How to Correct Astigmatism

March 12, 2015

Many considerations go into determining whether a patient is a good candidate for LASIK, such as cost, your degree of vision impairment, and potential side effects. Since astigmatism affects most people at some level and is a frequent companion of common issues like nearsightedness and farsightedness, knowing whether LASIK can correct the condition can also be an important factor.

Astigmatism occurs when the cornea or the lens of the eye has curved into an oblong shape. This can occur naturally or be caused by an injury. For people who have some degree of astigmatism, this can cause blurred vision and lead to discomfort and headaches. Severe cases may even require a corneal transplant. Astigmatism can be corrected with glasses, contacts, or laser eye surgery.

During the procedure, LASIK corrects astigmatism by extracting the inner corneal layer from the eye. This alters the oblong shape that can cause the blurriness associated with astigmatism. There are other ways of treating astigmatism, including another surgical procedure which removes more tissue. LASIK has the extra advantage of correcting nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism with a 96% success rate.

LASIK also has the added benefit of being nearly painless, and it has a very quick recovery time. For those who have mild or moderate vision problems, LASIK is a great vision correction option to consider.

As always, you should consult your ophthalmologist when considering LASIK or any other procedure. Only a physician can evaluate your unique situation and recommend the best course of action for you.

Please do not hesitate to call us if you have any questions regarding LASIK surgery at (800) 398-3937.

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March 10, 2015

QUESTION:
Does your vision have to be 20/20 to be a surgeon and will LASIK be a good option for bad eyesight?

ANSWER:
Being a surgeon requires excellent vision. Some types of surgeons require more excellent vision than others. Microsurgeons such as ophthalmologists, neurosurgeons and vascular surgeons need particularly sharp vision. Know that people who have 20/25 or even 20/30 see very well, and in my opinion can function quite well as surgeons, again, depending on the visual demands. Orthopedic surgeons, for example, tend to work with larger instruments, and heavier sutures, which may allow for less than 20/20 vision. And, as time goes on, we are seeing more “robotic” surgery (ie DaVinci) in various fields, which will extend a mortal surgeons’ limited dexterity (and possibly vision) to superhuman levels.

QUESTION:
Is it possible to go through LASIK surgery before 22 years of age?

ANSWER:
Yes, most lasers are FDA approved to treat patients 21 and older (some lasers are approved for 18 and over). More importantly, you and your surgeon should evaluate whether your vision is stable, or if your myopia has been steadily increasing over the last year or two. If your prescription is not stable, you may become slightly nearsighted again following your LASIK. And finally, at -11D your prescription is severe. It is vital that your corneas be thick enough to allow for a full correction. Other options for high corrections include the ICL (Implantable Collamer Lens), an excellent choice for severely nearsighted patients.

QUESTION:
Which is best, iLASIK or zLASIK?

ANSWER:
iLASIK and zLASIK are simply terms coined by various equipment manufacturers to “brand” their version of custom, blade-free LASIK. If you’re really asking, “what is the best brand of equipment to have for my LASIK?” the answer is all of the major excimer laser (Visx, Allegretto, Bausch & Lomb, Nidek) and femtosecond laser (IntraLase, Ziemer) manufacturers offer excellent products which when used in skilled surgeons’ hands, deliver outstanding results. Much like a race car and driver, you need to have great equipment AND a great surgeon. Technical specs on a laser can often be less important than who is behind the laser operating it. Corneas should be of normal shape, without signs of keratoconus, pellucid marginal degeneration, or other structural abnormalities. Corneal thickness should be sufficient to allow a 275 to 300 micron residual bed minimum after ablation. Pentacam is currently the gold standard when it comes to measuring and analyzing the shape of the cornea preoperatively.

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February 24, 2015

LASIK surgery is a common dream shared by many people who suffer from nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. This surgery, performed by an opthomologist, corrects vision using a laser to re-shape the cornea, improving visual acuity, which is the clearness and sharpness of images. LASIK surgery is a relatively safe, minimally invasive surgery that significantly improves the lives of recipients, who are usually able to discontinue the use of eyeglasses and contact lenses. However, for the woman who is pregnant or nursing a baby, there are several important factors that must be taken into consideration before choosing to go ahead with this procedure.

Physical Changes in Eyesight Due to Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a time of change in a woman’s body. Some of these changes involve the eyes and eyesight. Some are only temporary, while others may be permanent. Because of fluctuations in hormone levels, many women experience changes in vision, such as new or increased levels of nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. The shape and thickness of the cornea can change, and because of fluid retention, may also swell. Changes in eyesight can also be caused by the development of hypertension and diabetes, which can develop during pregnancy. Dry eyes are another common complaint. These physical changes in a pregnant woman’s body make her a poor candidate for LASIK surgery, as the correction achieved may not be right if the eyes change again after the birth of the baby.

Safety Issues During Pregnancy
There are many changes in a pregnant woman’s eyes that warrant waiting to have LASIK surgery, but there are certain safety issues as well. LASIK surgery patients are prescribed medications during and following surgery that may enter the bloodstream through mucous membranes. Many of these medications have not been tested on pregnant women, and cannot be guaranteed to be safe for the fetus. The doctor must dilate the eyes prior to surgery, and drugs are often given, such as Valium, for relaxation during the procedure. There may be antibiotics and steroid eye drops after surgery. These can all enter the bloodstream and pose potential risks to the baby. There is also a small risk of radiation from the lasers themselves. These safety concerns are red flags to any pregnant woman that this is not the best time to explore LASIK surgery.

Considerations For the Nursing Mother
It is clear that a pregnant woman should wait until after pregnancy to have LASIK surgery. However, for the nursing mother, there are concerns as well. She will experience hormonal changes even after the birth. These can have a detrimental effect on healing after surgery. Breastfeeding can also cause changes in the cornea that may not be resolved until after weaning.

There is also an increased risk of medications making their way into the breast milk. Post-operative medications, antibiotics and steroid eye drops all enter the breast milk, even in small amounts. These medications are not tested on babies, so there is no safety guarantee, and they could be potentially dangerous to the nursing infant.

It is clear that the months during pregnancy and breastfeeding are not the time to consider having LASIK surgery. The physical changes that occur in a woman’s eyes, as well as the safety hazards involved in certain types of medications will not be fully resolved until after the breastfeeding period is over. Most doctors recommend that women wait to have the procedure for approximately two to three menstrual cycles after the baby is weaned for best results. So, being patient, following doctor’s orders and waiting the proper amount of time are the right ways to ensure the best results possible from LASIK surgery.

Please do not hesitate to call us if you have any questions regarding LASIK surgery at (800) 398-3937.

 

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February 24, 2015

Listed below is how to correct astigmatism in the most efficient and effective way possible via modern technology.

First, what is astigmatism and how can it impact your vision?

Astigmatism involves an irregular curvature of the cornea, which means that light is no longer being properly focused on the retina at the back of your eye. This condition can cause light to focus in multiple points instead of one, which creates a blurry image.

Unfortunately, astigmatism affects about 28% of the population to some degree, causing blurred vision at all distances, headaches, and strained eyes. It’s mainly hereditary, though it can also be the result of an eye injury. If left untreated, it can also get worse.

Since it affects so many individuals, understanding how to correct astigmatism is crucial for optometrists and LASIK surgeons alike. Of course, there are always contact lenses and glasses, but those simply mask the inherent problem. On the other hand, laser eye surgery can actually reshape your eye’s lens so it can properly focus light once again.

Both LASIK and PRK correct the distorted corneal shape. It’s normal to feel discomfort for a short amount of time after the procedure (usually a few hours for LASIK and up to a few days for PRK), but it’s worth it!

 

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