Astigmatism is a common refractive error that causes blurred vision and affects millions of people. The cornea and lens of the eye should be smooth and evenly curved in all directions in order to properly refract light, but astigmatism is an irregular curve of the cornea that is more like a football, with one area steeper than it should be.
Astigmatism affects both distance and close-range vision. There are two types of astigmatism: corneal astigmatism and lenticular astigmatism. Corneal astigmatism is an irregularly shaped cornea. Lenticular astigmatism is an irregularly shaped lens of the eye. Many people are born with astigmatism, and it may be accompanied by other refractive errors such as nearsightedness or farsightedness. Some people may develop astigmatism later in life as a result of eye injury or disease.
What are the symptoms of astigmatism?
Symptoms of astigmatism include:
• Blurry vision
• Eye strain
• Squinting to see clearly
• Eye discomfort
Simply because you experience these symptoms doesn’t mean you have astigmatism, since 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.
How can astigmatism be treated?
Treatment for astigmatism has come a long way over the years. In the past, individuals with astigmatism were confined to rigid (or hard) contact lenses or eyeglasses for vision correction. Today, many patients with astigmatism have the option of toric lenses, which are soft contact lenses. In some cases, LASIK eye surgery can treat astigmatism by reshaping the cornea. Reshaping the cornea will improve how the eye focuses light rays on the retina.
Patients who have cataracts and astigmatism have the option of a toric intraocular lens implant to replace the lens that is clouded due to cataracts. AcrySof® Toric IOL and STAAR Toric IOL are two treatment options that make it possible to treat the cataract and correct corneal astigmatism at the same time.
The unique design of the AcrySof® Toric lens provides significantly improved distance vision and may reduce the need for corrective lenses. If freedom from eyeglasses for distance vision is important to you, AcrySof® Toric lens might be for you. The STAAR Toric IOL is ideal for cataract patients with regular, pre-existing astigmatism. It has been used safely and effectively in a countless number of procedures.
A consultation with your eye doctor is necessary to determine the best treatment options for astigmatism and cataracts. Schedule a consultation with a Key-Whitman doctor to determine if you are a candidate for LASIK vision correction surgery to treat your astigmatism or AcrySof® Toric or STAAR Toric IOL to treat both your cataracts and correct astigmatism.