Astigmatism is caused by an irregularity in the shape of the cornea or lens in the eye. Common symptoms include blurred vision, and sometimes even headaches and eyestrain.
What is Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is a common vision condition which affects most people to some degree. With astigmatism the cornea (clear tissue covering the eye) is abnormally curved, causing vision to be out of focus at any distance.
Whilst a small amount of astigmatism usually doesn’t interfere with eyesight, a large amount has the possibility to cause distorted or blurred vision, eye discomfort and headaches. The cause of astigmatism is unknown but is usually present from birth and common for people suffering from either short-sightedness (myopia) or long-sightedness (hyperopia).
Mild astigmatism may be asymptomatic (showing no symptoms), but a higher degree of astigmatism can cause blurry vision, squinting, eyestrain or headaches. Research has pointed to a link between astigmatism and migraine headaches.
There are a limited amount of procedures that effectively treat astigmatism, although the Perfect Vision team are skilled practitioners when it comes to performing the NASA approved iLASIK surgery. Using iris recognition technology and precision lasers, this procedure performed by our surgeons can correct astigmatism for good. The iLASIK surgery will reshape the cornea in order to remove the irregularities that are causing the symptoms of astigmatism.
This form of refractive surgery is guaranteed to provide you with the best achievable vision. Patients normally achieve normal 20/20 vision or even better once completed. It is also nationally recognised by the Fred Hollows Foundation as an effective eye treatment method for astigmatism.
For more information on Perfect Vision iLASIK surgery please see iLASIK.
If the iLASIK surgery is unsuitable for a patient then a Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) is another option for sufferers of astigmatism.
For more information please see Photorefractive Keratectomy.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the symptoms?
In severe astigmatism, vision is blurred or distorted whether the person is reading close up or looking further into the distance. In milder cases, the person may complain that their vision is blurred at certain distances; that they have tired or dry eyes; that it’s a struggle to focus or read or that they have headaches, especially when trying to focus.
What causes astigmatism?
As the eye develops in the womb, several things may determine the shape of it, including inherited genetic factors. It would seem these factors can lead to an irregular curvature of the cornea, although the exact cause isn’t known. Injuries to the cornea, such as an infection that leaves a scar, or changes to the cornea caused by eye surgery can also cause astigmatism to occur. A variety of conditions, such as keratoconus, can also cause the cornea to weaken, become thinner and change shape, leading to the development of astigmatism.
How is it diagnosed?
Astigmatism is diagnosed during eye examinations with an Ophthalmologist or qualified Optometrist. A full examination will assess the degree and extent of the problem. Small children, who may not be able to answer screening questions about what they can see, can still be assessed using a test called retinoscopy that involves the use of reflected light.
Who is affected?
Astigmatism is common and can be present from birth. The amount of astigmatism will alter as the eyes grow – it may reduce too. Most people have a small amount of astigmatism, as the eye is slightly flatter across than it is vertical. In mild cases, the eye can adjust to focus light adequately. In many instances of astigmatism, the person also has other visual problems such as short-sightedness or long-sightedness. Two-thirds of people with short-sightedness also have significant astigmatism.
What are my treatment options?
There are a few different treatment options for astigmatism. It’s recommended that individuals looking to fix the condition undergo iLASIK surgery. Another option is a Photorefractive Keratectomy depending on your eligibility for iLASIK.
Here at Perfect Vision we have an immense amount of faith in our surgeons to provide excellent results. We believe that our surgeons provide treatment that lasts long-term, resulting in patients maintaining excellent eyesight for years to come. We want our patients to be as happy as possible with the results and intend to help them maintain the best possible vision for as long as possible through our commitment program.