Q: What Preparations Should Be Made Prior to Having LASIK for Astigmatism?

A: Astigmatism means that the cornea has greater curvature in one meridian than in another. Some eye care doctors use the analogy of a football shape rather than a basketball shape. Most people have some astigmatism although very small amounts are often left uncorrected in contact lenses even though it can cause a detectable loss in vision.

Many primary eye care providers still think that LASIK cannot correct for astigmatism so we still have patients who have been told that they thought they couldn’t have LASIK because of astigmatism. Only the first generation of laser could not correct for astigmatism. It has been more than a decade since lasers could successfully treat astigmatism.

Since people with astigmatism often wear toric soft or RGP contact lenses, they will generally need to be out of contact lenses for longer than a person who wears spherical soft lenses. Toric soft lenses and RGP lenses can reshape the cornea slightly by pressing on different parts of it during wear. We often recommend patients to be out of contact lenses for a month or longer if they are wearing contact lenses for astigmatism.

Except for this, preparation is generally the same as for people without astigmatism. The calculations for the laser treatment and specifics of the type of surgery might change but these generally don’t require any changes be made by the patient in preparation.