Corneas that are irregularly shaped due to trauma or genetics are known to be the cause of astigmatism. It is classified under eye refractive errors because the cornea’s shape alters the way that light rays are refracted and projected unto the eyes’ retina.
The usual symptoms of astigmatism include distortions in one’s vision, such as blurred lines. As a result, those with astigmatism usually develop headaches and eyestrain when reading for prolonged periods of time.
Those who suffer from astigmatism may choose one of two approaches: they can solve it through non-surgical methods, such as wearing corrective lenses, or via the surgical method, which requires them to undergo refractive eye surgery.
Using corrective lenses is one of the more conservative ways of dealing with astigmatism. The purpose of the corrective lenses is to counteract the effect that the irregularly shaped cornea has on the projection of light unto the retina. Corrective lenses choices, such as contact lenses and eyeglasses are most common. Another non-surgical method is to repair the shape of the cornea through ortho-K, or orthokeratology. These contact lenses are designed to change the shape of your cornea over time. Those who have this treatment are only required to wear their contact lenses at night. In time, patients can expect a gradual change in the shape of the cornea.
More radical and permanent treatment methods include refractive eye surgery, which aims to permanently alter the shape of your cornea. Different corrective eye surgeries have already been developed in order to treat astigmatism.
In the past, astigmatic keratotomy, or AK, was utilized to make incisions on the patient’s cornea so that its shape can be changed. More recently, the introduction of excimer lasers and innovative surgery techniques have paved the way for the gradual reduction of AK operations. More sophisticated and novel refractive eye surgery methods have worked to the advantage of many individuals. This significantly diminishing the risks of developing complications. Both the patients and their ophthalmologists favor more recent methods for the excellent results they produce.
Recent times have also seen the rise of the number of LASIK operations throughout the world. It is currently the most common refractive eye surgery technique to be used in treating astigmatism. During laser eye surgery, the LASIK surgeon creates a flap on the patient’s cornea and uses the flap as an entry point for the excimer laser. This laser changes the cornea’s shape. PRK is also a novel, but less utilized way of treating astigmatism. Here, the LASIK doctor doesn’t have to reach into the inner depths of your eyes to reach the cornea. Rather, only the surface is touched. Newer forms of LASIK, most notably LASEK, have grown in popularity. Here, the surgeon still places a thin cut on the cornea so that the laser can access and alter the underlying layers. This results in a less intrusive LASIK procedure.
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