definitive results by permanently changing the shape of your cornea.

Am I Eligible for Eye Laser Surgery for Astigmatism?

Almost every patient is eligible for laser surgery.

You must have a good health status and no immune condition, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or HIV. Also, you can’t have pre-existing eye conditions, such as cataracts, herpes in the eye, or glaucoma.

Patients must have a stable prescription, at least for the past two years. For that reason, many patients are not suitable until the age of 18.

Laser eye surgery tends to be more suitable for those under the age of 45, though. As you grow older (over 45), your eligibility for laser eye surgery may change due to the natural aging of your eyes.

Important factors to consider are the health of your cornea and the clarity of your natural lens. Hence, older patients may be better suited for lens replacement surgery instead of laser eye surgery.

Also, suppose you’re not suitable for laser eye surgery due to a high prescription or having thin corneas. In that case, you are likely to be eligible for Implantable Contact Lenses (ICL) or Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE).

Booking a free consultation includes performing thorough eye tests to assess your eye health and suitability for treatment, helping you decide on the best option for you.

How Does Laser Eye Surgery for Astigmatism Works?

Laser eye surgery for astigmatism is slightly more complex than treating myopia or hyperopia.

The laser eye surgeon must consider the conical shape of the cornea and fix every distortion in every direction. Hence, surgery requires correction in more than one plane in the eye due to the irregular curvature of the cornea.

That said, the procedure is relatively straightforward and has a very high success rate.

Ultimately, the exact laser eye surgery procedure will depend on the technique you end up choosing.  There are three main options for laser eye surgery, including LASIK and LASEP/PRK procedures.

Although, the most popular laser eye technique for astigmatism is LASIK surgery because it can treat the widest range of prescriptions.  It accounts for over 90% of laser eye treatments for astigmatism patients.

With LASIK surgery, your eye doctor uses a laser to make a thin, round-shaped hinged cut into the cornea. Then, the surgeon lifts the flap and uses an excimer laser to reshape the underlying corneal tissue.

Ultimately, the doctor puts the flap back in its original position, acting as a bandage while the tissue heals. The procedure is quick, painless, and highly effective.

It lasts between 10-15 minutes, and it is performed under topical anaesthesia (eye drops) to numb your eyes.

Aftercare Laser Eye Surgery for Astigmatism

With LASIK surgery, vision recovery time is around 24-48 hours. Some patients even go back to work the next day.

The aftercare is pretty simple and uneventful. You should wear a pair of protective goggles or an eye shield for the first 24 hrs and a few nights to avoid rubbing your eyes.

Recovery and Side Effects

Laser eye surgery is a safe procedure that’s carried out frequently with a high success rate.

More than 90% of the patients report satisfying results with 20/20 vision. You will start to see results almost immediately.

However, as with any other surgery, there are some potential risks to be aware of. Some patients develop dry eyes, hazy vision, decreased night vision, or problems with bright light haloes in their peripheral (edge) vision.

In case you have more than 3D of astigmatism, you may need a minor touch-up or follow-up surgery for best results. This is something that you must consider and discuss with your eye surgeon.

Laser Eye Surgery for Astigmatism Cost

Laser eye surgery cost depends on the technique performed.

Please, fill in the contact form. If you have any medical reports or examination results from other centers, we would appreciate it if you could send these tests to us by email.

You can be sure that this information will always be treated with maximum confidentiality, and we will offer you the solution that best suits your needs.

BEST LASER EYE SURGERY SPECIALISTS AT BARRAQUER HOSPITAL

Doctor Juan P. Alvarez de Toledo Elizalde

Doctor Juan P. Alvarez de Toledo Elizalde

Doctor Paola Sauvageot

Doctor Paola Sauvageot

Doctor Andrés Picó García

Doctor Andrés Picó García

Doctor José Lamarca Mateu

Doctor José Lamarca Mateu

Doctor Marinka Kargacin

Doctor Marinka Kargacin

Doctor Milan Pesic

Doctor Milan Pesic

External links – Bibliography

Lasek Vs Lasik: Which One Is Better? Pros & Cons, Procedure & Aftercare

Resolving refractive error after cataract surgery: IOL exchange, piggyback lens, or LASIK. Fernández-Buenaga R, Alió JL, Pérez Ardoy AL, Quesada AL, Pinilla-Cortés L, Barraquer RI.J Refract Surg. 2013 Oct;29

Femtosecond laser-assisted laser in situ keratomileusis Lasik versus photorefractive keratectomy: Effect on ocular surface condition. Sauvageot P, Julio G, Alvarez de Toledo J, Charoenrook V, Barraquer RI.J Cataract Refract Surg. 2017 Feb

New applanation tonometer for myopic patients after Lasik surgery. Iglesias M, Yebra F, Kudsieh B, Laiseca A, Santos C, Nadal J, Barraquer R, Casaroli-Marano RP.Sci Rep. 2020 Apr 27

Laser In Situ Keratomileusis (Lasik). Moshirfar M, Bennett P, Ronquillo Y.2020 Jul 31. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan

Resolving refractive error after cataract surgery: IOL exchange, piggyback lens, or LASIK. Fernández-Buenaga R, Alió JL, Pérez Ardoy AL, Quesada AL, Pinilla-Cortés L, Barraquer RI.J Refract Surg. 2013 Oct

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    Barraquer Ophthalmology Center Barcelona Spain Barraquer eye hospital Barcelona Spain

    Barraquer Eye Hospital

    Carrer de Muntaner, 314, 08021 Barcelona (Spain)

    Nearest Metro Stations:: Muntaner/ Gràcia

    Barraquer Ophthalmology Center Barcelona Spain Barraquer eye hospital Barcelona Spain