What Is Astigmatism, and How Is It Treated?

What Is Astigmatism, and How Is It Treated?

What Is Astigmatism, and How Is It Treated?

The abnormal curvature of your cornea can result in unclear images. You may experience this refractive error that can affect the quality of your life. It is essential to understand what astigmatism is and what treatment options there are to correct the refractive error.


What Is Astigmatism?


Astigmatism is an eye condition in which the front part of your eye or cornea is not entirely round. Ideally, it should have a perfectly round shape like a ball to allow light that enters it to blend evenly. 


Symptoms of Astigmatism


Some of the common signs of astigmatism include:


  • Squinting

  • Headaches

  • Distorted vision

  • Blurred vision

  • Eyestrain

  • Poor night vision

  • Double vision

  • Eye irritation




Astigmatism symptoms progress slowly. It is essential to see your eye doctor if you begin having vision changes. You will need to undergo a complete eye test. You will have to read an eye chart to examine the sharpness of your eyesight.


Your doctor will also test your eyesight using the following tools:


  • Autorefractor – The device helps your eye doctor know what lenses suit you. It shines light into your eye and measures how it changes as it bounces off

  • Keratometer – The machines measure the flattest and steepest curves in the center of your cornea. The results show your eye doctor how well your cornea can focus

  • Phoropter – You will look through various lenses to find the one that gives you the clearest vision

  • Corneal topographer – The technology gives details about the shape of your cornea. Your doctor will ask you to look at one point. Meanwhile, the corneal topographer collects tiny measurements. A computer uses the data collected to build a color map of your measured cornea



Eyeglass lenses work better when you look straight ahead. But they can make your walls and floor look tilted, depending on the correction your condition needs. The effect clears once you get used to wearing the glasses. If your astigmatism is severe, you will need toric lenses for your condition. 


Your doctor can also prescribe rigid gas permeable contact lenses if you have severe astigmatism. They can use them for orthokeratology, where you wear them while you sleep to reshape your cornea.


Laser eye surgery will also help reshape your cornea to allow it to focus light better. Your eye doctor will use a mechanical device to create a thin flap on your cornea. They will then expose the central layers of your cornea by pulling away from the flap. They will sculpt the layers and return the flap to its original point. Your eye doctor will cover your eyes with transparent shields before you go home.


Limbal relaxing incisions or astigmatic keratotomy is another treatment option. Your surgeon will cut tiny cuts on the steepest curves on your cornea to let light focus precisely on your retina.


When to See a Doctor


See your eye doctor if your symptoms persist after treatment and deter you from daily activities. Your specialist can determine whether you have astigmatism. If the condition is there, your doctor can advise on your treatment options based on their extent.


For more on astigmatism, contact Kopolow & Girisgen Doctors of Optometry at our offices in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can also call (702) 452-2020 or (702) 341-7254 to book an appointment today.

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