- Astigmatism is a common eye condition that can be corrected by spectacles, contact lenses, or laser eye surgery.
- Astigmatism can cause blurry vision for both near and distance focus.
- It can cause headaches and eye strain if correction is not worn.
- It can cause increased distortion in night time or low light conditions.
- Our eyes are optical systems of a round, sphere-like shape, allowing light to enter and refract (bend) to focus onto the back of the eye where a clear image can be processed.
- Astigmatism is often described as the eye being “rugby ball shaped”, where the light entering will distort, fragmenting in different directions and create a blurred image on the retina (back of the eye).
- The brain can accommodate for small distortions but any significant astigmatism will cause blurred vision.
- Astigmatism is a refractive error of the eye where there is a difference in the focusing power of the eye in different meridians. It is usually noted in your prescription under the “cyl” and “axis”.
- There are different types of astigmatism, such as regular or irregular, and it can be present with or without short sightedness (myopia) or long sightedness (hyperopia).
- The astigmatism in your prescription can be caused by differences in curvature in one or multiple parts of the eye’s structure for example on the cornea, within the lens or at the retina, or a combination.
- Certain types may also be the result of an eye injury that has caused scarring on the cornea or as a result of some conditions such as Keratoconus, that causes a gradual thinning and change in shape of the cornea.
Astigmatism can be measured from the refraction (spectacle prescription), corneal topography (accurate mapping of the shape of the eye) and Wavefront analysis (detailed measurement of visual aberrations) amongst other tests performed at your consultation.
The astigmatic error of the eye can be corrected using glasses, contact lenses or laser eye surgery.
In very severe types of astigmatism contact lenses can sometimes be more effective, particularly if they are specialist or customised.
If the majority of the astigmatism is on the front of the eye (cornea), laser eye surgery can help improve the prescription as well as quality of vision by reducing the irregularity on the surface.
Most types of astigmatism can be very effectively corrected with laser eye surgery.
Some patients are told that if they have a “severe” astigmatism or a high short sighted or long sighted error at the same time this cannot be treated, but this is not always the case. The level of technology and capabilities of laser systems being used at AccuVision allow our experienced surgeons to treat very complex astigmatisms. The treatment may be customised for the type and severity of the error and in some cases even improve quality of vision compared with glasses or contact lenses by reducing the distortion on the cornea.
We routinely treat patients with even 6 Dioptres of astigmatism with excellent vision outcomes.
Any treatment proposed and outcomes achievable will depend on other parameters of the eye and suitability, so the best way to find out if we can help is to talk to our clinical team who can then recommend a detailed evaluation if appropriate.