Astigmatism is an imperfection in the curvature of your eye’s cornea or lens. Normally, the cornea and lens are smooth and curved equally in all directions. This helps to focus light rays sharply onto the retina at the back of your eye. If your cornea or lens isn’t smooth and evenly curved, light rays aren’t refracted (bent) properly. Doctors call this a refractive error.
When your cornea has an irregular shape, you have corneal astigmatism. When the shape of your lens is distorted, you have lenticular astigmatism. In either case, your vision for both near and far objects is blurry or distorted. It’s almost like looking into a fun house mirror in which you can appear too tall, too short, too wide or too thin.
People may have astigmatism along with other refractive errors. Those errors may include things like:
nearsightedness (myopia) or
Adults with significant astigmatism may realize their vision isn’t as good as it should be. Children with astigmatism symptoms may not be aware they have this condition. They are unlikely to complain about blurred or distorted vision.
Uncorrected astigmatism can impact a child’s ability to achieve in school and sports. It is crucial that children have regular eye exams. Get these exams to detect astigmatism and other vision problems as early as possible.
Astigmatism is caused by an irregular curvature of the eye’s cornea or lens. If your cornea or lens isn’t evenly curved, light rays aren’t refracted properly. With astigmatism you have blurred or distorted vision at near and far distances.
Astigmatism is very common. Doctors don’t know why corneal shape differs from person to person. They do know that likelihood of developing astigmatism is inherited.
Astigmatism can develop after an eye disease, eye injury or surgery. It is a myth that astigmatism can develop or worsen from reading in low light or sitting very close to the television.
Astigmatism symptoms may include:
- blurry vision or areas of distorted vision
- squinting to try to see clearly
- eye discomfort
If you have these symptoms you may not necessarily have astigmatism. You should visit to your ophthalmologist. A complete eye exam will determine what is causing your symptoms
Your eye doctor may use several devices during your exam:
A phoropter helps determine how to shape a lens to correct your vision. The doctor has you look through a series of lenses in front of your eyes, and asks which ones make your vision better. Based on your answers, the doctor determines the lenses that provide the clearest vision.
Your doctor can also use an autorefractor to determine the corrective lenses you need. The autorefractor shines light into the eye and measures how it changes as it bounces off the back of the eye.
A keratometer measures the curve of your cornea. Your eye doctor may also use corneal topography. This provides more information about the shape of the surface of the cornea.
These tests help your eye doctor to precisely diagnose and measure your astigmatism.
The decision to have laser vision correction depends on the results of a thorough preoperative evaluation. Just as you are a unique individual, each eye requires unique and careful examination with the best technology.
It will be an evaluation to determine whether or not you are a safe candidate for laser vision correction.
It is important to understand that not everyone is a suitable candidate for LASIK. Some basic requirements include:
- A stable eyeglass prescription for at least two years.
- Best corrected vision of at least 20/40.
- Healthy cornea.
- No active eye disease.
- Over 18 years old.
Visual recovery varies from one day to one week. The majority of patients resume normal activities one to two days following surgery but it may take 1 to 2 months for your vision to fully stabilize.
Although everyone is a little different, the vast majority of our LASIK patients achieve legal driving vision or better, the very next day. That is one of the most exciting advantages of the LASIK procedure; clear vision comes in quickly.
Initially, your vision might not be crisp and may fluctuate slightly. This is perfectly normal and should improve gradually day by day.
Laser Eye Surgery
In most cases, LASIK can fully correct astigmatism, and the effect is permanent. Despite having a somewhat scary-sounding name, astigmatism is not an eye disease — it’s simply a refractive error like nearsightedness and farsightedness — and it can be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses and LASIK surgery.
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