What is Astigmatism? This is a common question for patients considering refractive eye surgery. According to the American Optometric Association the definition of astigmatism is as follows:
Astigmatism is a condition that causes blurred vision due either to the irregular shape of the cornea, the clear front cover of the eye, or sometimes the curvature of the lens inside the eye. An irregular shaped cornea or lens prevents light from focusing properly on the retina, the light sensitive surface at the back of the eye. As a result, vision becomes blurred at any distance.
Astigmatism is a very common vision condition. Most people have some degree of astigmatism. Slight amounts of astigmatism usually don’t affect vision and don’t require treatment. However, larger amounts cause distorted or blurred vision, eye discomfort and headaches.
Most astigmatism is correctable by refractive surgery. An evaluation of your eyes will be performed to determine if you are a candidate for LASIK or PRK. Dr. Holzman will determine the type and severity of your astigmatism, as well as look at your overall eye health to determine if you are a good candidate for LASIK or PRK.
LASIK and PRK surgery reshape the cornea to resemble a more spherical curve. When the eye is shaped in a spherical curve it allows light rays to focus images efficiently, which in turn lead to clearer vision. Astigmatism is just another aberration or refractive error just like being nearsighted or farsighted. Not all patients who are nearsighted or farsighted are good candidates for LASIK or PRK, the same holds true for patients with astigmatism. That is why it is so important to have the patient stop wearing their contact lenses at least two weeks prior to getting a thorough eye examination. The contact lenses reshape the curvature of the eye so we need to have your eyes in there natural shape.