Astigmatism is a condition where vision is disordered (blurred, unfocused, fuzzy) because the cornea (the front surface of the eye) or lens, which is located behind the cornea, has an abnormal or irregular curve (misshaped). Astigmatism can occur in children as well as adults. Astigmatism is fairly common and not contagious.
There are two common types of astigmatism:
- Corneal astigmatism is when the cornea is misshaped.
- Lenticular astigmatism is when the lens is misshaped.
Normal Anatomy of the Eye
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There are several treatment options for astigmatism. If you suspect you have astigmatism, contact your doctor.Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include the following:
Corrective lenses, such as glasses or toric contact lens, are prescribed to offset the eye’s visual abnormalities or defects, such as excessive nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism.
To correct severe astigmatism, an ophthalmologist might use special knives or a laser beam to correct the abnormal or irregular curve of the cornea. The surgery is an outpatient procedure (does not require a hospital stay) that is performed with local anesthesia.
There are three types of surgical procedures that an ophthalmologist might perform:
Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK)
- Laser beams are used to reshape the abnormal or irregular curve of the cornea.
in situ Keratomileusis
(LASIK) (a type of PRK)—laser beam to reshape the curve of the cornea by removing corneal tissue.
- Radical keratotomy (RK)—Small incisions (cuts) are made partial thickness into the cornea.
(LASEK)—This procedure is not as commonly used; however, it may offer additional benefits especially for patients with thin corneas or at high risk of an eye injury.
There are risk factors associated with all surgery. To choose the best surgical treatment option for your condition, it is important that you speak with your doctor about potential risks and side effects.
There are no known preventative measures that will reduce your chances of getting astigmatism. However, routinely getting a comprehensive vision exam will reduce your chances of astigmatism going undetected (unidentified) and untreated.