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What procedures can be used to correct Astigmatism?
Astigmatism can be treated but not cured by contact lenses or glasses. For permanent results, surgery is carried out.
The most common procedures used to treat Astigmatism are:
What are the chances of success with Astigmatism Surgery?
- LASIK (Laser Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis): LASIK corrects a range of eye disorders including astigmatism. In the LASIK procedure, drops of anesthesia are put into the eye and the eyeball is held in place while the surgeon makes a small cut in the upper layers of the cornea. An ultraviolet laser reshapes the cornea underneath the flap, smoothing it to take a more regular shape. The upper layer of the cornea is replaced.
- PRK (Photorefractive keratectomy): this procedure corrects astigmatism by using a laser to reshape the surface of the cornea without cutting a flap.
- LASEK (Laser epithelial keratomileusis): treats astigmatism by using the laser on the cornea through a flap created using alcohol solution, with no cutting.
- LTK (Laser thermokeratoplasty): uses heat from a laser beam to shrink the cornea and reshape it, without cutting the cornea.
- CK (Conductive keratoplasty): radio frequency waves are used in order to steepen the cornea and restore it to a more spherical shape.
- AK (Astigmatic keratoplasty): Carried out through small incisions in the cornea which alter the curve of the cornea and restore its spherical shape.
According to MedlinePlus, most people who have refractive surgery to correct astigmatism will have close to 20:20 vision, without glasses, following the procedure although it may take several months for vision to stabilize. Around 10 percent of people will still need glasses or contact lenses at some point following the surgery.
What surgeon performs Astigmatism Surgery?
A specialist eye doctor will carry out astigmatism surgery.
How popular are these types of surgery?
LASIK and LASEK surgery are the most commonly used procedures to correct astigmatism.
PRK and AK are older techniques and less commonly used today.
Radial keratotomy was common in the 1980s but is not generally performed today.
Duration of procedure/surgery:
The duration of surgery depends on the technique used. The procedure generally takes less than 30 minutes for both eyes.
Recovery time following astigmatism surgery varies depending on the procedure carried out, but it is typically short and patients can generally return to work within 48 hours of the procedure.
Full stabilization of the vision takes around four weeks.
Serious complications from astigmatism surgery are rare.
- Variable vision for the first months following astigmatism surgery.
- Weakened cornea.
- Infection (according to WebMD, infection resulting from PRK for astigmatism happens in one-tenth of one percent of patients and even less following LASIK).
- Spots or halos in the eyes in dim light.
- Sensitivity to glare from lights at night.
- Dry eyes.
- Excess corneal haze which may affect vision.
- Vision may not be completely restored following astigmatism surgery and a second procedure is sometimes needed.
- A friend or relative will need to drive you home after astigmatism surgery.
- Use prescribed antibiotic eye drops following surgery to cut the risk of infection.
- You may need to wear protective glasses for one or two days.
- Avoid rubbing your eyes or putting pressure on them for a few weeks.
- Don’t use make up, creams or lotions around the eyes for up to two weeks.
Learn more about Astigmatism