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What is astigmatism and how can you treat it?

Astigmatism, together with nearsightedness and farsightedness, is a common vision defect.

How do you determine you suffer from it and how can you correct it? We at iClinic can offer effective help for this issue.

The difference between nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism
The difference between nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism.

What is astigmatism?


Astigmatism is a common imperfection of the eye that causes irregular curvatures to your optic system, so the light rays aren’t bent evenly into one spot, which causes a blurry or deformed picture on the retina. The most common cause is a change in the curvature of your cornea, or sometimes your lens.

The truth is that astigmatism is rarely a standalone condition; usually, it occurs together with one of those refractive defects. The irregular curvature of the cornea is usually present from birth and patients with low degree of astigmatism (cylinder) may not even realize that there’s something wrong. However, if the deformation of the cornea is more severe, it becomes necessary to correct the sight with the help of special lenses, commonly known as cylinders.

Astigmatism may also develop after an eye injury, or it could be connected with gray cataract. It is not a life threatening diagnosis – it is possible to live quite comfortably with it just like with any other refractive error. You can opt for eyeglasses, contact lenses, or you can choose a more comfortable option, which is a laser eye surgery.

Take our quick test to find out if you suffer from astigmatism


Take our quick test to find out if you suffer from astigmatism
If you have a suspicion that your eyesight is not all perfect, you can take a quick test at home before you visit your eye doctor.

If you wear eyeglasses or contact lenses, put them on. Cover one eye and look at the picture. Do the same with the other eye. How do you see the lines in the circles? If all the lines are equally dark and sharp, you probably don’t have astigmatism. However, if some of them are lighter or you perceive them as blurry, it is possible your eye doctor will confirm the diagnosis of astigmatism.

Astigmatism can be diagnosed only by an eye doctor
Astigmatism can be diagnosed only by an eye doctor; do not underestimate the importance of your visit to your eye care professional.


Cylinders or toric lenses


Because the curvature of the cornea is often irregular if you have astigmatism, it is necessary to choose the right correction device. When the eye doctor diagnoses astigmatism, he will also include the amount of cylinder together with the diopter value in your prescription. Thanks to this information, your optician will be able to make you lenses that will correct both your nearsightedness (or farsightedness) and your astigmatism at the same time.

If you have been diagnosed with astigmatism and you don’t like wearing eyeglasses, you don’t have to give up on contact lenses. There are special lenses available, so called toric contact lenses developed specially for people with astigmatism that are designed to stay put in your eye regardless of any movement. Toric contacts have one side thicker than the other which makes them stay in your eye without rotating out of focus; however, some manufacturers have their own patents to address this issue.

In practice, toric lens implants, when the lens is implanted directly into the eye, are also performed. As with gray cataract, the old lens is replaced with an artificial one which then corrects the light ray as it passes through the eye and focuses on the retina, all without the need to wear eyeglasses or standard contact lenses.

A laser eye surgery will rid you of astigmatism for good


Nowadays astigmatism, as well as other refractive errors, can be treated with laser ambulatory, without the need for hospitalization. At iClinic we use all surgical procedures in accordance with the type of the vision error and the overall patient’s eyesight condition.

The safest ones, traditionally, are in-depth procedures ReLEx Smile 3D and Z-LASIK which are also completely pain-free. The irregular curvature of the cornea can also be adjusted by surface treatment; however, you have to expect some postoperative pain connected with this procedure. The advantage of laser eye surgery is that you get rid of your eye problem once and for all. This means that if you have a double refractive error (astigmatism and nearsightedness, or astigmatism and farsightedness), you will only need to undergo one procedure to get back your sharp vision.

Should you be interested in more detail about our surgical procedures, you can read more about them in our previous blogs.

 
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