Treatments for Astigmatism
Astigmatism is a common refractive error. It results from an abnormal curvature within the cornea. The abnormal curvature within the cornea causes a person’s vision to be out of focus. The shape of the cornea greatly affects the eye’s ability to focus clearly. Astigmatism is typically present from birth, but it may develop as a result of an injury or trauma, surgery, or disease affecting the eye. It is common for patients with astigmatism to also be affected by other refractive errors such as myopia or hyperopia. The condition can make a patient’s vision appear blurry. Fortunately, there are effective treatments for the condition.
What are the Symptoms of Astigmatism?
A patient may have astigmatism if he or she is experiencing these symptoms:
- Constantly having to squint to see clearly
- Unable to read small print
- Objects that are close-up and in the distance appear blurry
- Double vision
- Eye strain
How Is Astigmatism Diagnosed?
At the vision center Deen-Gross Eye Centers, astigmatism may be diagnosed in many ways, including:
- Utilizing a keratometer: Astigmatism is diagnosed by measuring the curvature of the cornea. Using a keratometer, the light that is reflected from the surface of the cornea can be measured. Through these measurements, the unique curvature of the cornea can be determined. In a cornea unaffected by astigmatism, the curvature is symmetrical or uniform, but the curvature of a cornea with astigmatism is not. A keratometer is among the most commonly used instruments for measuring astigmatism.
- Corneal topography: Through corneal topography, a computer can construct a map of the cornea. During the corneal topography process, thousands of tiny measurements are taken of the cornea. This newly created detailed image of the cornea is used to determine the shape of the cornea and to measure changes in the curvature of the surface of the cornea.
Treatments for Astigmatism
In mild cases of astigmatism, no treatment is necessary. The most common treatments for astigmatism are eyeglasses, contact lenses, and refractive surgery:
- Eyeglasses: Special lenses designed to counteract the uneven shape of the cornea causing blurry vision can be used to treat astigmatism. Patients may find it takes a few days to become accustomed to wearing their new eyeglasses, but usually adjust within a week. Eyeglasses may be used to treat astigmatism, as well as myopia and hyperopia.
- Contact lenses: The type of contact lens prescribed will depend upon the needs of the individual patient. Toric lenses are often prescribed in the treatment of astigmatism. Toric lenses are designed to address the abnormal curvature of the cornea.
- Refractive surgery: LASIK, LASEK, and PRK are types of refractive surgery that may be utilized in the treatment of astigmatism. In an eye without astigmatism, the surface of the cornea is shaped like a baseball. In an eye with astigmatism, the surface of the cornea is shaped like a football. Refractive surgery may be used to change the shape of the cornea.
At Deen-Gross Eye Centers in Merrillville, astigmatism treatments are always customized to the unique needs of each individual patient. To learn more about treatments for astigmatism, please call, email, or visit our office today.