Vision issues can cause many problems, especially if they go undiagnosed. If you, or someone you know, is looking for information about astigmatism treatments in Albuquerque, NM, Southwest Eyecare is your trusted provider for all eye care services.
What Is Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is a common eye condition that causes eye blurriness due to irregular curvature in the eye. It often occurs in the outer layer of the eye, called the cornea, which helps you focus on light to see. Many individuals have astigmatism to some degree.
What Causes Astigmatism?
The cornea is a transparent dome that is curved, similar to the lens of a camera or telescope. When it is perfectly curved, it can focus light signals and refract light properly on the retina (the light-sensitive area at the back of your eye), producing clear images in the brain.
When there are subtle flaws in the refraction process, caused by imperfections in the curvature of the lens or cornea, it prevents images from focusing properly on the retina. Your brain will then perceive these mix-ups as distorted or unclear images.
Symptoms of Astigmatism
Common astigmatism symptoms include:
- Blurry or distorted vision
- Poor night vision
- Double vision in one/both eyes
During an eye exam, your eye doctor scans your eyes to measure their entire surface, using 3D imaging. They will use sections of the eye, called meridians, to help identify the high and low spots on the cornea, which generate astigmatism. The meridians look like the faces of a clock; one meridian connects the 9 on the left to 3 on the right, while the other meridian connects the 12 at the top to the 6 at the bottom.
Your eye doctor will take a measurement called a diopter to estimate how much refraction is happening within each meridian. Then they will analyze the differences between the meridians to determine the correct prescription to help produce clear vision.
Types of Astigmatism
Hyperopia (farsightedness) is difficulty focusing on objects up close. When the principal meridians are farsighted, it is diagnosed as hyperopic astigmatism.
Myopia (nearsightedness) is difficulty seeing objects at a distance. When the principal meridians are nearsighted, it is diagnosed as myopic astigmatism.
If the principal meridians are farsighted and nearsighted, it is diagnosed as mixed astigmatism.
You may also see astigmatism descriptions like the following:
When there are defects in the cornea, astigmatism may be described as corneal.
Astigmatisms may be called lenticular if there are defects in the lens.
If the principal meridians are perpendicular (90 degrees) apart, it is considered regular.
When the principal meridians are not perpendicular, they are considered irregular astigmatisms. This can sometimes be caused by injuries, scarring of the cornea, or some types of eye surgery.
Treatment for Astigmatism
Prescription lenses can be used to correct refractive errors. Regular astigmatisms can often be corrected to 20/20 vision, though some may be too severe, and irregular astigmatisms often cannot be corrected to 20/20.
There are three primary types of contacts that are used for astigmatism treatment.
- Gas permeable - rigid lenses with a uniform shape that replace the refraction effect of the cornea. They provide excellent vision correction and become more comfortable with time.
- Toric - Soft contact lenses that can have different refraction levels to align with the eye's individual meridians. They have complex designs and can be more expensive than other types of contacts.
- Hybrid - These are softer around the edges for comfort, but rigid in the center for more visual clarity, bringing the best of both types together for vision correction.
There are different types of surgery available for astigmatism treatment. LASIK surgery (high precision lasers) makes the cornea more symmetrical and can provide permanent correction for moderate cases. Eye surgeons can also implant a toric intraocular lens (IOL) to correct astigmatism.
Astigmatism Treatment in Albuquerque
If you are looking for a new ophthalmologist in Albuquerque, NM, contact Southwest Eyecare today. We would be happy to discuss your astigmatism treatment options, and we are prepared to provide individualized and compassionate care.
Image Source: SG SHOT / Shutterstock