Astigmatism is a condition of the eye where the cornea (clear window in front of the eye) has 2 different curvatures (much like an American football cut in half) so that, instead of being a single focal point, there ends up being two different focal points, neither of which is in focus.

As you can imagine, this makes whatever you are looking at blurred and fuzzy like a camera out of focus. Both objects up close and far away can look blurred and fuzzy with astigmatism. Many people with astigmatism also are nearsighted or farsighted.

There are several different treatment options if you have astigmatism with or without nearsightedness or farsightedness. Various treatment options available from an eye specialist include:

1. Glasses

Glasses, by far, are one of the more popular choices when it comes to vision correction. However, not everyone likes wearing glasses. They can also be problematic if you play sports, swim, or enjoy other activities where the glasses can get in the way. You may also not like how glasses make you look, so you won’t want to wear them even though you need them.

2. Contact Lenses

Another vision correction option for astigmatism is the use of contact lenses. Contacts are a great choice if you don’t like wearing glasses. They do provide a bit more flexibility over glasses, but they have increased eye health risks.

Dry eye, conjunctivitis (pink eye), eye infections, and other such conditions tend to be more common in contact lens wearers since they have to put in and take out the contacts.

3. Laser Eye Surgery

One common question people have with astigmatism is “Am I eligible for laser eye surgery?” The answer to this question is a resounding YES! There are several different laser eye surgery options that can be used to help correct vision problems caused by astigmatism.

Laser eye surgery corrects the refractive error in the cornea so that, instead of there being two focal points, there will be only one focal point that is in focus post-surgery. Laser vision correction can be used if you have astigmatism with or without nearsightedness or farsightedness.

However, what laser eye procedures you are an ideal candidate for will vary based on your vision correction needs.

1. LASIK

One of the most popular laser corrective vision eye surgeries today is LASIK. It is well-suited for people with astigmatism, as well as those with nearsightedness or farsightedness. A laser is used to create a small flap on the cornea. The underlying cornea is then reshaped in a customized fashion to correct your vision problems, and the flap is laid back in place where it heals quickly.

2. PRK

PRK is an alternative for people who do not qualify for LASIK. In this procedure, epithelium cells on the surface of the cornea are removed. Next, the cornea is reshaped using an excimer laser, just like LASIK. Last, a “protective bandage” contact lens is placed over the cornea until the epithelium cells regrow.

3. SMILE

SMILE can also correct problems with astigmatism with or without nearsightedness. Unlike LASIK, where a flap is made, SMILE removes a small section of cornea tissue to help flatten the eye and eshape it using a femtosecond laser.

ophthalmologist pressing the button to start a modern laser for the correction of visual impairment

Unlike glasses or contacts, which just address astigmatism so you can see clearly with assistive devices, laser eye surgery is the only treatment to potentially resolve astigmatism so you no longer need glasses or contacts.

For further information about LASIK, PRK, or SMILE corrective vision surgeries or to find out what laser eye surgery would be best for you, please feel free to contact Dougherty Laser Vision at (805) 987-5300 to schedule a consultation appointment with our laser eye specialist today!

We have laser eye surgery centers in Westlake Village, Simi Valley, Encino, Camarillo, and Beverly Hills across Southern California. We offer access to the latest innovations and state-of-the-art technologies with the widest range of laser and eye surgery vision correction services.