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Astigmatism is a common condition where both close-up and faraway objects appear blurry.

What causes astigmatism?

It is an eye condition that is caused by an imperfection in the shape of the cornea or lens.

The curvature means the light rays focus on multiple points, either in front or behind the retina (or both), instead of on the retina.

What are the symptoms of astigmatism?

The symptoms of astigmatism include:

  • blurred or distorted vision
  • doubling or “ghosting” of vision
  • eyestrain, headaches and fatigue
  • the need to squint to see clearly
  • difficulty driving at night.

How is astigmatism diagnosed?

Astigmatism can be picked up with a regular eye exam involving an eye test with an eye chart.

Eye exams are crucial because it is possible to have mild astigmatism and not realise it. For example, children often do not know how to differentiate their experience from healthy vision. Some adults may have minimal symptoms but can still achieve a better quality of life once their astigmatism is treated.

At Hobart Eye Surgeons, we recommend a general eye exam once every 2 years for those over 45 years old.

What are the risk factors of astigmatism?

Three risk factors can increase the chance of astigmatism in both children and adults, including:

  • genetics
  • existing refractive errors, such as myopia and hyperopia
  • other eye conditions that affect the cornea such as trauma or scarring.

How do I prevent the onset of astigmatism?

Prevention is not possible because astigmatism is primarily due to genetics and the shape of the cornea rather than external factors. However, astigmatism is generally treatable.

We recommend committing to your regular eye exams to adjust your prescriptions as necessary over time.

Laser vision correction may be possible if your prescription is stable for at least 12 months.

Make an appointment with Hobart Eye Surgeons, and we can help you achieve quality vision.

What are the long-term implications of astigmatism?

Without laser vision correction, astigmatism is a lifelong condition that can worsen over time and increase the risk of keratoconus, where the cornea becomes progressively thinner. In some cases, keratoconus may require further treatment such as a corneal transplant.

What are the treatment options for astigmatism?

Several laser vision correction procedures are available to improve or fix astigmatism.

LASIK involves creating a paper-thin flap on the cornea, under which the cornea is reshaped before the flap is repositioned. Similar to traditional LASIK, Femto-LASIK uses a second laser to create the thin flap on the cornea, resulting in higher safety and precision. Femto-LASIK is the procedure of choice for most of our patients, and now works well with topography-guided treatments for customised astigmatism correction.

Implantable Collamer Lens (ICL) and Intraocular Lens (IOL)

ICL and IOL treatments remove the lens of your eye, replacing it with an artificial lens. The artificial lens is thin, clear, tiny and soft, so it can be folded up so small and injected into your eye through a hole under your eyelid – and all within seconds. Once in place, the artificial lens unfolds into position, and there it stays, without altering any structures of your eye or needing further treatment. This correction is done as day surgery, with each eye’s procedure typically being completed on separate days.

At Hobart Eye Surgeons, we carefully assess your condition and will recommend the treatment that best suits you individually.

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