Astigmatism is a common vision problem, nearly as common as nearsightedness and farsightedness, and often found in combination with these better-known vision issues. In the past, astigmatism has only been treatable with eyeglasses or with hard contact lenses, but in recent years additional treatments have been developed. In addition to specially designed contact lenses, LASIK eye surgery has proven to be very effective in correcting astigmatism.
Causes of Astigmatism
Like near- and farsightedness, astigmatism is the result of irregularities in the shape of the cornea. With a normally shaped cornea, light is focused on a single point, resulting in clear vision. In the case of astigmatism, though, the cornea is shaped like an oval rather than a sphere. This oval shape causes light to be focused on two separate points on the retina at the back of the eye. The result is blurry vision at all distances.
Another form of astigmatism, called lenticular astigmatism, occurs when the lens of the eye is similarly misshapen. The resulting blurry vision at all distances is very similar to those of corneal astigmatism.
In most cases, astigmatism is inherited. However, it can also occur as a result of injury to the cornea or as a side effect of certain eye diseases.
LASIK and Astigmatism
In order to correct astigmatism, LASIK eye surgery is used to alter the shape of the cornea. A very thin flap is made in the corneal tissue and the tissue beneath this flap is carefully altered by removing small portions of tissue with a cool laser. After the cornea has been successfully reshaped, the flap is set carefully back into place. This flap of tissue, though thin, helps protect the tissue beneath and enables it to heal rapidly. In most cases, the eye is almost completely healed within twenty-four hours, and improvements in vision are seen almost immediately.
In the New York City area, LASIK specialist Dr. James Kelly of Kelly Laser Center performs LASIK surgery for patients with myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. A consultation with Dr. Kelly can help you decide if LASIK is the right option for you to correct your astigmatism. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please contact New York City LASIK surgeon James Kelly, MD.