Astigmatism (uh-STIG-muh-tiz-um) is a common, mild and generally easily treatable imperfection in the curvature of your eye. The condition can cause blurred vision.
Astigmatism occurs when the front surface of your eye (cornea) or the lens, inside your eye, has a slightly different surface curvature in one direction from the other. Instead of being even and smooth in all directions, the surface may have some areas that are flatter or steeper.
Astigmatism blurs your vision at all distances. Astigmatism is often present at birth and may occur in combination with nearsightedness or farsightedness. Often it’s not pronounced enough to require corrective action. When it is, your treatment options include corrective lenses and surgery.
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The aim of refractive surgery is to reduce a person’s dependence on glasses and contact lenses. This is achieved by treating nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and/or astigmatism.
Most refractive surgery techniques rely on altering the shape of the cornea, the transparent outer layer on the front of the eye. The cornea serves as a fixed-focus lens. As the cornea is respon- sible for about two-thirds of the eye’s focusing power, vision can be improved by permanent reshaping of the cornea. The kind of reshaping needed depends on the eye condition being treated.
Refractive surgery does not enable perfect vision for every patient. Some patients may still need weak prescription glasses or contact lenses. In some cases, results can be modified by further treatment.
Click here to view the RANZCO information sheet on Refractive Surgery.