Is PRK Possible for People Who Have Astigmatism?
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Doctor Answers 8
PRK Possible for People Who Have Astigmatism?
PRK Treats Astigmatism
PRK is very effective in treating astigmatism. Even very high levels of astigmatism can usually be treated if the eyes are otherwise healthy.
PRK and astigmatism
Astigmatism is a type of refractive error just like myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness). Having astigmatism alone does not discount you as a candidate from any form of laser vision correction.
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Does PRK treat astigmatism?
The laser used for PRK and LASIK is the same and both can treat even high amounts of astigmatism. The only difference is the amount of healing time between the two.
The laser that is used to treat your nearsightedness or farsightedness is the same laser that treats your astigmatism, whether you have PRK or LASIK. There are maximum amounts of nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism that the FDA has approved these laser for, but assuming you fall within the range, you should have no problem have your astigmatism treated during your PRK procedure. Thanks, Dr. Kang
PRK for Astigmatism
Astigmatism is a condition of the eye in which the cornea or front surface is oval rather than round. Laser vision correction, both PRK and LASIK, is possible with this condition.
Treatment of Astigmatism
One of the comments I hear from patients in my office, or even people I meet in public, is "I am not a laser vision correction candidate because I have an astigmatism." I have heard this for 20 years and it just never seems to go away through patient education. A colleagueof mine told me that people look at astigmatism almost as a disease(like rheumatism!) when, in fact, it is just the way the cornea is shaped. In fact, our customized corneal analysis has gotten so sensitive over the past ten years that itis difficult to find a patient that does'nt have an astigmatism. The excimer lasers have gotten so good that very high levels of astigmatism can be treated. I have treated as high as 6 diopters of astigmatism and routinely(weekly) perform LASIK or PRK on patients with 4 diopters of astigmatism. So, hopefully, the misinformation will cease, but just know that modern lasers are good enough(great!) to easily treat most patients with an astigmatism.
PRK Treatment for Astigmatism
Astigmatism is simply a difference in curvature of the corneal surface of the eye, where the curve is steeper in one direction than another. Think of it in terms of the curvature on the surface of a football (astigmatism), versus the curvature on the surface of a basketball (no astigmatism). Astigmatism actually can be treated quite successfully with both LASIK and PRK. All forms of astigmatism are not the same, however, so be sure to discuss your particular case with your doctor. Incidentally, all lasers used to treat the cornea for LASIK and PRK are not the same, either.