Like near-sightedness and far-sightedness, astigmatism causes vision to be blurry due to an imperfection in the shape of your cornea. However, unlike near-sightedness and far-sightedness, astigmatism causes blurriness at both near vision and distance vision. A cornea is ideally shaped like a basketball cut in half. With astigmatism, the cornea is shaped like a football or an egg cut in half – more oblong than round.
Most individuals correct astigmatism with prescription glasses or contact lenses. Over the years, contact lenses have improved in their ability to correct astigmatism and the type of contact lens that is typically used to that treat astigmatism are called toric lenses.
For people with astigmatism who want independence from glasses or contacts, laser vision correction or LASIK is also an option. In addition, for those who have cataracts, now astigmatism can even be remedied during cataract surgery either using the laser or a special lens implant.
Ophthalmologist Thomas Henderson, M.D. explains, “We have worked at reducing astigmatism during cataract surgery for the last 10 years, first with manual corneal incisions that were reasonably effective, then with toric intraocular lenses that were significantly better. We are currently using the precision of laser cataract surgery to improve our management of astigmatism and we are just on the verge of acquiring new technology to significantly improve upon those results by using computer guided imaging for even more exact placement of corneal incisions and alignment of the toric intraocular lens.”