Astigmatism Treatment Options

Astigmatism Treatment Options

Astigmatism is the most common vision problem among adults in the United States. If you have astigmatism, you may experience blurred vision, headaches, and eyestrain. Astigmatism can be hereditary. However, the condition tends to get worse with age. Fortunately, there are treatments for mild to severe astigmatism that can improve your vision.

What is Astigmatism ?

The cornea bends incoming light and focuses it on your retina. Your cornea should be round and smoothly curved. Patients with astigmatism have an oblong cornea. It may also be irregularly shaped. The shape causes light to distort when it enters your eye. The result is blurry vision.

Many people are born with astigmatism. It may be accompanied by other vision problems, including nearsightedness or farsightedness. Astigmatism can also be caused by eye injuries.

What are the Symptoms of Astigmatism ?

The main symptom of astigmatism is blurry vision. Other common symptoms of astigmatism include :

  • Strained eyes
  • Headaches
  • Squinting

If poor vision is interfering with your life, schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist. Your doctor can diagnose your vision problems and help you correct your vision.

Children may not know that they have a problem with their vision. It’s important to bring your children to regular exams to ensure that their eyes are healthy.

How is Astigmatism Diagnosed ?

If you have problems with your vision, schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist. To determine if you have astigmatism, your doctor can perform a comprehensive eye exam. The tests may include :

  • Visual acuity : This test helps your doctor determine if your vision is impaired.
  • Curvature measurement : Your ophthalmologist can use a special instrument to measure the curvature of your cornea. This test can confirm if you have astigmatism.
  • Light focus measurement : This test shows how your eyes focus light. Your doctor places lenses in front of your eyes and measures the results. This test can help your doctor choose appropriate prescription lenses.

Astigmatism is usually a hereditary condition. Tell your doctor if astigmatism and vision problems run in your family. Talk to your doctor about recent injuries to your eyes. This information can help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

How is Astigmatism Treated ?

There are several treatment options for patients with astigmatism. Your ophthalmologist can determine the cause of your blurred vision and recommend the appropriate treatment.

Many patients with astigmatism can be treated with corrective lenses or contacts. You can get eyeglasses that will compensate for the shape of your cornea. If necessary, these lenses can also correct other vision problems, including nearsightedness and farsightedness.

If you have astigmatism, you can choose from a variety of contact lenses. You may choose to wear hard, soft, extended wear, or disposable contacts. You can even get bifocal contact lenses. Your doctor can help your determine the right contact lenses for your eyes.

You may also choose to undergo a procedure called orthokeratology. You must wear rigid contact lenses for several hours each day. Over time, the curvature of your cornea will improve. Eventually, you can wear the lenses less frequently. However, if you completely stop the treatment, your eyes will return to their natural shape.

Some patients with astigmatism choose corrective surgery to reshape the cornea. The most common types of surgery include :

  • LASIK : The surgeon uses a specialized instrument to lift the flap and shape your cornea.
  • PRK : The surgeon pulls off the outside layer of the cornea before changing the shape.
  • LASEK : The surgeon removes a thin layer of the cornea before reshaping it.

A licensed ophthalmologist can help you determine which treatment option is right for you. Always follow the care and treatment instructions provided by your doctor.