Understanding Astigmatism

03 Apr 2015

Astigmatism is one of the most misunderstood terms when it comes to vision. Not only is it frequently pronounced wrong - “stigmatism” versus the correct “astigmatism” - but those who are diagnosed often tend to think they have an eye disease.

Just like farsightedness and nearsightedness issues, astigmatism is a simple refractive error of the eye. It means that your eye does not focus light as it is supposed to. The result is a difficult time focusing and you may even have blurred vision.

The Symptoms of Astigmatism

Individuals with this refractive error may suffer from distorted or blurred vision at some distance. The symptoms can include:

  1. Eye strain
  2. Headaches
  3. Recurring migraines
  4. Frequent squinting to see better

This usually happens after reading or using your eyes for extended periods of time.

Why Some People Have Astigmatism

An irregularly shaped cornea is to blame for this visual irregularity. Instead of having a symmetrically round cornea like you are supposed to, yours is shaped like a Rugby ball. In other cases, the lens of the eye could be misshaped, causing lenticular astigmatism.

Can It Be Corrected?

If you have astigmatism, you may be already wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses. These help refocus your eyes and reduce the blurred vision so that you can see clearly. Once you take off your corrective eyewear, you still cannot see.

The only way to permanently fix astigmatism is through refractive surgery. Surgical procedures, such as LASIK® can correct most types of astigmatism so that you no longer have to get specially-shaped contact lenses or eyeglasses.

LASIK is safe and effective. It has been shown to correct most vision problems and you should notice the effects of the procedure within 48 hours. Because it is pain-free, you will not have stitches or any heavy outpatient care procedures to worry about.

The only way to tell if your astigmatism can be corrected with laser eye surgery is by meeting with a laser surgeon experienced in refractive surgery.

Are you considering refractive laser eye surgery for your astigmatism? Optilase has a team of professionals that can meet with you for a consultation to see if you are a candidate. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule your consultation for astigmatism correction.

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