So what exactly is astigmatism? Contrary to popular belief, astigmatism is not a type of eye disease. Astigmatism is a refractive error, similar to nearsightedness and farsightedness. It is the result of the front surface of the eye (cornea) having an asymmetrical shape. A normal cornea’s shape should look similar to the shape of baseball or ping-pong ball. With someone who has astigmatism, their cornea would mimic a football or egg shape.
Astigmatism can develop after an eye disease, eye injury or surgery. However in many cases, people with astigmatism are simply born with it.
Chances are, you likely have astigmatism in some degree – whether or not you notice it. According to the American Optometric Association, about one in three people have astigmatism and may occur in combination with near or farsightedness. While minimal amounts of astigmatism won’t typically impact your vision, large amounts of astigmatism can cause vision distortion, blurriness, or other sight issues that affect your quality of life.
Corrective lenses, as in eyeglasses or contact lenses, can temporarily help the symptoms of astigmatism by counteracting an asymmetrical cornea. However for our patients who do not want to depend on corrective lenses or seek a permanent solution, we highly recommend iLASIK surgery.
There is a common misconception that iLASIK can’t correct astigmatism, With advancements in iLASIK technology, iLASIK can permanently and effectively correct or reduce moderate to severe astigmatism in qualified candidates.
iLASIK addresses the problems of astigmatism by reshaping the cornea to change how the eye focuses on light, allowing you to see more clearly. However, not all astigmatism patients are good candidates for iLASIK. iLASIK cannot help those with irregular astigmatism, as the result of an eye disease known as keratoconus. In order to receive iLASIK as a treatment option for your astigmatism, you must meet our qualifications for iLASIK, including being at least 18 years old with stable vision for at least a year.
To determine if you have astigmatism, you will need to schedule a comprehensive eye exam with your Seattle eye doctors at Clearview Eye & Laser. We can perform thorough to analyze the curvatures of your cornea and lens. If you’re interested in learning more about iLASIK for the treatment of your astigmatism, contact our West Seattle or Burien eye care clinic today.