Astigmatism is a condition when either the cornea (thin transparent layer protecting the front surface of the eye) or the lens (responsible for focusing mechanism of the eye) inside the eye has a curvature that is not perfectly round, but oval instead.
Astigmatism is corrected with spectacles, contact lenses, or refractive surgery. An eye health professional will recommend the most suitable option based on age, degree of astigmatism, the health of the eye, and vision requirements.
Wearing corrective lenses addresses astigmatism by mitigating irregular curvatures of your cornea or lens. The lenses are designed in a way to refract or bend light into the eye correctly.
Spectacles might be required all the time or only when performing visual tasks that require clear vision, like driving or reading.
There are 2 main types of contact lenses, soft and hard. Soft contact lenses, which is the more common choice among contact lens wearers, are flexible and are moulded to the shape of the eye. The eye health professional may recommend hard contact lenses since the hard nature of the lens provides regularity on the surface of the eye, therefore improving the way light enters and interacts with the eye and providing clear vision.
Refractive surgery is when a surgeon applies a laser to the cornea (transparent layer protecting the surface of the eye) to change the way light enters your eye, so that it is focused on the retina (back portion of the eye) to produce clear vision. Common refractive surgeries include laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) and photorefractive keratectomy (PRK).
LASIK is the most common refractive surgery and involves creating a thin flap on the surface of the cornea. A laser then removes a precise amount of tissue from the inner layers of the cornea needed to change its shape for clear vision. The flap is then placed back into its original position to heal. In PRK, lasers remove a thin layer of tissue from the surface of the cornea instead in order to flatten its shape, which helps to refocus incoming light onto the retina.
As per the FDA, refractive surgeries should only be performed in those aged 18 years or older. The eligibility for surgery and type of surgery is dependent on the general health of the person and the results of a comprehensive eye check that includes additional tests not done routinely for an accurate assessment of the cornea. Schedule your eye appointment via planoEyecheck!
“Astigmatism,” Mayo Clinic, 05-Oct-2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/astigmatism/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353838. [Accessed: 12-Apr-2022].
“Astigmatism,” Mayo Clinic, 05-Oct-2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/astigmatism/symptoms-causes/syc-20353835. [Accessed: 12-Apr-2022].
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