What is Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is a common eye condition that can affect anyone. It is most prevalent in those over the age of 30 and becomes more common and more severe as we age. Approximately one third of those over the age of 30 have astigmatism.
Astigmatism occurs when there is an irregularity to the cornea at the front of the eye. The cornea naturally has a smooth, spherical curve, but when this curve becomes too great or is skewed in one direction, this is called astigmatism. It causes the light coming into the eye to spread, and no longer results in a focused point on the retina.
Although a little more complex than short or long sightedness, the end result is very much the same. Images are no longer focused and eyesight is affected. The causes of astigmatism are thought to be age related, hereditary or to be due to injury or trauma to the eye area.
Symptoms of astigmatism
Many people live with astigmatism without really noticing the effect. However, when the condition starts to cause problems, it’s time to seek treatment. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Headaches, caused by straining to focus on objects
- Fatigue after focusing on something for a long time, such as using the computer or reading
- Blurred vision or an inability to see well at certain distances
Should I get laser eye surgery for astigmatism?
Glasses and contact lenses can be a suitable treatment for astigmatism, but for a permanent and complete recovery, laser eye surgery is an option to consider. The surgery will involve reshaping your cornea to make it more spherical, helping the light focus on the retina more precisely and improving the quality of your vision.
Modern laser eye surgery methods can treat even the most severe of astigmatic patients with great success. Whether or not it is right for you will be down to your personal health and preferences, and a consultation with a surgeon will help you decide. At your consultation, your surgeon will be looking to find out:
- If you have any signs of eye disease
- Whether your vision is still deteriorating or has stabilised
- How thick your cornea is and the degree off correction required
- If you are good health overall
If your surgeon thinks you are a good candidate for laser eye surgery to treat your astigmatism, you can be confident that this treatment will work well for you.
Types of laser eye surgery astigmatism treatment
The most common procedures used to treat astigmatism are:
Wavefront LASIK is considered to be the most effective technique, as it is the most accurate and able to treat even the most severe of cases. LASEK may be recommended if you have a particularly thin cornea, as the reshaping can be achieved without the risk of damage to the cornea itself.
All types of laser eye surgery for astigmatism can be performed alongside treatment for other conditions, such as myopia.
Costs of treating astigmatism with laser eye surgery
The cost of treating astigmatism is no more expensive than any other laser eye surgery treatment. As with all types of laser eye surgery, costs can be highly variable and depend on a number of influencing factors. According to our reviews, the average price paid per eye for LASIK in the UK is £2,800, and is £2,500 for LASEK
|Procedure||Average Cost Per Eye|
Specialised treatment such as Wavefront can cost more, running to an average of £3,200 for LASEK Wavefront and £2,700 for LASEK Wavefront. However, if you have an acute case off astigmatism, it’s well worth the extra investment to get a more effective treatment.
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|Lasek Custom Wavefront||£2700|
Recovery and considerations
There are no specific risk considerations for patients looking to treat astigmatism with laser eye surgery. However, the normal risks of laser eye surgery apply.
- With LASIK, including Wavefront, you may experience some blurring immediately after surgery, and should make arrangements for someone else to transport you home. However, many patients start enjoying clear vision within hours after the surgery, and you can normally go back to work within one to four days.
- LASEK can have a slightly longer recovery period, and you will need to wear ‘bandage’ contact lenses for three or four days following surgery. Most people return to work within two days, but may experience some discomfort, for which your surgeon will normally prescribe pain relief.
Patients should be aware that after surgery you may be affected by side affects such as:
- Teary Eyes
- Dry eyes
- Bloodshot eyes
- Aberrations such as ‘halos’ or ‘ghosting’
There is a slim chance that astigmatism could come back too, but for the majority of patients this is an effective and permanent solution to vision correction for life.
You can read our reviews to find out how successful laser eye surgery has been in correcting the vision of other astigmatic patients like you, as well as getting first-hand information about clinics and surgeons around the UK.