Why Laser Eye Surgery is a Better Option for Astigmatism

Just as it is widely believed that perfect circles do not exist in nature, it is also true that no eye is completely spherical. In optometry terms, this means that most people, to some extent, have astigmatism. In most cases, this has no significant impact on our vision; however, in more extreme cases, treatment may be required to provide high-quality vision.

Astigmatism is defined as an abnormal curvature of the eye that causes light to focus unevenly on the retina. This can have a significant impact on everyday life, causing blurry vision and eye strain as well as headaches, eye fatigue and even double vision.

For many, this makes methods of vision correction a necessity. But, while it may be clear that you need to do something to manage your astigmatism, it is often less clear which option is right for you. Fortunately, here at London Vision Clinic, we have the knowledge and know-how to help.

Let’s take a look at the three most common vision correction treatments for astigmatism: glasses, contact lenses, and Laser Eye Surgery. Hopefully, we can help to shed some light on what may be the best option for you.

Glasses: Simple and convenient vision

For centuries, glasses have been the go-to fix for astigmatism (and many other refractory errors) – and not without good reason. Glasses are easily acquired for a low cost – glasses can even be, depending on the severity of astigmatism, free or discounted on the NHS.

Glasses are also effective, using a cylindrical lens designed to refocus light into the retina exactly where you need it. For many people, this is sufficient for improving vision and reducing symptoms of astigmatism – including headaches and eye strain.

As a permanent fix, however, glasses do have a number of drawbacks. For example, as every patient is different, some people may find that it can take some time to get their prescription right. Other people may struggle to adapt to glasses – they can be easy to lose, break, and forget; and, while the initial price of glasses may be low, the long-term cost often exceeds the cost of Laser Eye Surgery.

Contact lenses: Great way to rent invisible vision

As great as glasses can be for many, they don’t appeal to everyone. That’s why the introduction of contact lenses in the mid-20th century (they were actually first invented in 1888 but the less said about these earlier prototypes, the better) was revolutionary.

Unlike glasses, lenses were designed to become one with your eye – at least for a good portion of the day. As such, the inconvenience of losing or breaking your glasses was a thing of the past. There are various types of contact lenses, including ones designed specifically to treat astigmatism.

“Toric” lenses are soft contact lenses that have different powers in different areas, or “meridians” of the lens – unlike normal contacts which have the same power across the lens. Another option for astigmatism is rigid gas-permeable lenses (RGPs). These are hard contacts that work by maintaining their shape while sitting on the irregularly-shaped cornea. In doing so, they promote a more spherical shape and help to bend light into the eye in a more effective way.

Contacts do, however, come with their own unique set of problems. Many people may find that soft lenses rotate throughout the day, leading to discomfort. The rigidity and thickness of RGPs can cause discomfort or a strange sensation that can be difficult to adapt to. Contact lenses also require a strict hygiene routine and can increase the risk of eye infections.

Laser Eye Surgery: Own high-quality, clear vision

For many years, Laser Eye Surgery was not a suitable option for patients with astigmatism. A lack of awareness means that many still believe that this is the case – but a lot has changed.

Clinics with access to the best technology and expertise are able to treat astigmatism successfully for nearly two decades – often with just as significant results as outcomes of patients with the more common refractory errors, such as long- and short-sightedness.

Glasses and contact lenses aim to correct your vision with the introduction of an extra lens. By comparison, Laser Eye Surgery treats astigmatism at the source. The procedure involves using an incredibly precise laser to remove a tiny amount of corneal tissue. This amends the irregular curvature of the cornea, making it more spherical and effective at bending light into the eye.

Laser Eye Surgery can be an effective and -unlike glasses and contacts – permanent fix for astigmatism. Why not find out if it could work for you?

To find out if you’re a suitable candidate for Laser Eye Surgery, contact one of our friendly clinic coordinators today.