What age is too late for LASIK?
February 18, 2022

Can laser eye surgery fix astigmatism?

Do you have astigmatism? There is a common misconception that laser eye surgery cannot fix astigmatism. However, this is not true! All forms of laser eye surgery including LASIK and PRK have the potential to treat astigmatism.

What is astigmatism?

Astigmatism is an imperfection of the eye where the front surface (cornea) is irregularly shaped. This causes light that enters the eye to focus in-front and/or behind the retina, resulting in blurry vision at all distances.

Astigmatism is a very common condition and occurs in about ⅓ of all individuals. It is extremely rare to find eyes which are perfectly regular in shape. Astigmatism can exist in conjunction with other forms of refractive error such as myopia (short sightedness) and hyperopia (long sightedness).

What are the symptoms of astigmatism?

The key symptom of astigmatism is blurry vision at all distances. You may also experience eyestrain, headache and squinting.

How does laser eye surgery fix astigmatism?

The processes used to treat laser eye surgery are the same as those used to treat myopia and hyperopia. All treatment methods aim to reshape your cornea so that it is a more favourable shape. In the case of astigmatism, the treatment plan aims to reshape your cornea so as to even out the curvatures in all meridians. You can think of it as making your corneal surface more regular, i.e., more soccer ball shaped rather than football shaped.

There are slight differences between each type of laser eye surgery (LASIK, PRK, SMILE) but all can be used to treat astigmatism. Depending on the degree of your astigmatism, certain types of laser laser may be more suitable for you than others. Read more about the different types of laser eye surgery and their processes here.

What if my astigmatism is really high? Am I still suitable for laser eye surgery?

Most people with astigmatism are able to be corrected with laser eye surgery. For those with very irregular corneas, PRK is generally recommended. However, in some cases, if your astigmatism is too irregular, you may be unsuitable to have the procedure. The only way to find out if you are eligible for laser eye surgery is by coming in for a comprehensive assessment at a specialised refractive clinic.

The consultation will involve detailed scans of your eye to measure its unique regularity and thickness. These scans form the basis of your personalised laser treatment plan. We offer free laser eye assessments to help you determine your suitability for laser eye surgery. Book in for an assessment here.