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The 3 Different Types of Astigmatism

Posted by EyeSight Hawaii

does lasik fix astigmatism

Let’s talk about astigmatism—a mouthful to say, but a common vision issue that impacts millions globally. With 1 in 3 people dealing with some form of astigmatism, delving into the details of astigmatism is key for anyone serious about taking care of their eyes. 

Understanding Astigmatism

Astigmatism isn’t a disease, but a vision condition that occurs when the cornea or lens has an irregular shape. Rather than being perfectly round, like a basketball, the cornea of a person without astigmatism is more oblong, akin to a football. 

With astigmatism, the cornea has a more oval shape, which causes light to refract unevenly and results in blurred or distorted vision. In some cases, this condition is present from birth, while in others, it may develop over time. 

Causes of Astigmatism

  • Eye injury: Trauma to the eye can alter the shape of the cornea or lens, which results in astigmatism.
  • Eye surgery complications: Complications from certain eye surgeries, such as cataract surgery or corneal transplants, can contribute to the development of astigmatism.
  • Hereditary factors: Astigmatism can run in families, which suggests a genetic component to its development.
  • Keratoconus: This progressive eye condition causes the cornea to thin and bulge, which leads to astigmatism among other vision problems.
  • Eye conditions: Certain eye conditions, such as keratitis or corneal scarring, can result in astigmatism as a secondary effect.

The 3 Most Common Types of Astigmatism

1. Myopic Astigmatism

Myopic astigmatism is a combination of astigmatism and nearsightedness. This means that in addition to the blurry and distorted vision caused by the corneal irregularity, the patient will also have trouble seeing distant objects clearly. This type of astigmatism is fairly common and can result in a range of symptoms, including eye strain, headaches, and difficulty driving or navigating at night.

For patients with myopic astigmatism, corrective lenses, such as glasses or contact lenses, are commonly prescribed. The lenses will be specially crafted to correct the differing powers and axes of the patient’s astigmatism and nearsightedness. In more severe cases or where patients seek a more permanent solution, surgical options like LASIK may be considered.

2. Hyperopic Astigmatism

Hyperopic astigmatism occurs when a patient is both farsighted and has astigmatism. This condition leads to challenges with close-up vision as well as issues with distance vision. The symptoms are similar to myopic astigmatism, with the additional difficulty in focusing on nearby objects. 

Correction for hyperopic astigmatism will also involve lenses that correct both the astigmatism and farsightedness components. The level of correction required will depend on the severity of the patient’s condition. Like myopic astigmatism, hyperopic astigmatism can be addressed surgically through procedures such as LASIK.

3. Mixed Astigmatism

Mixed astigmatism is perhaps the most complex type as it combines both myopic and hyperopic astigmatism, which results in different visual disturbances for far, near, and intermediate distances. It is characterized by one meridian in the eye being farsighted and astigmatic, and the other being nearsighted with astigmatism. This duality of errors often makes vision correction more challenging, as differing corrective powers are needed in opposite meridians.

The symptoms of mixed astigmatism can be quite pronounced and may require specialized lenses for correction. Due to the complexity, it is especially important for patients with mixed astigmatism to have regular check-ups to monitor their vision and adjust their prescriptions as needed. Like other types of astigmatism, LASIK can be an option for those seeking a permanent correction.

Does LASIK Fix Astigmatism?

LASIK, or Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, is a popular and effective surgical procedure commonly used to correct refractive errors, including astigmatism. During LASIK, a laser is used to reshape the cornea, which allows light to focus more precisely on the retina and thereby improving vision.

LASIK Procedure:

  1. Anesthetic drops are applied to numb the eye, which ensures comfort during the procedure.
  2. A specialized instrument, called a microkeratome or femtosecond laser, is used to create a thin flap in the cornea.
  3. The flap is gently lifted and folded back, exposing the underlying corneal tissue.
  4. A precise excimer laser is then used to reshape the cornea based on the patient’s specific vision correction needs.
  5. Once the cornea has been reshaped to the desired degree, the corneal flap is carefully repositioned.
  6. The corneal flap acts as a natural bandage, promoting healing and protecting the treated area.

Does it Work?

So, does LASIK fix astigmatism? LASIK for astigmatism is incredibly precise; the goal is to normalize the corneal shape, which in turn corrects the trajectory of light entering the eye. This results in significantly improved vision. The procedure is a viable option for many patients, with high success rates and a relatively low risk of complications when performed by an experienced professional.

Navigating the decision to undergo LASIK can be complex. It is essential to consult with an experienced ophthalmologist to determine whether LASIK is right for you. Laser eye surgeries require a comprehensive evaluation to ensure one’s eligibility and the potential benefits of the surgery.

Improve Your Quality of Life with Eyesight Hawaii

Here at Eyesight Hawaii, we’ve seen firsthand the impact astigmatism can have on people’s lives. With over 25 years of experience under our belts, we’re not just about fixing vision—we’re about changing lives for the better. 

Unlike other LASIK centers, the doctors at EyeSight Hawaii are cornea specialists—this means that they are uniquely suited to manage and treat the cornea as it applies to astigmatism and other conditions.

So if you’re ready to explore your options for astigmatism correction, we’re here to help. Schedule a consultation with us today and let’s take that next step towards clearer vision together. Your journey to better eyesight starts here!