What is Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is a common vision problem – so common that as many as one-third of all people might suffer from it to varying degrees. In fact, some people with small amounts of astigmatism might not experience a noticeable effect on the clarity of their vision.
Astigmatism is a vision problem caused when the clear front cover of the eye (the cornea) is shaped irregularly. Because of this, a person isn’t able to focus light clearly as it enters the eye. The cornea is supposed to be round in shape, like the top of a globe; people with astigmatism have corneas that are egg shaped – imagine half a football instead of a baseball. When they look at something, light entering the eye bends unequally, resulting in blurriness or vision distortion.
LASIK eye surgery for astigmatism correction can be an option for someone who suffers from mild or moderate astigmatism. Astigmatism correction offers a number of benefits – not only is vision impacted, but people with astigmatism frequently suffer from eyestrain and headaches as well. These, too, can often be relieved once the astigmatism has been treated.
LASIK and Astigmatism
Laser eye surgery for astigmatism alters the curvature of the cornea. By re-shaping the cornea into a more spherical shape with LASIK surgery, astigmatism’s refractive error is resolved when the front surface of the eye becomes more symmetrical. This astigmatism correction then allows light to properly come through the cornea to the back of the eye and focus on images more clearly.
Astigmatism may occur in one or both eyes; only the affected eye needs to be treated with LASIK surgery. Due to the irregular eye shape in people with astigmatism, light hits the eye at multiple points (it should be just a single point). This sends mixed signals to the brain, resulting in blurry vision. Astigmatism correction is achieved when laser eye surgery reshapes the inner layer of the cornea, which then allows light entering the eye to come to a single focus on the inner layer of the eye (retina).
Symptoms of Astigmatism
- Blurry or distorted vision
- Difficulty seeing at night or in low light conditions
- Eye strain or fatigue
Astigmatism can cause a variety of symptoms, depending on the severity of the condition. Here are some of the most common symptoms: Blurry or distorted vision: This is the hallmark symptom of astigmatism. Objects may appear stretched out or skewed, and lines may appear wavy or crooked. Difficulty seeing at night or in low light conditions: Astigmatism can make it harder to see in dimly lit environments. Eye strain or fatigue: Because astigmatism can make it harder for the eyes to focus properly, it can lead to eye strain and fatigue, especially after prolonged periods of reading, writing, or computer use. Headaches: Some people with astigmatism may experience headaches, especially if their vision is not corrected with glasses or contact lenses.
Causes of Astigmatism
- Genetics: Astigmatism can run in families and may be inherited.
- Eye injury or trauma: A serious injury to the eye can cause astigmatism.
- Eye surgery: Certain types of eye surgery can cause astigmatism.
- Corneal disease: Certain conditions that affect the cornea, such as keratoconus, can cause astigmatism
Genetics: As with many other eye conditions, astigmatism can be inherited from your parents. If you have a family history of astigmatism, you may be more likely to develop it yourself. Eye injury or trauma: A serious injury to the eye, such as a blunt force trauma or a penetrating injury, can cause changes to the shape of the cornea and lead to astigmatism. Eye surgery: Certain types of eye surgery, such as cataract surgery or corneal transplant surgery, can cause astigmatism as a side effect. Corneal disease: Certain conditions that affect the cornea, such as keratoconus (a progressive thinning of the cornea), can cause astigmatism.
Benefits of LASIK for Astigmatism
- Improved vision: LASIK can correct astigmatism and improve visual acuity.
- Reduced dependence on glasses or contact lenses: Many patients find that they no longer need glasses or contacts after LASIK surgery.
- Faster recovery time: Most patients are able to return to normal activities within a few days after LASIK surgery.
- Reduced symptoms: LASIK can help reduce symptoms associated with astigmatism, such as eye strain and headaches.
Cost of LASIK for Astigmatism
The cost of LASIK for astigmatism can vary depending on several factors, such as the surgeon’s experience and reputation, the location of the practice, and the specific technology used during the procedure. On average, the cost of LASIK for astigmatism ranges from $1,999 to $4,000 per eye.
LASIK surgery for astigmatism correction can be a safe and effective option for those who want to reduce their dependence on glasses or contacts. If you are interested in LASIK for astigmatism correction, schedule a consultation with our experienced ophthalmologist to determine if the procedure is right for you.