Facts to Know About Astigmatism range from but are not limited to the Diagnosis Process and Treatment Options.
Astigmatism is one of the most prevalent eye conditions that affect millions of people around the world.
But what is astigmatism? Astigmatism is an eye condition wherein the cornea is irregularly shaped. The cornea is the transparent part of the eye that covers the front portion of the eye.
Together with the sclera (the white of your eye), it serves as a barrier against foreign bodies.
Introduction to facts to know about astigmatism
The normal cornea is round. However, for people with astigmatism, it is shaped irregularly and as a result, the eye has difficulties focusing light rays to one point and vision becomes out of focus at any distance.
This, in turn, causes blurry vision, discomfort, and headaches.
Additionally, the curvature of the cornea can change over time, resulting in an increase or decrease in astigmatism. This usually happens in adulthood and often precedes the growth of naturally occurring cataracts.
Early and correct diagnosis and treatment of astigmatism can correct and prevent this condition from worsening.
Additionally, there are many treatment options for this eye condition, including glasses and toric contact lenses for astigmatism.
Diagnosis of Astigmatism
If you have frequent headaches, experience blurred vision at any distance, fatigue, and eye strain, and need to squint to see clearly, you may already have astigmatism. You need to see a specialist immediately for a complete and proper diagnosis.
Once you have chosen your ophthalmologist, you will undergo a series of tests so that they can check your eye health.
● Visual acuity
A test wherein you are asked to read letters on a Snellen eye chart or distance chart. You will then receive a measurement regarding how well you can see at a distance.
Under this exam, the ophthalmologist will use different instruments and aim bright lights directly at your eyes as you look through several lenses. They will then determine how your eyes bend light.
● Keratometry or topography
This procedure measures the curve of your cornea. Your specialist will focus light on the cornea and measure its reflection. You have to undergo this test if you want to use contact lenses to correct your astigmatism.
These tests will help your ophthalmologist understand the different aspects of your eyes and vision and determine the prescription you need so that you can see better with your eyeglasses or contact lenses.
After your diagnosis, your ophthalmologist will discuss with you your treatment options and help you choose the best one.
Below are the usual options for correcting and improving astigmatism:
Most people with astigmatism opt for eyeglasses to see more clearly.
These eyeglasses contain a special cylindrical lens prescription that makes the light bend into your eye properly. Some parts of the lenses have additional power to compensate for and correct astigmatism.
Depending on your diagnosis, your eyeglasses can also correct the refractive error you have, such as nearsightedness or farsightedness.
Your ophthalmologist may prescribe a single-vision lens that will give you clear vision at all distances. However, if you are 40 and have presbyopia, your specialist may recommend a bifocal or progressive addition lens.
2. Contact lenses
Contact lenses provide clearer vision and a wider field of view, which is why many people prefer this treatment option over eyeglasses.
There are three types of contact lenses used for correcting astigmatism. These are:
Toric contact lenses are made with the same oxygen-permeable materials as standard lenses. However, they are designed in a way that they remain stabilized in the lens yet can still be rotated to the best position for consistently clear vision.
Toric lenses can also correct vision for people who are nearsighted and farsighted due to astigmatism.
Since they are contacts, they are more comfortable and convenient to wear than glasses.
Hybrid contacts combine the best features of toric and GP lenses. They have a wider diameter, with a firm central zone enclosed by soft material, such as hydrogel or silicone hydrogel soft lens material.
Due to its materials and design, hybrid contracts provide the comfort of soft toric lenses and the clear vision of GP lenses.
3. Orthokeratology (Ortho-K)
Orthokeratology is a non-surgical procedure where a specialist inserts a series of gas-permeable contact lenses into the eyes to reshape the cornea.
The patient wears these contact lenses overnight. While asleep, the lenses gently and gradually reshape the corneas.
In the morning, the patient removes the lenses and will be able to see clearly throughout the day without wearing glasses or other types of contacts.
The effects of ortho-K are temporary, particularly during the early stages of treatment. Patients have to wear their lenses while sleeping every night for best results.
This treatment also does not improve vision permanently. If the patient stops wearing the lenses, their vision may return to its original condition.
4. Refractive Surgery
Laser surgery is also used to change the shape of the cornea. After the procedure, you will have healthy eyes with no retina problems or corneal scars.
Laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis or LASIK is the most popular laser eye surgery. Under this procedure, the specialist will make a thin, hinged flap in your cornea. They will then use an excimer laser to sculpt the shape of the cornea.
Once done, the surgeon repositions the flap.
LASIK causes less pain than other eye surgeries. Also, most patients get back the full function of their eyes and clearer vision within a few days.
Laser-assisted subepithelial keratectomy or LASEK is another type of refractive surgery that can help you correct your astigmatism.
But instead of making a flap in the cornea, the specialist will loosen the epithelium or the cornea’s thin protective cover with special alcohol. They will then use a laser to change the shape of the cornea. Afterward, they will reposition the loosened epithelium.
Because a thinner layer is affected during the procedure, the eyes are less vulnerable to damage or injury. This surgery is also usually recommended if the patient has a thin cornea and is not suitable for LASEK.
Conclusion on the facts to know about astigmatism
Astigmatism may be a prevalent eye disorder, but the various treatment options ensure you can have clearer vision regardless of your age and the severity of your condition.
I am confident you know the most important things about astigmatism and the clever approaches to treating and managing this eye condition.
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