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LASIK is an FDA-approved laser eye surgery that corrects vision problems (refractive errors). It stands for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis. LASIK surgery is beneficial for most people who wear glasses or contact lenses. Many people who undergo the surgery no longer need corrective eyewear.
LASIK can correct:
During the procedure, your eye surgeon creates a thin, hinged flap incision into the cornea. A laser then removes inner layers of the cornea in order to give it a better shape.
Compared to other corneal surgeries, this laser eye surgery offers quicker and more pleasant recovery experiences.
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Astigmatism is a type of refractive error. It means the curvature of your eye’s cornea or lens is irregular. The curvature is sometimes comparable to the shape of a football or egg. This eye condition can affect how light passes through the cornea and lens and refracts (bends) onto the retina. A refractive error of this kind can make viewing objects challenging.
Symptoms of astigmatism include:
Many people have astigmatism along with another refractive error. This could be myopia or hyperopia (nearsightedness or farsightedness).
Yes, LASIK can fix astigmatism. Laser eye surgery can correct up to approximately 6.00 D of astigmatism. If you also have myopia or hyperopia, LASIK may not be able to provide this much correction for astigmatism. A LASIK specialist can provide medical advice as to whether you're a good candidate for laser eye procedures.
The LASIK procedure is a simple process. The steps include:
The reshaping of your cornea corrects your refractive error and allows your eye to bend light correctly. This should improve your visual acuity, eliminating or greatly reducing your blurry vision.
LASIK surgery has many advantages for those with astigmatism, including:
LASIK has very high success rates for correcting astigmatism. According to the American Refractive Surgical Council:
"The latest research reports 99 percent of patients achieve better than 20/40 vision and more than 90 percent achieve 20/20 or better. In addition, LASIK has an unprecedented 96 percent patient satisfaction rate – the highest of any elective procedure"—American Refractive Surgical Council
Laser vision correction procedures may vary in price according to different factors.
In general, the average cost of LASIK in the United States is around $2,500 per eye. LASIK may be more expensive for patients with astigmatism, but it depends on the eye surgeon's rates.
This price may include the initial consultation as well as follow-up care. However, as each eye care clinic is different, it is important to speak with the ophthalmologist about an itemized quote.
Additional factors that may influence costs for this type of refractive surgery include:
Unfortunately, most health plans consider laser surgery an elective treatment. Elective procedures are usually not covered by traditional insurance plans. However, some vision insurance companies are starting to offer discounts on LASIK.
Some vision insurance policies that offer discounts include:
If you get one of these plans, you'll probably have to use an in-network eye doctor for your LASIK treatment. They usually have contracts with specific LASIK clinics. This is helpful because the surgeons in these networks have been vetted and approved by the insurance company to provide comprehensive LASIK treatment to correct astigmatism.
LASIK surgery is a viable option for most patients with astigmatism. However, there are certain conditions that may disqualify you for LASIK. Speak with your ophthalmologist to find out if you're an ideal candidate for LASIK.
If an individual decides not to undergo LASIK surgery, there are other options available.
Before determining treatment and/or corrective lenses, an eye doctor will perform an eye exam to understand the cornea’s shape.
In many cases, individuals can address mild to moderate astigmatism problems with eyeglasses or contact lenses. One example is a type of soft lenses called toric contact lenses. However, it may be more suitable for individuals who have severe astigmatism to wear rigid contacts or glasses.
Another treatment option is photorefractive keratectomy (PRK). This surgical procedure is similar to LASIK. However, the surgeon does not leave the cornea’s outer protective layer as a flap. Instead, the layer is removed, and the tissue grows back naturally to fit the reshaped cornea.
A primary reason why individuals may be a good candidate for PRK than LASIK is corneal thickness. If the cornea is too thin, there is not enough tissue for surgeons to create a flap in the superficial layer of the cornea. This step is essential in LASIK surgery.
However, individuals who consider undergoing PRK should know that recovery time is different from that of LASIK. With PRK, recovery periods are often much longer.
In any case, it is always best to stop by an ophthalmology clinic and speak with an eye health professional about any invasive or non-invasive treatment options.
Boyd, Kierstan. “What Is Astigmatism?” American Academy of Ophthalmology, 7 Sept. 2018, www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-astigmatism.
“Evaluating A LASIK Bargain: 4 Facts You Need To Know.” American Refractive Surgery Council, 30 Apr. 2020, www.americanrefractivesurgerycouncil.org/evaluating-lasik-price-bargain/.
Joy, Kevin. “Pros and Cons of LASIK: Are the Risks Worth the Cost?” Health & Wellness Topics, Health Tips & Disease Prevention, 13 Dec. 2017, www.healthblog.uofmhealth.org/eye-health/pros-and-cons-of-lasik-are-risks-worth-cost.