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Astigmatism

ASTIGMATISM

Blurred or Distorted Vision
Caused by an Irregularly Shaped Cornea or Lens

Astigmatism is a common eye condition most often caused by a misshaped or irregular cornea. It is a refractive error that results in blurred or distorted vision. In most cases, astigmatism is correctable with eye glasses, contact lenses or refractive surgery.

ASTIGMATISM

Blurred or Distorted Vision
Caused by an Irregularly Shaped Cornea or Lens

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 Normal Vision Blurred distorted vision with Astigmatism
Normal72 Astigcornea72

With astigmatism, light rays are bent improperly and are focused at several points on the retina. Some areas of vision may be clear, while others may be blurry or distorted.

Astigmatism is most often caused by a defect in the curvature of the cornea but may also occur from an unequal bending of light by the lens inside the eye. Astigmatism is usually inherited and may be present at birth. Astigmatism can occur in conjunction with nearsightedness or farsightedness and usually remains unchanged through life.

Astigmatism can also result from corneal scars or surgery. An eye injurymay cause the cornea to scar, changing the path of light as it enters the eye. Some patients experience surgically induced astigmatism after eye surgery. Tightly tied sutures can cause a slight wrinkling of the cornea. The patient will experience distorted vision or astigmatism until healing or loosening of the sutures relieves the problem.

How is astigmatism treated?

A small amount of astigmatism is common and does not need correction. However, in cases where the problem is more significant, glasses, contact lenses or refractive surgery are used to correct vision. To correct astigmatism, glasses or contact lenses are ground to neutralize the defective curvature of the cornea. Hard or gas permeable contact lenses generally improve astigmatism better than soft contact lenses. In some cases, however, soft contact lenses may be helpful.

Astigmatism can also be corrected with refractive surgery. Astigmatic keratotomy (AK), corneal transplantation and laser surgery are procedures used to correct the path of light as it enters the eye. The cornea is reshaped to allow light to focus properly on the retina. With refractive surgery, the eye regains its proper focusing ability and astigmatism is corrected.

 

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