Astigmatism is a type of refractive error, often found in conjunction with long-sightedness (hyperopia) or short-sightedness (myopia).
Astigmatism usually arises from an uneven curvature of the front surface of the eye known as the cornea, such that light entering through this surface is refracted and bent to fall on two slightly different points on the retina at the back of the eye. This results in blurry or distorted vision. Patients with uncorrected astigmatism may also experience:
- an increase in glare, perceiving lights as “smeared out” in a starburst pattern
- ghosting, which is the sensation of seeing a faint double image of the one object
- headaches, typically around the brow area after prolonged near work such as reading or computer use
The degree and form of astigmatism is assessed at your initial clinic assessment. This is done using a number of instruments including a corneal topographer (we use a Pentacam which is the gold standard instrument for astigmatism measurements). The Pentacam has software which can detect the nature of your astigmatism and assess if corneal refractive surgery is an option for you.
If you’ve avoided pursuing surgical options to reduce your dependency on glasses and contact lenses simply because you’ve been told you have astigmatism, LASIK surgery for astigmatism may be the answer.
For patients who are unsuitable for the LASIK procedure for any reason, there are additional options for surgical correction of astigmatism, including SMILE® surgery and intraocular contact lens procedures.