Astigmatism is a common visual condition and may accompany other visual conditions such as nearsightedness or farsightedness.
Astigmatism is defined as “without a point of focus” and occurs when the cornea is shaped like a football. The cornea without astigmatism is round like a baseball. The oval shape causes light rays to land on two points in the back of the eye rather than one, blurring both near and distance vision. Some people have more astigmatism than others, and thus more difficulty with blur than others.
Many people are born with astigmatism, while others develop it over a period of time. Other diseases, conditions, or injuries affecting corneal health may also cause astigmatism.
If astigmatism is found during an exam in our office, we can use a test called topography to map the shape of the cornea. This test allows the doctor to see the corneal astigmatism in detail. If astigmatism is found, glasses, contact lenses, or surgery may correct it.
How Does PRK Treat Astigmatism?
In the PRK procedure, the cornea is reshaped with an excimer laser to make it more round, allowing the light to land on a single point in the eye. This serves to eliminate or reduce the negative effects of astigmatism. Regular astigmatism is a more general astigmatism condition and can typically be successfully corrected with laser eye treatments. As with all types of sight problems correctable with surgery, eye sight must be stable for at least 12 months before laser eye treatment is a viable consideration.
Laser eye surgery cannot, however, correct all types of astigmatism. Irregular astigmatism, a term used if the front of the eye does not have a natural smooth surface, is a type of astigmatism that surgery cannot correct. Irregular astigmatism can be caused by an injury to the eye that leads to scarring. Some eye diseases also cause changes to the front of the eye. One of the most widespread is called Keratoconus.
Using Modern Technology to Correct Your Astigmatism
Eyesight Associates provides customized, blade-free, all-laser PRK using the Allegretto Wave Eye-Q excimer laser, a state-of-the-art, FDA-approved laser system for treating nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.