Treatment Options for Astigmatism
When light enters our eyes, it needs to be focused on the retina which is the area of light-sensitive cells at the very back of our eyes. It is the retina that sends messages to the brain via the optic nerve which then tells us what we can see. Astigmatism is characterized as an imperfection in the curvature of your eye’s cornea which prevents light from refracting correctly, resulting in blurred vision. In patients with astigmatism, the cornea, which should resemble a soccer ball in shape, is more like a football instead.
Many people suffer from astigmatism. While it can be corrected using prescription contact lenses or glasses many people quickly become frustrated with the limitations and expense of prescription eyewear. Contact lenses can be costly and fiddly, and many people don’t like using them while glasses can break easily, get lost or are easily forgotten when you are going out somewhere. Fortunately, there is another option – laser vision correction surgery, and more specifically, LASIK.
How Does LASIK Work?
LASIK uses laser technology to reshape the corneal tissue so that light is refracted correctly, and the patient’s vision becomes clearer. It does this by creating a flap in the very outer layer of the corneal tissue, called the epithelium, so that the underlying cornea can be accessed and shaped. The lasers used to do this are pre-programmed so that they can deliver light energy with extreme accuracy and precision. The flap is then replaced and left to heal, and the surgery complete. It takes a matter of minutes per eye, and patients who opt for laser vision correction achieve a tremendous improvement in their vision – so much so that few require any form of prescription eyewear afterward.
Types Of LASIK
Many people think that LASIK is just one procedure. In fact, there are several different types of LASIK laser vision correction, two of which have been shown to be effective in correcting the vision of patients suffering from astigmatism. These are as follows:
Thin-Flap Bladeless IntraLASIK
Also sometimes known as SBK LASIK, this type of LASIK takes advantage of fully computerized, all-laser femtosecond technology. This procedure, which is entirely bladeless since it is performed entirely by laser, enables us to create a corneal flap in the epithelium, which is the outermost layer of the cornea, that is much thinner and customized specifically for each individual patient.
There are several distinct benefits to using bladeless IntraLASIK, including:
- More predictable corneal flap thickness
- A significantly decreased risk of corneal abrasions during surgery
- Decreased risk of induced astigmatism after your LASIK procedure
If you have been diagnosed with severe astigmatism, you may be recommended for a type of LASIK laser vision correction known as Wavefront-Guided LASIK. Also sometimes referred to as WFG, this type of LASIK uses an excimer laser which emits a cool beam of ultraviolet light of a specific wavelength to reshape the cornea. Astigmatism is corrected by smoothing an irregular cornea into a much more symmetrical shape, enabling light to be refracted properly and the patient to see more clearly.
Excimer lasers are pre-programmed with specific information to correct each individual patient. This ensures complete precision and accuracy and the quantity and pattern of corneal tissue removed are unique to each patient.
If you are suffering from astigmatism and would like more information about LASIK laser vision correction, or if you would like to find out about your treatment options, please get in touch with our experienced and knowledgeable team who will be delighted to assist you.