Astigmatic patients are diagnosed as such because their corneas possess an oblong shape rather than a rounded one. Astigmatic patients experience blurred vision because light rays are refracted improperly from the odd-shaped cornea.
With astigmatism, the problem is not with light focusing in front or behind the retina, but rather in two places on the retina. Astigmatism causes light to enter the eye and focus on to different points on the retina, causing blurred vision, no matter where the object is located.
Astigmatism can also accompany hyperopia (farsightedness) or myopia (nearsightedness). Astigmatism is a refractive error that used to be corrected with glasses or contacts, but now can also be corrected with laser vision correction.
Astigmatism can cause more than blurred vision at all distances; it can also produce headaches and eye fatigue from straining and stressing one’s eyes, trying to focus on objects.
If a patient has astigmatism, laser vision correction can be performed in order to provide him or her with vision that will focus objects correctly at all distances.
Depending on the level of astigmatism from which an individual suffers, one’s ophthalmologist can determine whether LASIK, PRK, or Epi-LASIK is the best form of laser vision correction. Limbal relaxing incisions or corneal incisions in the steepest axis of the astigmatism can also be used to reduce or eliminate this condition.
No matter what laser vision correction is performed, the process is generally similar in all three. The eye surgeon either gently removes or creates a flap of corneal tissue. Then, they use a VISX laser to reshape the cornea, which allows light to focus correctly on the retina.
After a patient’s laser vision correction procedure, they will be able to see immediately but the vision will be blurred at first. Many times, glasses or contacts are not needed after laser vision correction, or they are needed only for reading or driving at night.