The most common vision complaint is astigmatism, which is usually discovered in conjunction with a diagnosis of myopia or hyperopia. While some people may be able to function adequately with astigmatism, many people have severe symptoms that require corrective action. Only a comprehensive eye exam from a qualified eye specialist can determine if astigmatism exists.
A normal cornea is shaped like a ball while one with astigmatism is shaped more like a football. This frequently causes the light to refract through the cornea to the retina with two focal points. In a regular astigmatism, the foci are 180 degrees opposite along the horizontal or vertical axis.
Irregular astigmatism, which is typically caused by outside forces, disease, or injury, may have one or more foci in various locations that are asymmetrical.
The primary cause of astigmatism is genetic disposition. In most cases, as you age, the more pronounced the astigmatism becomes. Irregular astigmatism is often induced by injury, illness, or sometimes surgery.
Some signs and symptoms may be mistaken for other vision problems like myopia or presbyopia. Only an eye exam can determine to what extent astigmatism contributes to the following symptoms:
- Eye strain
- Blurred vision
Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis or Custom LASIK surgery can be used to treat astigmatism. Dr. Huynh uses an instrument called a keratome to create a hinge on the outer surface of the cornea and using precise measurements, reshapes the stroma layer to refract the light through lens and onto the retina where the focus is optimal.
There are two categories of astigmatism:
- Corneal astigmatism – irregularities of the cornea
- Lenticular astigmatism – irregularities of the lens
LASIK surgery is used to correct corneal astigmatism, but cannot be used to treat the lenticular variety. Refractive lens exchange with intraocular lenses may be used to treat lenticular astigmatism.
Thanks to advances in laser technology, any irregularities in the cornea can be mapped using Wavefront technology. With this map, Dr. Huynh can create a custom LASIK procedure to correct the anomalies of your eyes, even if they are not symmetrical.
Because astigmatism can present some of the same symptoms as other vision problems like nearsightedness and presbyopia, only a thorough eye exam will tell if you have this problem. To find out more about astigmatism and the treatment options available, please contact Advanced Eye & Laser Center of California, Inc. to schedule an initial consultation.