One of the most common myths about laser vision correction is that LASIK cannot correct astigmatism. That misinformation has likely kept thousands of people from pursuing clear vision. I hear stories nearly every day when people come to me for LASIK in St. Louis. This is such a shame because it simply isn’t true.
To begin, astigmatism is an irregularity in the curvature of the cornea. No human eye is perfect, but some eyes are more curved than others. Instead of being a perfect sphere, the human eye takes on more of an oblong shape. We often use the analogy that an ideal cornea is shaped like a baseball, whereas a cornea with astigmatism is shaped like a football.
When the curvature, or cylinder, in the front of the eye is very pronounced, a person is said to have a steep or strong astigmatism. This often leads to refractive errors, or aberrations, caused by the distortion of light entering the eye. In short, instead of the light being bent toward the retina, it is sent to the wrong part of the eye. This causes vision problems. In the past, the only solution was glasses or special contact lenses, called toric lenses, that counterbalance the refractive error.
Years ago, when earlier versions of LASIK were being used, steep astigmatism eliminated patients from being candidates for laser eye surgery. It couldn’t be done because the curved anatomy of a high astigmatism didn’t bode well for the way procedures were done back then.
Today, it’s a different story.
Because astigmatism is such a common problem, researchers have put a lot of effort into finding ways to help people who have it. Not only do today’s lasers give LASIK surgeons more range to correct the vision of people who have minor to mid-range astigmatism, but new techniques like SMILE, implantable contact lenses (Visian ICL), Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE), and Advanced Surface Ablation (ASA/Advanced PRK) were developed specifically with astigmatism in mind.
At Brinton Vision, I take great pride in being among the first in the country to perform some of these procedures and to invest in the technology that enables us to provide all of them to patients. It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to know that I am able to help people who had little hope of ever seeing clearly without glasses or contact lenses.
The first step toward finding out if you are a candidate for LASIK in St. Louis, or for any of its six modern variations is to schedule a Brinton Vision Ocular Analysis (BVOA). Visit brintonvision.com to learn more and schedule your BVOA online, or call 314.375.2020. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have and look forward to walking with you in your journey to visual freedom.
St. Louis LASIK surgeon Dr. Jason P. Brinton, MD is an internationally recognized specialist in the field of refractive surgery. He is a graduate of Harvard College, earned his medical doctorate from the Harvard Medical School, and is board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. He has been inducted to America’s Top Ophthalmologists by the Consumer Research Council of America, Leading Physicians of the World by the International Association of Healthcare Professionals, and Top Doctors in America by Castle Connolly. In 2015, he received global recognition as the recipient of the Visian ICL Young Ophthalmologist Award in Barcelona, Spain, and in 2016 was named Ocular Surgery News’ Premier Surgeon 300 Innovators in Refractive Cataract Surgery. In 2017, he was named in Top Doctors in St. Louis. He is a dedicated husband, father of four beautiful children, and is passionate about his life, his work, and service to others.