Can LASIK correct a 5.0 diopter astigmatism?

What are the limits of LASIK eye surgery concerning the correction of astigmatism? 

Doctor Answers 4

LASIK and Astigmatism: A History

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The current, state of the art, excimer laser platforms do a wonderful job correcting astigmatism and should be fully able to correct 5 diopters or more. The combination of a laser created corneal flap and the excimer laser(I prefer the Wavelight Laser system for this level of astigmatism) are able to treat up to 6 diopters of astigmatism, but I have treated some select cases even worse than that. While doing your Internet research regarding Laser Vision Correction(PRK or LASIK) you will, undoubtedly, run into comments from the late 1990's that excimer lasers don't treat astigmatism very well. Some of these comments were justified 15 years ago, but certainly not today. This is one reason why I steer patients away from the discount laser facilities, as some of them skimp on laser upgrades and maintenance in order to keep costs down. Obviously, if you are having Lasik in 2011, I see no reason on earth to have your  eyes treated on a laser made in 2004. At my practice in Baltimore, Maryland we are constantly upgrading both the hardware and software of of our laser systems to keep them immediately current.....that is the way it should be!

Baltimore Ophthalmologist

LASIK and Astigmatism

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I have had success in correcting high levels of astigmatism (over 5 diopters) but not using the wavefront technology.  This is especially true for patients who have had RK in the past.  But, on certain patients, re-treatment of the astigmatism is necessary.  This is all dependent upon the patient having a thick enough cornea to start and a reasonable corneal curvature.  One of the great success stories here is a patient who had residual astigmatism after a corneal transplant.  In that case, I was able to correct his astigmatism using PRK which is also a great option.

Stuart Lewis, MD
Denver Ophthalmologist

Yes, LASIK can correct 5 diopters of astigmatism

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I would recommend that you see an experienced ophthalmologist in your area to evaluate if LASIK is appropriate for you. Larger astigmatic corrections are sometimes associated with an uncommon condition called keratoconus. I have treated many high astigmatic patients with great success. Each treatment needs to be evaluated on a case by case basis.

Joseph W. King, MD
Renton Ophthalmologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

LASIK lasek for extreme astigmatism

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LASEK corrects extreme astigmatism better than LASIK because the flap masks the new surface and doesn't perfectly conform to it This is why you often get striae or flap wrinkles after extreme LASIK corrections. Because you're only changing the shape of the bed. Not the flap you then try to replace The flap wrinkles can cause double vision You also need an Orbscan or Pentacam to make sure you don't have Keratoconus for that high a degree of astigmatism Good luck and hope this helps

Emil William Chynn, MD, FACS, MBA
New York Ophthalmologist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.