Astigmatism is a common eye condition that causes blurred vision. Astigmatism is a common condition that can easily be treated and managed. Left untreated, symptoms of astigmatism include:
- Blurred or distorted vision
It can be corrected by glasses, contact lenses or laser eye surgery. If you have mild astigmatism (less than one Dioptre) then you are unlikely to need any vision correction. It is normally when the astigmatism is greater than 1 Dioptre that people feel the need to correct it.
Treatments for astigmatism include:
- Laser eye surgery
- Lens surgery
- Wearing glasses
- Wearing contact lenses
People often wrongly assume that laser eye surgery cannot correct astigmatism but this is not the case. The technology has now advanced to the point where laser eye surgery can correct very large amounts of astigmatism.
How Do I Know if I Have Astigmatism?
The best way to find this out is by having an eye test. If you have already had a recent eye test you can deduce the amount of astigmatism you have by looking at your prescription card.
The following is a typical prescription card:
Sph cyl axis
-1.50 -2.50 90
The sph (sphere) represents if you are long or short-sighted. If it is a minus number you are short-sighted and if it is a plus number you are long-sighted. The Cyl (cylinder) represents the amount of astigmatism you have. The axis is the direction of astigmatism which does not affect whether or not you can have laser eye surgery. In the above example, this person is short-sighted (1.50 Dioptres) and has astigmatism of 2.50 Dioptres.
What Do I Need To Know About Laser Eye Surgery & Astigmatism?
There are a few points to consider and they are as follows:
Both LASEK and LASIK can treat astigmatism and they both offer similar visual outcomes. Both can treat up to 6.00 dioptres of astigmatism, which means very few people will be beyond the treatable range. Less than 1% of the population will have astigmatism beyond 6 dioptres.
If you have high astigmatism (over 3 dioptres) then most surgeons will insist that you have Wavefront laser eye surgery. This is because Wavefront is more accurate which is especially important when treating high levels of astigmatism. For more information on Wavefront, you can read the following: A guide to Wavefront correction.
The recovery period is exactly the same for treating astigmatism as it is for treating both long and short-sightedness.
The cost of treating astigmatism is the same as treating long or short-sightedness. Wavefront is more expensive however and your surgeon is likely to insist you have this if your astigmatism is higher than 3 dioptres. Read the following guide for more information on laser eye surgery pricing: How much does laser eye surgery cost?
The way in which the laser eye surgery procedure is carried out for astigmatism is exactly the same as it is for both long-sightedness and short-sightedness.
In summary, having astigmatism should not be a reason to put you off having laser eye surgery. There is a high chance you will be suitable for laser eye treatment and you can go on to enjoy crystal clear vision without the aid of glasses or contact lenses.