Astigmatism can sound a bit scary, but it is actually on of the most common eye conditions. In fact, most people have it!
What is astigmatism?
Not many things are perfect in nature…ideally the front of the eye would be a perfectly round shape. Astigmatism simply means that the front of the eye is not perfectly round.
If you have astigmatism, instead of being shaped like a round soccer ball, your eye is more like an oval rugby ball. The more oval-shaped your eye is, the higher the amount of astigmatism that you have.
This can make your vision blurry; but don’t worry, it is easily fixed.
As optometrists at The Eye Practice, astigmatism is something we commonly see and treat multiple times a day. Click here to learn more about astigmatism.
Here are the top 3 astigmatism treatments:
1. Glasses for astigmatism
Glasses prescribed by an optometrist can easily correct astigmatism most of the time.
Astigmatism can make objects appear blurry at all distances (e.g. watching movies, driving, reading, using a computer). Astigmatism can cause distortions, and may even cause double vision. It does this by changing the way that light enters the eye.
Glasses counteract astigmatism by correctly focusing the light that enters the eye, giving clear vision.
Low to moderate amounts of astigmatism are very easily fixed with glasses.
Sometimes it is difficult to get clear vision with glasses because the astigmatism may be very high or irregular – this is an eye condition called keratoconus. Unfortunately, we often see patients with astigmatism that have not been given the correct prescription by other optometrists. This is probably because those optometrists do not usually see people with high amounts of astigmatism or keratoconus. At The Eye Practice, we see many people with high astigmatism and keratoconus – in fact it is something we have a special interest in. Often, this enables us to measure a more accurate glasses prescription, giving patients better vision than they’ve ever had before.
Glasses are a great option for people with astigmatism, however sometimes contact lenses can be even better.
2. Contact lenses for astigmatism
At The Eye Practice, sometimes we see patients that have been told by other optometrists that they are unsuitable for contact lenses because they have astigmatism.
This is not true!
There are so many new contact lenses that can give people with astigmatism great vision, no matter how bad their astigmatism is.
Patient’s are also often worried that contact lenses will be very uncomfortable or hurt their eyes. Again, that is not true.
Unfortunately, we commonly hear people say that they have tried hard lenses in the past, and they were so uncomfortable that the experience scared them away from ever trying contact lenses again.
In our experience, this is usually because the wrong type of lenses were given.
Sometimes optometrists have about 1-5 different types of lenses that they use for astigmatism. At The Eye Practice, we select from about 50 different types, from all around the world.
These include disposable soft contact lenses, customised soft contact lenses, hybrid contact lenses (soft and hard combination), mini rigid gas permeable contact lenses and scleral contact lenses. Whether the contact lenses will be successful depends on the type of lens used and the experience of the optometrist.
Even in the most hard-to-fit cases, we can find a contact lens that works.
Here at The Eye Practice, we are the first in Australia to use new sMap technology – a sophisticated imaging device that allows a 3D scan of the front of the eye to be created. Eyes are like fingerprints, and the sMap scan provides the most customised contact lens on the market.
3. Laser eye surgery
Laser eye surgery can correct most types of astigmatism. There are different types of laser eye surgery available, including LASIK, SMILE and ASLA or PRK.
Astigmatism up to about 4.00 Dioptres can usually be corrected, and sometimes higher amounts can also be successfully treated. The ophthalmologist performing the surgery will be able to advise on whether a good result can be achieved, and also discuss the pros and cons of the different types of surgery available.
At The Eye Practice, we commonly advise patients on whether or not they are suitable for laser eye surgery. If suitable, we can arrange a referral to a trusted laser eye surgeon.
Astigmatism is not so bad after all!
With this many treatment options available, it is definitely possible to enjoy clear vision.