Astigmatism is an eye condition wherein the individual’s cornea is shaped like an egg or a rugby ball, instead of a normal sphere. This type of irregularity can also be seen on the intraocular lens which is inside the eye. For people suffering from astigmatism, the rays of light that enter the eye do not focus at a single spot. Two focal lines are formed at the back of the eye created by the spot of light and these lines are perpendicular to each other and at different planes.
This will cause blurry sight because objects do not appear clear at any specific distance, as compared to hyperopia (long sightedness) or myopia (short sightedness). Astigmatism results to blurry and out of focus objects no matter the distance.
People often report experiencing eyestrain, headaches, and lack of concentration brought about by this condition. Reading becomes difficult as the eyes are easily tired. To correct this, people resort to eyeglasses or contact lenses and the degree of the condition would determine how often they needed to be worn. Eyeglasses or contact lenses can be worn constantly or on an as-needed basis only.
Another way to treat astigmatism is laser eye treatment. A more permanent solution to astigmatism, laser eye treatment would involve pre-operation procedures to screen potential applicants as not everyone can undergo this kind of eye surgery. Corneal topography is done prior to the operation and this is done to map the contours and curvatures of the eye. The topography is used to create the geography of the eye and map the necessary changes specific to the surgery.
Lasik and PRK are two of the most common of laser eye treatment performed to correct astigmatism. For lasik, the process involves creating a flap on the topmost bed of the cornea, which is located on the front of the eye. The underlying bed is vaporized with a laser for more accuracy and precision. The created flap is then returned to the front of the eye so healing will not require stitiches.
As for PRK, the process is quite similar to Lasik, except no flap is formed. Instead, the top layer of the eye is completely removed before the laser corrects the underlying cornea. Recovery usually takes longer than Lasik though results on visual acuity post-surgery are comparable to Lasik.
It is important to note that not all cases of astigmatism can be treated with laser eye treatment. One such exception is “irregular astigmatism”, wherein the eye’s cornea does not have a natural smooth surface. This condition can be caused by an injury that led to scarring. There are also eye diseases that cannot be corrected with laser eye treatment, one such example of which is keratoconus.
“Regular astigmatism” can be corrected with laser eye treatment as this is a more general form of astigmatism that can be treated with repeated eye surgeries. As with all types of eye surgery, prescription should be stable for the last 12 months before considering laser eye treatment as a viable solution.