Astigmatism is marked by irregularity in the shape of the eye’s lens or cornea. It’s a common problem. In fact, most adults have some degree of astigmatism. However, in many cases, the affliction is so mild that it causes no visual disruption and does not require correction. On the other hand, more severe instances can cause vision blurriness or distortion and even headaches.
Often seen in conjunction with near and farsightedness, astigmatism can be easily detected by an ophthalmologist during a routine eye exam. If treatment is needed, glasses or contact lenses are the most common method, followed by surgical intervention such as LASIK. Determining which of these will be more beneficial will depend on the severity, as well as the specific type of astigmatism. There are three primary forms:
Myopic – The eye can be divided into meridians, two of which are considered principle. In myopic astigmatism, one or both of these principle meridians will be nearsighted.
Hyperopic – Hyperopic astigmatism is marked by farsightedness in one or both principle meridians.
Mixed - Mixed astigmatism occurs when one meridian is nearsighted, and the other is farsighted.
Once an astigmatism has been identified and the type and severity determined, an ophthalmologist can suggest the most effective form of treatment. If eye glasses are the treatment of choice, a sphero-cylinder spectacle lens will be prescribed. Varying forms of contact lenses, including standard soft lenses, can be used for some astigmatism correction as well. However, an increasingly popular and incredibly effective method for correction of astigmatism is LASIK.
While most patients realize that LASIK can correct a large degree of refractive errors, its usefulness for astigmatism is less commonly recognized. However, by precisely reshaping the cornea so that light can focus to one point on the retina, lasers used in LASIK can also effectively eliminate some forms of astigmatism.
If you are concerned about astigmatism, scheduling an appointment with an ophthalmologist should be your first step in reaching a definitive diagnosis. At Eye Specialists of Louisiana, our physicians can not only prescribe the appropriate eye wear, but they are all also skilled LASIK surgeons with many years of experience. To request your initial consultation, click here, or call us directly at (225) 768-7777.