Astigmatism is a quite common vision problem that occurs when the cornea (the transparent layer covering the eye) is not perfectly symmetrical and causes a defect in the vision, which appears blurred. In a normal eye, the cornea is spherical like a football, equally cut in half in all its curvatures. In an astigmatic eye, the corneal curvature changes along its main axes, giving it the shape of a half-cut rugby ball. This defect manifests itself at any distance the observed subject is.
Astigmatism is generally hereditary, but sometimes it can be caused by a corneal lesion due to accidental traumas, infections or diseases such as keratoconus (which causes a gradual thinning of the cornea).
Astigmatism is measured in dioptres: from 0 to 1 dioptre we talk about mild astigmatism, up to 2 is moderate and above 2 serious.
While myopia and hyperopia are usually due to eye length anomalies, astigmatism may be associated with myopia and hyperopia, since is caused by corneal irregularity.
The main symptoms of astigmatism include:
- Perception of distorted or blurred images (near/at a distance)
- Eye pain
- Eye burning.
Symptoms vary depending on the disorder and its severity: mild cases may be asymptomatic, whereas severe cases can cause serious vision problems.
Solutions to astigmatism and the revolutionary SMILE laser procedure
Eyeglasses or contact lenses are the most common methods to correct the symptoms of astigmatism. In other cases, astigmatism can be corrected with excimer laser refractive surgery, which remodels the corneal tissue and makes the curve symmetrical in all meridians. When the vision problem is very high and if excimer laser cannot be used, the phakic lens implant can be the solution.
Vista Vision clinics in Italy, with cutting-edge laser technology, perform exclusively in the only clinics in Milan, Verona and Messina the revolutionary SMILE technique, which allows “Flapless” surgery, without the need of a corneal flap cut, thus respecting the corneal nerves and eliminating the complications of the traditional procedures. SMILE technique allows to correct astigmatism up to 5 dioptres in a few minutes.