Astigmatism is a common eye condition we often hear in contact lens commercials
on TV and tossed around by eye doctors. But
what is astigmatism? How does it affect vision, and how can it be treated?
The cornea, or outer covering of the colored part and pupil and the lens
within the eye should be smooth and evenly curved in all directions. An
equally curved eye will properly refract light, allowing clear vision.
Irregular shape of the cornea or lens is called astigmatism. Many people
are born with astigmatism, as well as other
eye conditions such as nearsightedness or farsightedness. There are two types of astigmatism
- corneal astigmatism and lenticular astigmatism. Astigmatism means light
does not hit the eye in such a way that it is properly focused on the
retina and both distance and close range vision is affected.
Because children won’t necessarily recognize there is a problem with
their vision, routine vision exams are important in diagnosing any vision
problems such as astigmatism so that it can be properly corrected. Astigmatism
is also often an inherited trait. People who are not born with astigmatism
can develop it as a result of eye injury or disease.
Symptoms of astigmatism include blurry vision, eye strain, headaches and
squinting to see clearly. If you or your child have experienced any of
these symptoms, schedule a visit with your eye doctor for an exam. These
symptoms may also be related to other refractive vision errors, but only
your doctor will be able to diagnose the cause of distorted or blurred vision.
Mild to moderate astigmatism is most commonly treated with eye glasses
or contact lenses. Astigmatism patients are no longer limited to rigid
contact lenses or eye glasses. Toric lenses, which are soft contact lenses
can be used to correct vision in some instances of astigmatism. In some
more serious cases,
LASIK eye surgery can treat astigmatism by reshaping the cornea. Reshaping of the cornea
will improve how the eye focuses light rays on the retina. A consultation
with your eye doctor is necessary to determine the best treatment options
here to schedule a complimentary consultation with a Key-Whitman doctor to
determine if you are a candidate for LASIK vision correction surgery.
When the astigmatic patient is ready for cataract surgery, options are
available to treat the astigmatism as well as the cataract. These include
limbal relaxing incisions or the Toric intraocular lens implant by Alcon.
When considering your eye care, be sure to stay up to date with the latest
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