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Astigmatism Astigmatism


Astigmatism is a common and treatable eye condition that occurs when there are imperfections in the curvature of the eye that causes blurring and distortion in near and far away objects. It is correctable with spectacles, contact lenses and refractive eye surgery.

People of all ages can be affected by astigmatism and it is usually accompanied with long or short sightedness.

What is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is caused by an irregular shaped eye. This affects the focus of light entering the eye which can distort the vision. The front of a ‘normal’ eye should typically be a symetrically curved shaped like a football but for those with the condition have more of a rugby ball shaped cornea, which have different curvatures in different directions. This changes the focus of light so it is not sharply focussed on the back of the eye.

Symptoms of Astigmatism

The most typical symptom of astigmatism is blurry or distorted vision. Many people who have low levels of astigmatism are asymptomatic but a significant amount of astigmatism can cause:-

  • Blurred or distorted vision
  • Double vision
  • Eyestrain or discomfort
  • Headaches
  • Squinting or ‘screwing up’ of your eyes
  • Fatigue

A routine eye exam will determine if you have astigmatism – call us to book an appointment if you have any or all of these symptoms.

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Causes of Astigmatism

Astigmatism is mostly a hereditary condition. Howeverother eye conditions can also cause the condition:

  • Genetics - there is a strong genetic link between patients and their family members where this condition is concerned. People are more likely to have an astigmatism when there is a family history of the condition.
  • Trauma, scarring, previous eye injury or previous eye surgery.
  • Eye conditions such as pterygia and keratoconus.

Treatment Options

There are a number of options available to correct astigmatism. Spectacles, toric contact lenses and refractive eye surgery are all suitable methods to correct astigmatism. Laser eye surgery (LASIK or LASEK) are effective treatments. Cataract and Lens Replacement Surgery can also correct astigmatism. Refractive eye surgery will also correct any long or short sightedness, which may be present during the time of surgery.

Astigmatism Surgery

Astigmatism surgery is done with a laser to change the shape of the cornea in two meridians and correct the irregularity. The laser surgery will also repair any long or short-sightedness, which may be present during the time of surgery. This is a speedy procedure and takes between 10-15 minutes to treat both eyes. The correction can be done on one eye immediately after the other.

It is never too early to correct astigmatism.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will astigmatism corrective surgery take?

The surgery to correct astigmatism only takes between 10-15 minutes.

What makes astigmatism a problem?

Astigmatism occurs when the eye looks like a rugby ball instead of a football. This irregular shape creates two focus points for light instead of one, thereby making the resulting image blurred.

Alongside the blurred vision, you may also experience squint, headache and fatigue as symptoms.

What is a suitable method for correcting astigmatism?

Surgeons use laser surgery to correct the shape of the eyeball so that light can rest directly on the retina for better vision. Wearing lenses (either from glasses or soft contact lenses) are also helpful in directing light to focus in the right place.

Studies show that the use of Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) lenses is more effective than the soft contact lenses since it holds the shape of the eye in place. So, when the light comes in, it hits the spherical surface instead of the natural irregular one. The downside of this method of correction is that it may be uncomfortable for some patients.

Is it helpful to use corrective lenses?

Yes. Glasses with cylindrical lenses help in adjusting the way the eye focuses on light, thereby making the patient’s vision clearer. However this solution is not permanent and without the glasses, vision will revert back to blurry and distorted. Only refractive surgery is a solution to cure astigmatism permanently.

Contact us to book an appointment.

Book A Consultation
With Ophthalmic Consultant
Book a consultation today

or call: 020 7183 3725

Dr Amir Mani - Specialist refractive surgeon

One of the most experienced refractive surgeons in London

Dr Mani has performed more than 20,000 ophthalmic procedures, including LASIK, LASEK, PRK, Femto Cataract, RLE, Lens ICL and Phakic IOL Surgery

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