It is no secret that vision can change with age. An older person who doesn’t wear some corrective eyewear may be considered lucky – either that or they’ve had surgery to correct the errors in their eyes. When vision does “go,” it is thought to diminish in one of two ways: it either becomes difficult to read books and labels or to observe things at a distance becomes a challenge. If everything starts to look a little blurry in your world, it could be because you have astigmatism.
Astigmatism is in the same category of vision problems as nearsightedness and farsightedness, being considered a refractive error. The reason that vision is blurred is that light that enters the front of the eye doesn’t make it to the back of the eye as a steady stream. Somewhere along the way, in the cornea, to be specific, the stream of light gets disturbed.
The cause of disruption to light and vision is the shape of the cornea. Astigmatism sometimes indicates that the cornea is oblong rather than round. There is also a possibility that the shape of the cornea is randomly disproportionate, with irregularities occurring in an unpredictable manner. Fortunately, both regular and irregular astigmatism can be corrected. The question is how.
Treatment for Astigmatism
There are a few treatment options to consider for the correction of astigmatism. Which approach we recommend depends on the details of irregularity in the cornea. In cases of regular astigmatism, when the football shape of the cornea is predictable, laser surgery such as LASIK or PRK may be advisable. Each of these procedures refines the shape of the cornea to allow light to pass through unobstructed. If the irregularities are more random, surgery may not be indicated. In such cases, patients often need to wear a rigid contact lens to indirectly affect light passing through the eye. Finally, when there is evidence of astigmatism in conjunction with cataracts, the surgery performed to correct the clouded lens may involve the placement of a Toric IOL specifically designed to correct the refractive error.
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