What Is Astigmatism? How Can I Fix It?

woman wearing glasses posing for picture

Understand This Common Eye Issue and How Laser Vision Correction Surgery Can Help

When we experience uncomfortable symptoms, our first reaction isn’t to call a doctor or nurse. We usually head to Google to diagnose ourselves – with varying results.

If you’ve been experiencing certain forms of eye and vision discomfort and difficulties, you may have come across this word during a search: astigmatism.

Although it sounds unfamiliar and perhaps even scary, you don’t have to be worried. Even if astigmatism is the cause of your vision challenges, it is an extremely common vision problem. At least one in three people in the U.S. have astigmatism.

What’s more, astigmatism can be corrected by a leading team for laser vision correction near you. Keep reading to find out more about astigmatism and how you can fix it.

What Is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism occurs when the shape of your cornea is curved differently than the typical eye shape. The typical eye is shaped more like a sphere, but eyes with astigmatism may be shaped more like an egg.

Astigmatism can affect one or both eyes. When both eyes or a single eye have astigmatism, the difference in shape prevents them from working together to form a single image. Some people are born with astigmatism and others may develop this condition because of a disease or injury to the eye.

Astigmatism causes blurred vision, along with the following symptoms:

  • Distorted vision
  • Eye strain and fatigue
  • Squinting
  • Headaches
  • Trouble seeing at night, especially in traffic, due to glare

However, keep in mind that there are other conditions that cause similar symptoms, so it is important to check with an ophthalmologist, or eye doctor, for an accurate diagnosis.

How Can You Correct Astigmatism?

An eye doctor can conduct an exam to determine whether one of your eye lenses or corneas have astigmatism. Typically, doctors then recommend one of the following options:

  1. Glasses to change the way light enters your eye
  2. Contacts to change the shape of your eye
  3. Vision correction surgery

Each of these solutions has its benefits and downsides:

  • Pros and cons of glasses: Although glasses can relieve your astigmatism symptoms and allow you to pursue a look that some find fashionable, glasses also have many undesirable qualities.

    They can break easily, create additional long-term costs, and limit your activity, including recreational activities. It is also important to note that glasses are not a permanent solution to astigmatism.

  • Pros and cons of contacts: Contacts can help improve your vision, but standard soft contact lenses do not permanently correct astigmatism. Instead, specialized rigid contact lenses are necessary for correction. However, this solution is also not permanent. If you stop wearing your lenses, the shape of your cornea or lens that caused the astigmatism will resume its former shape.

    Many people dislike contacts because of the labor associated with putting them in and taking them out each night, trouble with irritation and eye redness, the risk of infection, and cost.

Contacts and glasses both cause concern for patients because of the costs and limitations associated with them. However, laser eye surgery to correct your vision, including astigmatism, does not have these downsides.

Does Vision Correction Surgery Fix Astigmatism?

Several laser vision correction procedures can correct astigmatism and provide additional value because of the many benefits associated with laser vision surgery.

These three common laser eye surgeries correct astigmatism, along with several other vision-related errors.

  1. LASIK: This procedure treats nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.
  2. Refractive lens exchange (RLE): Typically performed on patients over the age of 40, RLE treats the vision changes that are associated with aging, along with nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism
  3. Refractive cataract surgery: Cataracts (the clouding of the lens) often occurs in patients over 60 years of age. Cataract surgery removes cataracts, while also correcting astigmatism, nearsightedness, and farsightedness. You also may not need your bifocals or reading glasses after cataract surgery.

When you choose a superior team for laser vision correction near you, you get even more benefits beyond just correcting astigmatism:

  • An affordable one-time cost of laser surgery, opposed to the greater cost of glasses or contacts over a lifetime.
  • More flexibility with regard to your activities, including swimming, working out, and more.
  • Fewer hassles with eye infections, redness, and irritation.
  • No more time-consuming tasks, including putting in and taking out contacts every day and night, or frequently cleaning your glasses.
  • The elimination of glare caused by astigmatism, especially at night while you’re driving.
  • And many more reasons to avoid glasses or contacts in favor of laser eye surgery.

Opting for surgery to correct your vision removes your worries about the lifetime of costs associated with glasses and contacts, and all the other frustrations that come with these supposed solutions.

Learn more about laser eye surgery to correct your vision by exploring other articles on the subject, beginning with this piece on strategies to make LASIK as affordable as possible.