Astigmatism is caused by an irregularly shaped cornea. Instead of being a perfect dome, like a basketball, an astigmatic cornea has an elliptical shape-more like a football.
Astigmatism is a refractive error that causes some degree of blurriness at all distances.
Many people who are nearsighted or farsighted may also have astigmatism; others have only astigmatism.
Light passing through an astigmatic cornea cannot focus on a single point on the retina, but instead focuses at multiple points, making it impossible for the eye to focus on a clear image.
The amount of blur can be mild or severe; some people with astigmatism may even see ghosting or double images.
Most people with astigmatism wear glasses or contact lenses to achieve better eyesight. While glasses and contact lenses are effective for most people, they aren’t always ideal. They can be lost or broken and they can be a nuisance during physical activities like sports or activities that require frequent switching between near and distant vision. Contact lenses require additional cleaning and care and glasses can alter your appearance.
Ways to treat astigmatism today
Advanced techniques make it easier than ever to treat astigmatism permanently – often reducing or completely eliminating the need for glasses or contacts.
LASIK surgery is a safe, effective option for many people with astigmatism. LASIK can help you see both near and distant objects clearly-without glasses or contacts.
If you are over 40, presbyopia surgery may be an excellent options for treating astigmatism along with presbyopia (a common refractive error that develops over time and causes a loss of near vision). You can reduce your need for glasses or contacts, including reading glasses.
Cataract surgery may be the best option for people over 60 who have begun to develop cataracts and have astigmatism. Modern cataract surgeries can simultaneously correct many refractive errors, including astigmatism and presbyopia. Some surgical options will provide better eyesight at all distances without glasses or contact lenses.
If you have astigmatism, talk with Dr. Emara about which procedure is right for you.