- Astigmatism is a common vision issue caused by an irregularly-shaped cornea or lens, resulting in blurred or distorted vision.
- Astigmatism treatment options include corrective lenses, contact lenses, Ortho-K treatment, and surgical procedures such as LASIK and PRK.
- Proper eye care practices and hygiene are essential for people with astigmatism, including regular eye exams and the 20-20-20 Rule.
- LASIK reshapes the cornea with a laser, while PRK removes the cornea’s outer layer.
- Astigmatic Keratotomy (AK) uses small incisions to improve vision, while Toric IOLs are lens implants to treat astigmatism permanently.
Astigmatism is a common vision problem in which the cornea or lens of the eye is misshapen. This causes blurred or distorted vision, which can interfere with everyday activities. People with astigmatism often find it difficult to see things clearly at any distance.
As a result, it is crucial to explore treatment options to manage this condition and prevent it from worsening.
Astigmatism can have a significant impact on quality of life if left untreated. It can cause eye strain, headaches, and fatigue. Additionally, it can make it difficult to read, drive, or engage in other activities that require clear vision.
By exploring treatment options, people with astigmatism can find ways to manage their condition and improve their quality of life. Proper treatment can also prevent astigmatism from getting worse over time.
This article will explore various options for treating astigmatism and maintaining healthy eyesight.
Non-Surgical Treatment Options
In some cases, non-surgical treatment options may be sufficient to manage astigmatism. These are some non-surgical treatment options:
Corrective Lenses (Glasses)
Corrective lenses, such as glasses, are a standard treatment option for astigmatism—glasses work by correcting the refractive error in the eye caused by the misshapen cornea or lens.
The lenses are designed to restore the distortion, allowing the wearer to see clearly. Glasses are popular because they require little maintenance and offer various styles and designs.
Contact lenses are another option for treating astigmatism. Unlike glasses, contacts sit directly on the eyeball and move with it, giving the wearer a wider field of vision. Contact lenses are available in a variety of materials, including soft and rigid gas-permeable lenses.
They require more maintenance than glasses, such as proper cleaning and storage, but they can be a good option for people who find glasses uncomfortable or inconvenient.
Orthokeratology, or Ortho-K, is a treatment option that involves wearing special contact lenses that reshape the cornea overnight. During the day, the lenses are removed, leaving the cornea in a new shape that allows for clear vision without needing glasses or contacts.
Ortho-K can be a good option for people who are not good candidates for LASIK surgery or would prefer a non-surgical option.
Surgical Treatment Options
Astigmatism occurs when the cornea (the clear front cover of the eye) or the lens is irregularly shaped, causing light to focus incorrectly on the retina. Fortunately, several effective treatment options are available to correct astigmatism and improve your vision.
LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis)
LASIK is a popular surgical procedure that uses a laser to reshape the cornea and improve vision. This procedure is particularly effective for correcting astigmatism. During LASIK surgery, the surgeon creates a flap in the cornea, then uses a laser to remove a small amount of tissue, reshaping the cornea.
The flap is then put back in place to protect the healing cornea. The entire procedure usually takes about 15-20 minutes for both eyes. While LASIK has a high success rate, it’s unsuitable for everyone.
PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy)
PRK is a procedure similar to LASIK, but instead of creating a flap in the cornea, the surgeon removes the entire outer layer of the cornea (epithelium).
Then, using a laser, the surgeon reshapes the underlying cornea to correct astigmatism. PRK has a slightly longer healing time than LASIK, as the cornea’s surface layer needs to regenerate.
Moreover, PRK eliminates the risk of flap complications, which can occur with LASIK.
Astigmatic Keratotomy (AK)
Astigmatic Keratotomy (AK) is a surgical procedure using a small cornea incision to correct astigmatism. The surgeon makes one or two incisions in the steep curvature of the cornea, flattening that area and giving it a more normal shape.
This allows light to focus correctly on the retina, improving vision. AK is a less invasive procedure than LASIK or PRK, with a short recovery time.
Toric Intraocular Lenses (IOLs)
Toric intraocular lenses (IOLs) are implants used during cataract surgery to correct astigmatism. During cataract surgery, the eye’s cloudy natural lens is replaced with an artificial lens (IOL).
Toric IOLs have a unique design that compensates for the eye’s astigmatism, allowing light to focus correctly on the retina. Unlike LASIK or PRK, toric IOLs correct astigmatism permanently and don’t require any maintenance.
Proper Eye Care Practices and Hygiene
Proper eye care practices and hygiene are essential for maintaining healthy eyesight, especially for people with astigmatism. Some good habits to follow include:
Regular Eye Examinations
Regular eye exams are also crucial for people with astigmatism. An eye doctor can detect vision changes and recommend appropriate treatment options. It is recommended to schedule a comprehensive eye exam every one to two years or more frequently if there are any concerning changes in vision.
Proper Contact Lens Hygiene
If you wear contact lenses, following proper hygiene practices to prevent infections and other complications is essential. This includes cleaning and disinfecting lenses as the manufacturer recommends, replacing lenses as instructed, and avoiding wearing lenses for longer than recommended.
Protecting Your Eyes From UV Radiation
Exposure to UV radiation can increase the risk of developing cataracts, macular degeneration, and other eye conditions. Proper protection, such as wearing sunglasses or a hat that shades the eyes, can help reduce this risk.
Practicing the 20-20-20 Rule
Digital screen use has become increasingly common but can cause eye strain and fatigue. Taking regular breaks every 20 minutes to look away from the screen and focus on something at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds can help reduce eye strain and fatigue.
Astigmatism can be frustrating, but many treatment options are available to manage it and maintain healthy eyesight. Whether through non-surgical options such as glasses, contacts, or Ortho-K, or proper eye care practices and hygiene, there are many ways to reduce symptoms and prevent the condition from worsening.
People with astigmatism can continue to see clearly and enjoy their daily activities by following proper eye care practices and seeing an eye doctor regularly.