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What is Astigmatism, and How is it Treated?

Posted by Eye Specialists of Louisiana on Mon, Jul 16, 2018 @ 05:08 PM

astigmatism testDo you feel as though your vision is blurry from all distances? Do you find your self suffering from eye strains and headaches when reading or watching television for a prolonged period? If so, you may be one of the millions of Americans who have astigmatism.

Astigmatism is not an eye disease, but an error in the way that the eyes refract light. These refractive errors are caused by imperfections in the round shape of the cornea, or the lens inside of the eye. Ideally, these parts are perfectly round and symmetrical.  However, for people with astigmatism, their curvature is misshapen.  Instead of a perfectly round cornea and/or lens, these structures are more oval or “football-shaped.”  This results in an eye with essentially two different refractive errors (i.e. glasses prescriptions).  One along the long axis of the football, and one along the short axis.   

Three Types of Astigmatism.

Astigmatism affects different patients in different ways and may appear in any of the following forms:

  • Myopic- Both of the two refractive errors are near sighted. This results in blurry distance vision and better vision up close.  But unlike a nearsighted person without astigmatism, even near objects are not perfectly clear because of the irregular eye shape.
  • Hyperopic- The two errors of the eye are farsighted. This will make objects closer to the eyes appear blurry. Far away objects will look better than close objects, but still not crisp and clear.
  • Mixed- One axis of astigmatism is nearsighted and one is farsighted. This results in vision that is not particularly better at any certain distance, and is not very clear overall.

Diagnosis of Astigmatism

Diagnosing astigmatism is very simple and may be accomplished using a number of different tests.  These include:

  • Vision Test – You will be asked to read letters off of a chart from 20 feet away.
  • Refraction – You will look at the chart through a series of different lenses, telling your doctor which ones appear clear or blurry.
  • Keratometry – Your doctor will use a machine to measure the degree of bend in the center of your cornea.
  • Corneal Topography – You will focus on a specific point as a computer collects measurements of your cornea, producing a detailed map.

Treatment for Astigmatism

Astigmatism is very common, and there are a variety of ways to treat it. For many, it is as simple as choosing glasses or contact lenses to improve blurred vision, while LASIK surgery is also gaining popularity as another corrective option. Through this procedure, a laser is used to reshape the eye’s cornea to an appropriate curvature, thereby correcting associated refractive errors and astigmatism.

No matter what route you choose to correct your vision, Eye Specialists of Louisiana has a highly-trained staff who are dedicated to helping improve your vision. If you are suffering from blurred eyesight due to astigmatism, scheduling an eye exam is the first step to correct the problem. Contact us today, and schedule a consultation with an ophthalmologist to determine what treatment options are best suited to address your vision problems.

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Tags: Astigmatism

Can LASIK Fix Astigmatism?

Posted by Eye Specialists of Louisiana on Tue, Apr 02, 2013 @ 05:49 PM

LASIK for astigmatism

LASIK, laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis, corrects nearsightedness by flattening the cornea with a laser and treats farsightedness by steepening the cornea.  Astigmatism is a different visual problem. Instead of a normal round cornea you have one that’s more oval like a football, and the curvature causes your blurry vision. LASIK treatment for astigmatism doesn’t flatten or steepen the cornea; it corrects the uneven curvature of your cornea.

 

LASIK for astigmatism is an excellent option when compared to other alternatives like eyeglasses or contact lenses. Eyeglasses and contacts compensate for the abnormal curvature of the astigmatism with a lens that is curved in the opposite way from the cornea, effectively cancelling out the distortion. Unlike LASIK, these are short-term corrections to the symptoms associated with astigmatism- blurry vision, eyestrain, and headaches. They can also be disorienting since, by definition, these lenses are non-uniform in shape.  Astigmatism contacts can also rotate out of alignment causing blur.  And all contact lenses carry the risk of infection, inflammation, or corneal damage.

 

With reshaping the surface of your eyes, temporary fixes like contact lenes or glasses become unnecessary in many cases. There are different types of refractive surgeries. PRK, or photorefractive keratectomy, involves your surgeon removing the outer, protective layer of your cornea before changing its curvature. LASEK, or laser-assisted subepithelial keratomileusis, different from LASIK, involves the folding of an extremely thin layer of the cornea, unlike the slightly thicker flap seen in LASIK.

 

LASIK for astigmatism involves your surgeon making a thin, small circular hinged cut into your cornea. He or she folds back the hinged flap and then reshapes the cornea using an excimer laser that doesn’t produce any heat. Many people choose to have LASIK for astigmatism over other refractive surgeries because it is very safe and the recovery time is very short.

 

Since the U.S. Federal Department of Agriculture (FDA) approved LASIK in 1998, its popularity and acceptance as a safe and minimally invasive surgery has grown. In fact, each year thousands of Americans, whether they have LASIK for astigmatism or nearsightedness or farsightedness, have undergone this surgery with great results. The vast majority of LASIK patients achieve perfect or near perfect vision without the use of temporary fixes like eyeglasses or contact lens.  Some LASIK patients may still need to make use of glasses for reading or driving, but LASIK can still provide life altering vision correction.

 

Before you choose to have LASIK a proper evaluation of the benefits, risks, and anticipated results, along with a consultation and evaluation with a physician, should be completed by each potential LASIK candidate. Numerous factors play into the eligibility of LASIK candidates and every person considering LASIK should make sure that they are able to comply with the post-surgical orders.  For instance, after surgery you shouldn’t rub your eyes. This can wrinkle or displace the thin corneal flap. Also, there may be side effects that tend to fade over time as your cornea heals, such as haziness and difficulty with night vision.

 

It’s important to talk to your surgeon or eye care professional about whether or not LASIK is the solution for you.  The doctors at Eye Specialists of Louisiana have years of experience in performing LASIK surgeries.  Our staff would be happy to help any potential LASIK patient weigh their options and evaluate their candidacy for LASIK.  Astigmatism no longer has to have the associated burden of eyeglasses or contact lenses for vision correction.  We at Eye Specialists of Louisiana would like to help you achieve your best vision possible.  Feel free to contact us at the office, or you can request an appointment by clicking the button below.  We respect your privacy and never share the information you provide us.

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Tags: Astigmatism, LASIK

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