What is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a common condition where one of the optical surfaces in your eye (often the cornea) isn’t a perfect sphere. A perfect cornea would have the same curvature in all directions; similar to the surface of a soccer ball. With astigmatism, the curvature of the eye is irregular, similar to the surface of a rugby ball. This affects the ability to focus light onto the retina which can blur or distort your vision at all distances. Common symptoms of astigmatism include blurry vision, headaches, squinting, and fatigue while performing visual tasks. 

Astigmatism can be classed as either regular (cornea is not spherical, but still symmetrical) or irregular (cornea is asymmetrical and often steeper in one section – usually inferiorly).

Regular Astigmatism

Can usually be corrected easily with modern techniques such as laser eye surgery or intraocular lenses.

Irregular Astigmatism

Is often associated with conditions such as keratoconus or corneal scarring. When astigmatism is irregular it can be more difficult to correct; although there may be options such as intrastromal corneal ring segments (kerarings).

Is Astigmatism Surgery Permanent?

There are a number of surgical options to correct astigmatism; all of which are very successful in reducing or eliminating the need to wear glasses or contact lenses. Most of these surgical procedures are permanent, however, the eye is subject to natural changes which can alter your vision with time after any procedure. Other surgical options are available to correct these changes if and when they occur.

What are my Astigmatism Treatment Options?

Astigmatism can be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, laser eye surgery or intraocular lens surgery. 

All three variations of laser eye surgery (PRK or ASLA, LASIK, SMILE) can correct astigmatism of varying amounts. Intraocular lens surgery, such as refractive lens exchange, cataract surgery and implantable contact lens surgery, can all use special lenses (toric lenses) to correct large amounts of astigmatism.

Available treatments include:

SMILE (Small Incision Lenticule Extraction)

Flapless surgery (SMILE) creates a thin piece of tissue inside the cornea and is removed through a small incision. SMILE is the latest technique in laser eye surgery. ReLEx SMILE with Visumax uses demonstrated femtosecond laser technology with accuracy and a minimally invasive treatment. The procedure is over quickly and offers faster recovery time.

PRK or ASLA (Photorefractive Keratectomy)

Surface laser ablation (PRK) removes a layer of corneal tissue to help flatten the cornea and allow light rays to focus precisely on the retina. Some corneas are irregular in shape or too thin for a flap to be created. Often a surface laser procedure can still be used to correct the vision without creating a flap. The procedure will still result in clear vision comparable to LASIK, however, a longer recovery period is needed.

LASIK (Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis)

Flap surgery (LASIK) creates a hinged piece of tissue with a controlled blade or precision femtosecond laser, and is returned to its original position. LASIK is a method of laser eye surgery performed by our specialists to correct the vision of people no longer wanting to wear glasses or contact lenses. Numbing drops are used and very little pain and discomfort is felt in the majority of our patients. LASIK reports a 96% success rate.

ICL (Implantable Contact Lens)

Implantable Contact Lenses (ICL) are permanent lenses made to the patient’s prescription and inserted into the eye. ICL may be used for patients who are unsuitable for laser correction due to thin and irregular corneas, or high prescription. The procedure results in excellent quality of vision and is reversible if required.

RLE (Refractive Lens Exchange)

Refractive lens exchange (RLE) replaces the clear natural lens with an implant to achieve sharper focus, reducing the need for corrective lenses. The artificial lens is carefully selected by the surgeon to ensure an optimal result. Multifocal lenses or a monovision setup can be used to correct both distance and reading vision.

If you would like further information we are here to help. Call us on - our friendly team members are ready to discuss your personal needs.

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