Laser Eye Surgery for Astigmatism

In the later stages of his life, Charles Darwin once wrote to a friend, “The eye to this day gives me a cold shudder”. Even himself, the father of the theory of evolution, had doubts to whether an organ as complex as the human eye could have arisen through the process of natural selection.

But it’s even more unlikely it didn’t. And so Darwin came to the conclusion it must have developed over hundreds of millions of years. Today, experts believe it can be traced back to a single and shared origin with all the weird and wonderful eyes of the natural world.

Darwin’s doubts lay in the intricate and beautiful construction of the eye — from the way the iris adjusts the amount of light that enters to how the lens is perfectly positioned to focus light directly onto the retina.

But at only two centimetres in diameter and with over two million moving parts, it only takes one component to be a fraction of a millimetre out of place to cause a problem. And as much of its effectiveness relies on its spherical design, any irregularities in its shape can disrupt whole fields of vision.

Adjusting the eye to its natural shape

Astigmatism is a common visual condition that occurs due to irregularities in the shape of the cornea or lens. Compared to a normal eye, an astigmatic eye is more conical than spherical, or more rugby ball shaped than football.

Many people have a slight amount of astigmatism but don’t realise it. It’s only when the shape is so irregular that it prevents light from focusing properly on the retina that we experience problems in our vision.

If you suffer from astigmatism, you likely inherited it from your parents or got it from an injury or disease. Whether you have it in both or just one eye, you’ll no doubt be familiar with blurred small print, eyestrain, the inability to see both near and far without squinting, headaches, and fatigue.

The treatment of astigmatism is similar to that of short and long-sightedness. With modern laser eye surgery technology and the knowledge of expert surgeons, it has been possible to treat astigmatism for  many years.

Laser Eye Surgery changes the curvature of the cornea to make it either flatter or steeper and function more like a typical eye. By making the cornea a more spherical shape, it allows light to enter the eye at the right angle and focus properly on the retina.

Today, the treatment is even an option for people with particularly high astigmatism. In the video below we hear from Isabella, a previous patient of the London Vision Clinic who was shortsighted and had a lot of astigmatism.

The human eye is an incredibly sophisticated organ, and sometimes it needs a little helping hand to do its job properly. Find out more about Laser Eye Surgery for astigmatism by leaving us a comment or contacting our friendly Patient Care Coordinators today.