Can You Get LASIK if You Have Astigmatism? - Herschel LASIK and Cataract Institute

Can You Get LASIK if You Have Astigmatism?


Are you tired of wearing glasses and contact lenses? LASIK is by far the most popular vision correction procedure you can undergo.

Its popularity has only increased in recent years. If you have a refractive error and rely on glasses or contact lenses to see, choosing to have LASIK can give you visual freedom.

LASIK can also correct refractive errors. These include nearsightedness, farsightedness, and, yes, astigmatism to a degree.

While astigmatism can be more challenging than nearsightedness or farsightedness, it is still something that LASIK can correct. Keep reading to find out more about how you can get LASIK if you have astigmatism!

What Is Astigmatism?

diagram of a healthy eye and an eye with an astigmatism

When you have a refractive error, it’s because of how your cornea is shaped. The cornea is the transparent part of the eye located at its front.

The light must pass through it to get to your retina. Once light passes through the retina, information moves to the optic nerve.

The optic nerve can then process this information and turn it into images you can see. When your cornea is an irregular shape, the light that passes through it refracts irregularly. For nearsightedness and farsightedness, this is due to the cornea being too flat or too curved.

But with another refractive error called astigmatism, things are a bit different. You can have astigmatism in addition to nearsightedness or farsightedness, but it isn’t caused by how much the cornea curves out.

Instead, it’s due to the overall shape of the cornea. Your cornea should be a shape that’s closer to a round ball, but astigmatism gives it a more egg-like shape.

Unlike nearsightedness or farsightedness, astigmatism makes it difficult to see both far away and up close. If you have astigmatism and another refractive error, it makes your prescription a bit more complicated.

The good news is that even if you have a more complex prescription, if it’s still within the range that LASIK can treat, then you can correct it with the procedure.

How LASIK Works

As incredible as LASIK is, it’s necessary to remember that it’s a surgical procedure. That’s why it’s not suitable for everyone, and you must have a LASIK consultation before you can undergo the procedure.

woman reading the newspaper

The consultation is the only way to determine if you’re a good LASIK candidate. LASIK works by reshaping your cornea and correcting refractive errors to fix your vision. This is possible by creating a flap in the cornea and then reshaping the cornea to give you the clear eyesight you’ve always wanted.

Since a cornea that’s an irregular shape causes refractive errors, correcting that shape corrects the refractive error. Because eye shape and prescriptions are unique, it can be complex to sculpt the cornea into the correct shape perfectly.

This is why the laser is preprogrammed, correcting your vision beyond what glasses or contact lenses could achieve. It doesn’t matter if you are nearsighted or farsighted or if you also have astigmatism. The only limitations are how high your prescription is.

Limitations of LASIK

woman using laptop

LASIK can correct your vision to an astounding degree. It can correct up to -11.00 diopters of nearsightedness, up to +5.00 diopters of farsightedness, and up to 5.00 diopters of astigmatism.

Most people with astigmatism fall well within these limits, so the chances are good that you’ll be able to have your vision fully corrected by having LASIK.

If you fall within the upper limits, LASIK surgery can be riskier. LASIK is a low-risk procedure with less than a 1% complication rate.

But the higher your prescription is, the more corneal tissue needs to be removed to change the shape of your cornea. It’s uncommon to have anything close to 5.00 diopters of astigmatism.

Even severe astigmatism is usually around 3.00 diopters. Even if you have severe astigmatism, chances are good you’re well within the limits of having LASIK safely.

However, alternative procedures can correct astigmatism if LASIK isn’t for you. Make sure to talk to your eye doctor at Herschel LASIK and Cataract Institute to learn about your options.


There are several vision correction surgeries aside from LASIK. LASIK alternatives are a great option if you don’t qualify for LASIK but still want to correct your vision.


A common LASIK alternative is PRK. PRK was the first laser eye surgery.

It’s similar to LASIK, but instead of creating a corneal flap, it involves reshaping the cornea’s surface after removing the epithelium. Because there is no flap created, PRK is often a good choice for people that can’t get LASIK because their corneas are too thin.

Like LASIK, it can also correct a significant degree of astigmatism.


visian icl

Astigmatism can also be corrected by an ICL, an implantable contact lens.

The ICL is an implantable contact lens that can be inserted into the eye and left there permanently, although you can also remove it if needed. The ICL can only correct nearsightedness and astigmatism, not farsightedness.

It also corrects astigmatism up to 4.00 diopters, but it can correct nearsightedness up to -15.00 diopters, which is more than even LASIK.

Refractive Lens Exchange

If you have farsightedness, presbyopia, and astigmatism, you can also have RLE or Refractive Lens Exchange.

RLE is almost identical to having cataract surgery. The only difference between the two is that you don’t need to have cataracts to have the procedure.

During RLE, the natural lens of the eye is removed and replaced with an intraocular lens, or IOL. IOLs can be designed to correct presbyopia, and a specific kind of lens, called a toric intraocular lens, can also be used to correct astigmatism up to 2.00 or 3.00 diopters.

If you have astigmatism, you have options for vision correction. For most people, the best option will be LASIK.

The only way to know if you’re a good LASIK candidate is to schedule a LASIK consultation at Herschel LASIK and Cataract Institute in Orlando, FL today! If there could be a lifetime of beautiful vision waiting for you, isn’t it time to find out?

Those who know choose Herschel LASIK and Cataract Institute

Beautiful office. Amazing and caring staff. Getting my surgery done Saturday and the Doctor and the staff helped choose the right option for me and I didn't feel pushed to commit. One of the only few who commits the patient to a dry eye treatment as per my research. Post-surgery I hope to keep my 5 star rating because I have nothing bad to say!

Yogi Nayyar (Google), February 2020

I recently did my LASIK procedure about 1 week ago and was completely blown away from beginning to end with the SERVICE received from the entire staff at Herschel LASIK. The office is beautifully decorated and the staff was always professional, personable, knowledgeable and friendly. I particularly enjoyed the way that everything was explained clearly before, during and after my procedure and questions were always encouraged and answered. My experience was the best encounter to date with a physician. Excellent doctor + excellent support staff +excellent service = excellent experience and a happy customer. Thank you so much Dr. Herschel, Doris and Francesca.

Vernicia Sturrup (Google), September 2019

Great service, sometimes a bit of a wait, but I take a full lobby as a sign of a well recommended doctor. Staff is friendly & quick to answerphones & squeeze me in when I got an eye problem. Would definitely recommend them to anyone wanting to get LASIK. Doctor even personally called to check on me the night after my procedure.

Stephanie G. (Yelp), January 2020

I got my LASIK procedure done here. I was apprehensive, mostly because anything to do with my eyes kind of freaked me out.
I went under a free consultation. The nurses/assistants were very nice and they answered any questions I had. Then I met Dr. Herschel and he was very nice and understanding. He explained all that would happen, how everything works, how long recovery will be, everything.
So, I agreed and start the process. I love the fact you always meet with Dr. Herschel at every appointment.
I now have 20/20 vision.
I'd highly recommend going to him for all of your vision needs.

Kelsea K. (Yelp), November 2019

Great surgeon and great staff. Do your research, Dr. Herschel is more than just a LASIK surgeon. He is certified and specializes in all areas of eye surgery so have peace of mind that you are getting one of the best. They use current technology and machines. More so, if your eyes aren’t ready for surgery he has no problem delaying 1-2 weeks until they are 100% good-to-go. He will not risk your health for the sake of money.

Dave T. (Yelp)
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