Can I Get Laser Eye Surgery to Fix Astigmatism?

It’s a common myth that laser eye surgery can’t fix astigmatism. While that was the case in the early years of laser eye surgery, things have changed. Now, laser eye surgery is routinely used to correct astigmatism.

What is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is caused by a curvature of the eye. Rather than the eye being round (like a basketball), with astigmatism the eye has the shape of an oval or egg.

There are two parts of the eye with curved surfaces; the cornea, a clear surface at the front of the eye, and the lens, a clear structure inside the eye that changes shape to help the eye focus on nearby objects.

When the cornea and lens are an evenly rounded, the eye can focus the light rays sharply onto the retina so objects appear in focus. When the cornea or lens is curved steeply in one direction more than another, the light doesn’t refract (bend) properly as it enters the eye. This causes the vision to be blurry near or far in distance.

Astigmatism can be horizontal when the eye is wider than it is taller or vertical when the eye is taller than wider.

Causes of Astigmatism

A person may be born with an astigmatism but it can also develop later in life. Astigmatism may be present with nearsightedness, farsightedness, or good vision.

Risk factors for astigmatism include:

  • Family history of astigmatism
  • Eye disease
  • Eye injury or surgery
  • Excessive nearsightedness
  • Excessive farsightedness
  • Past corneal scarring or thinning

It is a myth that astigmatism is caused by sitting too close to the TV, squinting, or reading in a dimly lit room. There is no way of preventing astigmatism although it’s best not to rub, as this can impact your eyes.

Symptoms of Astigmatism

Some people with astigmatism have symptoms that include eye strain, headaches, sore eyes, squinting, and blurred or distorted vision. Night vision can also be poor in some people.

Astigmatism is highly present in people with slightly irregular shaped eye(s). In many cases people don’t even realise they have astigmatism because it doesn’t impact their vision. It is important to pay attention to children as some won’t detect any issues given blurry vision has always been their “normal”. Regular eye checks before a child starts school and during their school years is essential for picking up vision problems and ensuring it doesn’t impact any aspect of their life.

People with myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness) caused by astigmatism can opt for prescription glasses, contact lenses, or laser eye surgery to improve their blurred or distorted vision.

Laser Eye Surgery For Astigmatism

LASIK and other laser eye surgery methods allow reshaping the cornea to adjust how the light travels through the eye to the retina. This allows the light to focus on one point on the retina and improves the vision.

There are 3 types of laser eye surgery to treat astigmatism:

  • Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) — laser is used to reshape the abnormal/irregular curve of the cornea and is ideal for people with a thin cornea.
  • Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) — laser is used to reshape the cornea’s curve by removing corneal tissue.
  • SmartSight — the latest type of laser surgery which removes corneal tissue through a tiny incision.

Laser eye surgery can help most people with astigmatism. However, some people may have a glasses prescription that is too high, or their eye share is too irregular for laser eye surgery. Those over the age of 55 sometimes elect lens exchange surgery rather than laser eye surgery. Elect lens exchange surgery removes the natural lens and replaces it with an artificial one.

FAQs for Astigmatism and Laser Eye Surgery

Find below are some of the common questions and answers surrounding astigmatism.

Find below are some of the common questions and answers surrounding astigmatism.
What methods of laser eye surgery work for astigmatism?

Most methods of laser eye surgery are suitable for treating astigmatism. We regularly use LASIK, PRK, and SmartSight to treat patients with astigmatism. We recommend the laser eye surgery treatment method that is best suited to the condition of your eyes.

Am I a good candidate for laser eye surgery?

As long as your glasses prescription isn’t too high or too irregular, it’s likely you can have laser eye surgery. Other eligibility criteria include being between 18 and 55 years of age, healthy eyes, a stable glasses, or contact lens prescription for at least 12 months and not pregnant or breastfeeding.

What are the alternatives to laser eye surgery to correct astigmatism?

People with astigmatism that impacts their vision can wear prescription glasses or contact lenses to improve their vision. They can also invest in a long-term solution such as lens implants or clear lens extraction.

Can I develop astigmatism again after laser eye surgery?

It’s very uncommon to develop astigmatism after laser eye surgery. Age-related vision changes are more common.

More Information

If you have any questions or wish to discuss laser eye surgery, please contact us online or call us on (08) 9381 0758 to speak with one of our clinical coordinators. Alternatively, you can take our free online suitability test to find out if you may be eligible for laser eye surgery.

Contact Lions Laser Vision

Please call us at Lions Laser Vision and speak with one of our clinical coordinators who will be able to answer your questions and schedule an initial consultation with one of our refractive surgeons.

Alternatively, complete the form below and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

PHONE: 08 9381 0758
FAX: 08 9381 0700


Lions Eye Institute

Lions Laser Vision
1st Floor,
2 Verdun Street
Nedlands WA 6009

St John of God Murdoch
Murdoch Medical Centre

Suite 4B,
Ground Floor,
100 Murdoch Dr
Murdoch WA 6150