Astigmatism occurs when the eye’s cornea or its natural lens are irregularly shaped.
Astigmatism is an eye condition that affects millions of Americans. It is almost always treatable; however, it can cause moderate to severe blurriness or impaired vision if left untreated. Astigmatism is often accompanied by myopia or hyperopia (nearsightedness or farsightedness), and a condition that many people are born with. It can also develop after a disease or injury has affected the eye. There are many options available from our eye doctors here at New Eyes that can improve the symptoms of astigmatism and help you improve your vision.
Causes of Astigmatism
Astigmatism occurs when the eye’s cornea or its natural lens are irregularly shaped. For clear vision, the cornea and lens of the eye must be spherical and symmetrical; however, an eye that is afflicted with astigmatism is typically more of an oval or football shape. This ultimately causes light to refract in different directions, resulting in a blurry image.
Symptoms of Astigmatism
Astigmatism can cause a variety of effects on how you see, and even how you feel. Symptoms of astigmatism include:
- Blurry vision
- Light sensitivity
- Eye fatigue
Astigmatism Treatment Options
In some cases, the level of astigmatism is so minimal that it does not even require corrective lenses for treatment. However, patients who have symptoms of astigmatism will often need some kind of treatment in order to improve vision. Contact lenses and eyeglass prescriptions can be helpful in some cases, but patients who have more pronounced astigmatism can greatly benefit from refractive surgery procedures such as implantable contact lenses. Plus, refractive lens exchange procedures can improve symptoms of astigmatism in addition to reducing reliance on corrective eyewear to see clearly.
Cataract Surgery and Astigmatism Correction
If you are developing cataracts and you also have astigmatism, there are several options available to help minimize your need for glasses or contact lenses after surgery. Recent advances in intraocular lens (IOL) technology have made it possible to provide an effective solution for cataract patients who have astigmatism.
Toric Intraocular Lenses (IOLs)
Patients who have pre-existing astigmatism and are undergoing cataract surgery can benefit from IOLs designed to improve myopia and hyperopia in addition to correcting astigmatism. The Alcon® Toric IQ IOL and the STAAR® Toric IOL can be excellent options for cataract patients. These advanced IOLs often allow for excellent vision and a decreased dependence on corrective eyewear after surgery.
Toric Lens: Introduction
Astigmatism can also be corrected after cataract surgery using the technique called Limbal Relaxing Incisions (LRI), or refractive surgery such as LASIK and PRK. New Eyes’ corneal specialist, Ksenia Stafeeva, MD, has extensive experience in correcting astigmatism after cataract surgery using these techniques. He will be happy to meet with you for an initial consultation and evaluation to discuss all the options available to you which may best meet your specific needs.
If you would like more information on treatments for astigmatism, please contact New Eyes today. We will be happy to answer your questions and address your concerns.