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LASIK for Astigmatism – Success Rates, Costs & Recovery

Tom Tooma, M.D., Founder/Medical Director

Medically Reviewed by Tom Tooma, M.D., Founder/Medical Director

Fact Checked
10 sources cited

Last Updated

What is Astigmatism?

The cornea is the window of the eye. It is crystal clear and covers the colored part of the eye (iris). When the cornea is perfectly round, there is no eye stigmatism. Astigmatism is present when one part of the cornea is steep and the other part, 90 degrees away, is flat.

Patients with astigmatism see distorted images. If you have a significant amount of astigmatism, you’ll have ghosting or doubling of images.

What Does LASIK Do for Astigmatism?

LASIK eye surgery can correct astigmatism by reshaping the cornea to make it perfectly round again. The laser removes more tissue in the steep part of the cornea to create a perfectly symmetrical cornea. The predictability of astigmatism correction with LASIK is as precise as it is for the correction of nearsightedness.

There are two types of astigmatism, corneal astigmatism, described above, and lenticular astigmatism, which affects our crystalline lens inside the eye. LASIK corrects all astigmatism in the eye, including both corneal and lenticular astigmatism.

normal vision vs astigmatism

Who Is a Candidate for LASIK for Astigmatism?

If you are a candidate for LASIK surgery, you are a candidate to have your astigmatism corrected with LASIK. The FDA has approved our current excimer lasers to correct up to 6 diopters (units of measurement) of astigmatism.

You will need a comprehensive eye exam to determine if you are a candidate. This includes an assessment of the health of your eye, the magnitude of nearsightedness and astigmatism, the corneal thickness, and the corneal contour (topography).

Factors that may exclude you from being a good LASIK candidate include the following:

  • Your level of astigmatism has not stabilized
  • An autoimmune condition that is not well controlled
  • Severe dry eyes
  • Corneas that are too thin for the level of correction you have
  • Being under the age of 18
  • Keratoconus (though there are other procedures that can correct astigmatism if you have keratoconus)
  • Abnormal corneal contour (topography)
  • Uncontrolled diabetes or glaucoma

What to Expect With LASIK for Astigmatism

LASIK is highly sophisticated and requires the skill of an experienced surgeon to get excellent outcomes safely.

During the first portion of LASIK, we use a computer-guided femtosecond laser to create the flap.

Then, an excimer laser is used. This laser is computer guided and has an eye tracker. The eye tracker tracks the eye more than 1,000 times a second. If your eye moves while the laser is delivering the treatment, the laser follows your eye. If your eye moves too much, the laser will stop. The risk of error here is zero.

The laser reshapes the cornea by removing tissue to correct your prescription. The procedure is painless since we use eye drops to numb the eye.

The experience of the surgeon dictates the safety of the procedure, and the technology used determines the quality of the visual outcome. Experience plus technology gives you the highest chance of getting 20/20 vision safely.

No surgery is without potential complications. In the hands of an experienced surgeon, the chances of something happening that would substantially affect your eyesight in a negative way is far lower than 1%.

patient undergoing prk surgery

Success Rates of LASIK

LASIK surgery has a patient satisfaction rate of 99%. It is widely considered to be safe, by both the FDA and experts in the field.

Despite its widespread acceptance and success rates, LASIK is still a form of eye surgery and has risks. Here are some facts on LASIK:

  • Complications from LASIK are very rare, occurring in less than 1% of cases.
  • An impressive 99% of patients are satisfied or extremely satisfied with LASIK surgery.
  • Among patients with nearsightedness up to -7.00 diopters and up to -3.00 diopters of astigmatism, 98% will have 20/20 vision after LASIK. Less than 2% may need an enhancement to get them to 20/20 vision. Enhancements are typically performed three months after surgery.
  • Symptoms, such as dry eye, halo and glare at night, are most common in the period immediately following LASIK. These symptoms typically resolve within three to six months.

Costs of LASIK Surgery for Astigmatism

LASIK usually costs between $1,500 and $3,000 per eye. The surgery can be financed for as little as the cost of a cup of coffee per day. Many centers offer interest-free financing over 12 to 24 months.

LASIK is considered an elective procedure, so most insurance providers do not cover the cost. Some insurance providers offer discounts, however.

Many patients feel that you can’t put a price on freedom from glasses and contacts. If you think of the cost/benefit analysis, the cost of LASIK for a lifetime of freedom is small, compared to the lifetime cost of glasses and contacts. Most people spend an average of $1,000 per year on glasses and contacts.

Financing Your LASIK Procedure

We believe every patient should have access to the life changing procedures NVISION® offers. Since LASIK is considered an elective medical procedure or advantageous to the patient but not urgent, it is typically not covered under insurance plans. Our financing options ensure that you are not held back by cost. Read on to learn more about CareCredit®, FSA/HSA, Insurance Discounts and other options.

Learn More about Financing Your LASIK Procedure

Recovery After Astigmatism Correction With LASIK

Most people are able to go back to work the day after surgery. You will be using an antibiotic and a steroid eye drop for one week. You will also be asked to use artificial tears frequently for the first one to three months.

Most patients do not have any pain following surgery. It is common to have a foreign body sensation in the first three to four hours after surgery.

doctor with clipboard talking to patient

Most surgeons provide relaxing medications that help you go to sleep immediately after surgery. If you do that, when you wake up after your nap, you should have no pain. You will already notice that your vision is substantially improved.

You can typically return to normal activities very soon after surgery. Most surgeons recommend that you do not swim in a pool or in the ocean for two weeks. It is fine to shower as early as the first day after surgery.

Do not rub your eyes after surgery, but especially for the first three months. Returning to the gym as early as the first day is fine. Most doctors recommend that you do not run or cycle outdoors for one week after surgery to avoid the drying effect of wind in your eyes. It is fine to use a stationary bike or treadmill as well as lift weights as soon as the first day after surgery.

Mild fluctuations in your vision are common the first few days after surgery. Using artificial tears frequently will minimize these fluctuations.

Astigmatism for LASIK FAQs

Can LASIK treat astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a type of refractive error, which LASIK can generally treat within certain ranges. Your doctor will confirm if you are a good candidate for LASIK astigmatism correction.

LASIK cannot treat the less common form of astigmatism, lenticular astigmatism, which is caused by a misshapen lens.

How long does LASIK last when used to treat astigmatism?

LASIK is a permanent procedure. It never wears off since the changes that are made in your corneal curvature are permanent.

Less than 1% of patients will need an enhancement within the first year and less than 5% during their lifetime. Enhancements are typically necessary not because the LASIK effect is wearing off, but because of other internal changes in the eye, such as changes in your lens.

Is LASIK worth it if you have astigmatism?

Absolutely. LASIK can correct astigmatism along with other refractive errors, such as nearsightedness and farsightedness. Freedom from glasses and contacts is priceless.

LASIK is a good investment and a great value when you compare the cost of a one-time LASIK procedure to the cost of a lifetime of glasses and contacts.

Is LASIK for astigmatism more expensive?

No, Whether you have astigmatism or not, the cost of LASIK surgery is the same.


  1. How Much Does LASIK Cost? (October 2021). Forbes.
  2. LASIK — Laser Eye Surgery. (October 2020). American Academy of Ophthalmology.
  3. Refractive Eye Surgery: Helping Patients Make Informed Decisions About LASIK. (May 2017). American Family Physician.
  4. What Is Astigmatism? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment. (February 2022). American Academy of Ophthalmology.
  5. Functional Outcome and Patient Satisfaction After Laser In Situ Keratomileusis for Correction of Myopia and Myopic Astigmatism. (January–March 2015). Middle East African Journal of Ophthalmology.
  6. What Should I Expect Before, During, And After Surgery? (July 2018). U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
  7. Complications of Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis. (July 2021). Indian Journal of Ophthalmology.
  8. Functional Outcome and Patient Satisfaction After Laser In Situ Keratomileusis for Correction of Myopia and Myopic Astigmatism. (January–March 2015). Middle East African Journal of Ophthalmology.
  9. Post-LASIK Dry Eye. (August 2012). Expert Review of Ophthalmology.
  10. Laser Surgery Recovery. (January 2017). American Academy of Ophthalmology.

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