Astigmatism – Causes and Treatment

AstigmatismSight is one of our five senses and an essential way to enjoy a beautiful and vibrant life. It is our eyes that help us appreciate the colours and beauty around us. Unfortunately, some of us are not blessed with sight at birth or we start losing it with age. There are different types of disabilities associated with eyes and they have different causes. One of the eye disorders includes astigmatism. In this article, we discuss what it is, the causes behind it and treatment options.

What is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a disorder where the person suffers from blurred vision which is caused due to an abnormality with the cornea. In an eye which is astigmatic, the cornea is of oval shape which is abnormal as compared to the symmetrically curved and baseball shaped cornea of a normal eye.

Symptoms of Astigmatism

Common symptoms associated with astigmatism include distorted vision; it could be in both eyes or just one. People also complain of severe headaches, strain on the eyes, squinting and sensitivity to light.

Types of Astigmatism

There are two types of Astigmatism:

Corneal Astigmatism: The one caused by deformation of cornea

Lenticular Astigmatism: The one caused by an irregularity in the lens shape

Diagnosing Astigmatism

Doctors use different methods to confirm if a person has astigmatism or not. The basic tool used for diagnosis is the letter chart. If a person complains about letters getting smaller on each line then they are diagnosed with this disorder. Doctors also use a dial chart which contains a series of semi-circle lines. If the person is unable to see them clearly, it is a sign of having astigmatism. Another tool used for diagnoses is the ophthalmometer. It is used to measure the reflection of an image one the cornea’s surface to determine the degree of astigmatism in the eye.

Treatment Options

Treatment options vary according to the type of astigmatism you have and your lifestyle also determines which treatment will treat you best. The most common treatment recommended for astigmatism is corrective glasses, contact lenses or LASIK vision correction surgery. These help in bending the incoming light rays so that the image can be received the right way by the retina. It is possible that your glasses will keep changing with each year due to stronger prescriptions.

Astigmatism can be cured permanently if you a get Laser eye surgery and the procedure is completed properly. This treatment is quite expensive and can be uncomfortable. During the lasik eye surgery, doctors remove the epithelium of the cornea and then correct the shape of the cornea. The epithelium is placed back after the correction.

Eye exercises are also used to treat astigmatism and improve a person’s visual skills. These exercises can also be helpful to treat other problems associated with eye sight as well like myopia. It is quite inexpensive as compared to corrective lenses and surgeries.

Astigmatism can affect a person’s lifestyle so many seek some kind of treatment so that they can improve the quality of their life.


All you Need to Know About Laser Eye Surgery

Laser eye surgery is one of the most advanced practices done nowadays to correct eye problems. During this surgical practice, light rays are refracted or bent by the cornea in order to direct them on the retina, a layer of cells that senses light. A large part of the eye’s capability to focus depends on the shape of the cornea. Laser eye surgery targets the cornea. Cornea is the external circular part that protects the colored part of your eye and the pupil.

epi-lasikThere are 3 different types of laser eye surgery. The recent and the most popular type of laser surgery is known as ‘Lasik’. It involves creating a flap thru cutting off a thin layer of the cornea that additionally enables the laser to target the tissue underneath. The flap is placed back, regenerates naturally and the vision is eventually restored. The major risk of Lasik is corneal ectasia, a condition that weakens and bulges the cornea.

The second most common type of laser eye surgery is known as ‘Lasek‘ or ‘Epiflap’. It involves the fractional elimination of the epithelium to divulge the cornea. The cornea is then reshaped or firmed by the laser. Besides, the external layer of cells is pushed rear and the eye cures shortly after.

PRK has been used for long. This method involves removing the whole epithelial cells on the eye. The major risks of PRK are only pain for some days and regression. As Lasik is used to heal astigmatism, myopia or hyperopia, Lasek is mainly used to correct gentle or common myopia. If successful, laser eye surgery can really reduce your need for eye glasses and inconvenient contact lenses.

These treatments are commonly considered safe. However, the medical area is divided in its opinion over some of the recent advances in eye surgery. This is mostly due to advanced technology and lack of study on the long-term effects of most of these treatments.

Lastly, you should also be very careful when choosing an eye surgeon since it has several limitations and possible complications. Besides, similar to any other surgery, eye surgery has its own set of risks, and surgeons should educate their patients on this matter, its risks, benefits as well as how to prevent them. For instance, Laser eye surgery should be done to healthy adults only. Mild eyesight complications are not considered genuine enough to warrant laser surgery. People with illnesses involving the bones, joints, diabetes and pregnancy should not carry out laser eye surgery.