Astigmatism: What is it? Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

It is a disease that is characterized by presenting a kind of unusual curvature in the area of ​​the cornea.

Many diseases of the eyes do not usually alter the structure of the optic nerve. But the case of astigmatism is not like that.

Normally this area of ​​the cornea is spherical, but in the case of astigmatism disease, instead of being spherical, it takes the form of a soccer ball, which makes it difficult to see distant or nearby objects.

According to some studies, the number of people suffering from an eye-related disease has grown dramatically.

In fact, many people are astigmatic in addition to being also myopic and even, but very isolated cases, hyperopic. However, astigmatism may also be the only refractive error that these people suffer.

Causes

The medical community according to their studies in cases of many patients, has determined that astigmatism is largely an eye disease that is inherited, that is, it is congenital in nature.

However, it can also be acquired, how? For example, when a person suffers an injury in the area of ​​the cornea is by accident, by application of some eye surgery, but also by a particular disease.

Now, there are certain myths about what causes astigmatism, which must be ruled out sharply. Well, with the advent of technological devices, in which people spend hours visualizing them, has come to believe that is a reason to develop this disease, when the truth is that it is totally false.

Astigmatism is inherited or acquired due to injury, illness or surgery on the cornea.

symptom

The symptoms of astigmatism can be very similar to other diseases that affect the eyes. In general, the person suffering from this disease experiences blurred vision due to the curving of the cornea. It also develops, particular headaches that result in fatigue of the vision or the symptom of tired eyesight.

All these symptoms make the person have to constantly squint their eyes to have a better view of things.

But, however, as we said at the beginning, such symptoms could be indicative of other diseases. Therefore, as soon as a similar symptom picture is presented, it is advisable to go to the ophthalmologist .

Treatment for astigmatism

Astigmatism is basically treated in two ways. The first one is well known to all of us since it implies its correction through the use of lenses or glasses previously recommended by an optometrist.

The second, is more modern since it involves laser surgery (LASIK), however, it should be noted that laser surgery is recommended only in very serious cases that could eventually trigger a corneal ulcer.

How can we correct astigmatism through laser surgery?

Medical science is taking giant steps in the field of technologies, developing devices that help not only diagnose a disease more efficiently but also treat it to eradicate it permanently.

The field of optometry and ophthalmology are no exception. Well, in the sun today it is possible to treat injuries, congenital diseases or accidents related to the eyes efficiently. Such is the case of the use of lasers. Let’s see.

To correct astigmatism through laser surgery, doctors must reshape the cornea to restore its sphericity, this, say, in the ultimate function of this surgical intervention. However, astigmatism can be regular or irregular.

In this last case, it can not be corrected with a LASIK treatment, but with a PRK.

LASIK treatment of corneal astigmatism after corneal transplant

We see the procedure, result and conclusions of a series of studies done with patients who suffered astigmatism to whom a cornea transplant was applied.

Patients and method

This is a retrospective, non-comparative, monocentric study performed in a series of 14 grafted eyes.

The comparison factors studied before and after the operation were visual acuity, objective refraction, ocular tone, biomicroscopy, videokeratography determining the regularity or irregularity of astigmatism, corneal thickness, and patient subjective satisfaction.

Results

Refractive stability was obtained within six months postoperatively for 93% of patients (13/14). The uncorrected mean visual acuity increased from 0.16 to 0.4; 14.3% of the patients (2/14) had retreatment in the absence of visual acuity improvement.

Thirty-five percent of patients did not have postoperative correction. The keratometry showed a clear regression of the astigmatism: 65% more than 5 D before the operation and 82% less than 2 D after the operation. Only 14.3% of patients (2/14) said they were not satisfied with the result.

No complications were identified in this study.

conclusion

LASIK appears as an interesting option in the treatment of residual astigmatism after corneal transplantation.

This study, whose originality is to perform laser cutting and treatment at the same time, shows the efficiency and safety of this technique. However, it still depends on the operator and especially the available equipment (laser, microkeratome, aberrometry).