Astigmatism is a condition of the eye in which the cornea is not shaped as perfectly as it should be. It should have a round shape to it in order to direct the light rays through it without distorting them. People with astigmatism have corneas that are shaped more like a cone than a ball. This can cause the vision to be blurred as the images that reach the retina are distorted. The retina is the section in the back of the eye onto which the images are projected. The type of astigmatism caused by an irregular-shaped cornea is called corneal astigmatism.
Astigmatism can also be caused by an irregularity in the shape of the lens in the eye. Light entering the eye must also pass through the lens, which is located behind the cornea. If it is distorted, the same end result will develop. The vision will be blurred. If the lens is the cause of the problem, it is called lenticular astigmatism.
For people who do not want to wear glasses to compensate for their blurred vision caused by their condition, astigmatism correcting intraocular lenses may be an option. These are implanted devices that are used to replace the natural lens of the eye. The most common use of them is to replace the foggy lenses that are caused by the development of cataracts. People with astigmatism who also develop cataracts may have a lens implanted to correct both conditions at the same time. Those who do not have cataracts but still want the astigmatism corrected may elect to have the procedure done for that reason.
Mild astigmatism cases are usually corrected with the use of glasses or contact lenses. The glasses are made to compensate for the imperfect refraction of the light as it passes through the eye and is displayed as an image on the retina. Severe cases may require surgery. If the surgery is done to replace a lens that may be the cause of the astigmatism, the intraocular lens simply refracts the light correctly so that the vision is clear. If one of these lenses is implanted to correct vision problems caused by an irregular-shaped cornea, the lens is made in such a way as to correct the distortion of the light so that a clear image reaches the retina.
The team at Live Oak Ophthalmology in Wilmington can easily detect the presence of astigmatism during routine eye exams. Measurements are taken of the eyeball. If astigmatism is present, these measurements will indicate the seriousness of the condition. If you suspect or have been told by another doctor that you have astigmatism, you may want to ask some questions about the degree of the disorder. You might also seek more detail about how astigmatism correcting intraocular lenses can be used to help your vision. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to learn more!