- Astigmatism is a common vision problem that affects millions of people and can lead to blurred vision, headaches, fatigue, and even double vision.
- Contact lenses and eyeglasses are non-invasive and affordable methods for correcting mild astigmatism.
- Refractive surgery is an option for more severe cases and involves reshaping the cornea with laser technology to reduce its curvature.
- LASIK, PRK/Epi-LASIK, Conductive Keratoplasty, and Small-incision Lenticule Extraction (SMILE) are all types of refractive surgeries available for treating astigmatism.
Astigmatism is a common vision problem that affects millions of people across the globe, and it can have severe consequences if left untreated. Studies by the World Health Organization (WHO) estimate that at least 1 out of 3 people will experience astigmatism at some point in their lives. Despite its prevalence, many individuals are unaware of how astigmatism affects their eyesight and how to manage it effectively.
The primary symptom of astigmatism is blurred vision, which can cause difficulties with everyday tasks such as reading and driving. In addition, astigmatism can cause headaches, eye fatigue, and even double vision. The degree of these symptoms can depend on the severity of your astigmatism.
In addition to the physical discomfort associated with astigmatism, psychological effects can also occur. People with untreated astigmatism may find themselves unable to perform simple daily tasks due to blurred vision or dizziness; this can lead to frustration or even low self-esteem because they cannot do things that come naturally to others. Additionally, astigmatic patients may feel socially isolated from their peers due to difficulty seeing in certain lighting conditions or participating in sports or outdoor recreation activities.
Whether mild or severe, astigmatism is a treatable vision problem. Here are a few options to consider when managing or fixing your astigmatism.
Contact Lenses or Eyeglasses
People with astigmatism can get squirmish when other people touch their eyes. As a result, they will often first look to contact lenses and eyeglasses as a solution because they are non-invasive, reliable, and affordable methods of correcting vision. Contact lenses can be bought in soft or rigid gas-permeable varieties, depending on the severity of astigmatism. Soft contact lenses provide an even distribution of light across the eye for better visual clarity, while rigid gas-permeable lenses provide the more precise correction.
Eyeglasses correct astigmatism using unique toric lens designs that help reshape how light enters the eye to allow clearer vision. Both contact lenses and eyeglasses can quickly address symptoms associated with mild astigmatisms, such as blurred or distorted vision and difficulty with daily tasks like reading or driving. Additionally, both options are inexpensive compared to other forms of corrective treatment.
Before you go through this, you might have to go through some tests with your doctor to check your astigmatism’s wrong and then begin the treatment.
Refractive surgery is another option for correcting astigmatism. This procedure uses laser technology to reshape the cornea and reduce its curvature, allowing light to enter the eye correctly and produce sharper images. Depending on your case, there are several different types of refractive surgery available:
A laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) surgery is a popular refractive surgery that uses a laser to reshape the cornea and correct astigmatism. During this procedure, the doctor will create a flap in the cornea and use an excimer laser to remove tissue from the inside. Afterward, the flap is put back in place so it can heal. Most people experience improved vision within one day of their LASIK treatment, although full results may not be seen for several months.
Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) or Epi-LASIK is another form of refractive surgery used to treat astigmatism. Like LASIK, this procedure reshapes the cornea with a laser but does not involve creating a flap. Instead, tissue is ablated from the cornea’s surface to correct astigmatism. Most people experience improved vision within two weeks of their PRK/Epi-LASIK treatment.
Conductive keratoplasty (CK) is a relatively new form of refractive surgery used to treat mild astigmatism. This procedure uses low-temperature radiofrequency waves to alter the cornea’s curvature and improve vision. The results of CK are often immediate and can last up to five years.
Small-incision Lenticule Extraction (SMILE)
Small-incision lenticule extraction (SMILE) is an advanced form of laser refractive surgery used to correct vision in patients with astigmatism. During this procedure, a small incision is made in the cornea, and a thin “lenticule” of tissue is removed. This reshapes the curvature of the eye and improves vision. Most people experience improved vision within one day of their SMILE treatment.
Recovering from Refractive Surgery
Of course, refractive surgery is a delicate procedure and should be performed by an experienced ophthalmologist to avoid any complications. Like any other surgery, there can be risks associated with refractive surgery. For instance, infection and dry eyes are possible side effects. Additionally, it’s important to note that astigmatism may worsen if not sufficiently corrected after the procedure.
It’s essential to discuss all these factors with your eye doctor before deciding on the best treatment plan for your astigmatism. After you have made your decision, follow their advice and stick to the post-operative care instructions to ensure that you recover safely and effectively from the procedure.
Astigmatism is a common vision problem but can have severe consequences if left untreated. While contact lenses and eyeglasses are the most popular and affordable methods of correcting astigmatism, refractive surgery is also an option for more severe cases. It’s important to discuss your options with your eye doctor before deciding on the best treatment for you; this will ensure that you get the most out of your astigmatism treatment plan.