Each month, LaserVision highlight a different eye condition with the aim of raising awareness of the symptoms while providing information on the cause and possible treatments available at LaserVision.
What is Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is a very common refractive error similar to that of short and long sightedness where an irregular curvature of the eye fails to focus light resulting in blurred vision at both near and distance vision.
Astigmatism causes blurring and distortion to varying degrees at all levels of distance. Symptoms include squinting, eye strain, fatigue and headaches, especially after focusing on one thing for a long period of time, for example, reading or working on a computer.
Astigmatism is usually caused by irregularities in the curvature of the parts of the eye responsible for focusing light rays (the cornea and the lens). An even curve (a round eye) results in even distribution of the light rays making up an image, which will be clear. If the curvature of the eye is uneven (rugby ball-shaped), light rays will be unevenly distributed, causing blurred images at distance and at near. The most common form of Astigmatism is seen in the cornea which is usually a symmetrically round shape. An irregular curved lens can also cause blurred vision, named lenticular astigmatism.
Astigmatism can be diagnosed in a regular eye exam and can occur in early life which is why it is important to have regular eye tests to fast and effective treatment. The opticians’ prescriptions will show two numbers, called ‘Sphere’ and ‘Cylinder’. The larger the cylinder is, the more astigmatism there is and the greater the blur.
There are many treatment options to permanently correct astigmatism based on a patient’s individual diagnosis. Such treatments include LASIK, LASEK, PRK and RLE. A consultation is essential to examine your eyes so a LaserVision consultant surgeon can expertly guide you through the best treatments for you. At LaserVision, we personalise each treatment to achieve the best results.