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Astigmatism - Overview

Astigmatism is an eye disorder which features with not perfectly shaped cornea. Apart from misshaped cornea astigmatism may also occur due to irregularly shaped lens. If cornea is not round it causes difficulties and people cannot see things clearly. The light rays enter the eye and once they reach the cornea they scatter. This does not cause proper focusing of the light on a single point on the retina and the vision becomes distorted. There are two types of astigmatism, the regular and irregular. The irregular astigmatism is much more complex comparing to regular.

This is one of the most common vision problems. No matter what the cause is astigmatism can be diagnosed rather easily and there are several treatment modalities including eyeglasses, contact lenses and refractive surgery which are highly effective and can restore the normal eyesight. Due to surgical advances and lasers astigmatism can today be easily treated with laser eye surgery.

Laser Eye surgery for Astigmatism

LASIK or Laser Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis is the most commonly performed laser eye surgery and it can be effective in many vision disorders. The recovery time after LASIK is the shortest and rather comfortable. The very procedure lasts approximately 30 minutes and the patients do not need to be hospitalized. They go home almost immediately after the surgery.

LASIK procedure was first performed in 1995. Since, then there has been significant improvement related to laser speeds, incision techniques and computer-guided technology. Prior the procedure the doctor applies anesthesia in a form of eye drops. He/ she then lifts a lid speculum which keep the eyelids open. A small ring is attached to the eyeball. The ring restricts the movement of the eye. The surgeon makes a tiny incision in the superficial layers of the cornea. This way the middle layers of the cornea become accessible. What follows is application of the computer-guided ultraviolet laser. Fleeting pulses of light is sent into the eye and reshapes the cornea. In case of astigmatism the laser makes the cornea smoother and it becomes more regular in shape.

After the LASIK procedure the cornea flap is replaced and covered with a specific contact lens which protects from irritation. The recovery time after LASIK procedure lasts approximately a couple of days. After that the epithelium completely heals. The patients are prescribed antibiotic eye drops to prevent potential infection. The wound heals completely within a month and the vision completely stabilizes. LASIK eye surgery is very successful and carries small risk of potential complications.

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