Eye Surgery to Correct Astigmatism

Posted: Feb 02 2017

Eye Surgery to Correct Astigmatism

Astigmatism is a condition where the front of the eye is not perfectly round. Many cases are mild and require no treatment, but some cause poor vision. Laser eye surgery can be used to correct astigmatism and improve eyesight.

If the transparent layer of tissue known as the cornea at the front of your eye is not spherical and evenly curved, you have astigmatism. Astigmatic corneas can be rugby-ball shaped – this is called regular astigmatism and is the most common kind. Alternatively you may have a cornea which curves in different directions and has some areas thicker than others – this is called irregular astigmatism and is much rarer.

Usually, astigmatism is present from birth, and is identified during routine eye tests.

If you do not have astigmatism, the lines will appear sharply focused and equally dark in the diagram on the right.

Astigmatism checker

  • What causes astigmatism?/Often astigmatism is hereditary. However it also occurs when eye surgery has left scars on the cornea or if you have sustained an injury to your eye. Conditions such as keratoconus that affect the shape of the cornea will also result in astigmatism.
  • Why is it a problem?/As with long and short sightedness, astigmatism is a refractive error. The rugby-ball shape of the eye means that light enters at different angles than if the eye were perfectly round. The result is that two points of focus exist rather than one so the image you see is blurred. If you have astigmatism you may have trouble reading, particularly if the print is small. You may also squint and suffer from headaches and fatigue. Some cases of astigmatism are mild and do not require any intervention. However, in more severe cases, corrective measures are essential, with laser eye surgery to correct astigmatism becoming an increasingly popular treatment.
  • Laser eye surgery to correct astigmatism/Contrary to what you may have heard, astigmatism can be treated with laser eye surgery. Astigmatism is slightly more complicated to treat than long- and short-sightedness because the laser has to alter the shape of the cornea in two meridians to ensure that every distortion is corrected. The laser procedure will also correct your long- or short-sightedness if this is present and the whole procedure takes around ten to fifteen minutes. One eye can be corrected immediately after the other.
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