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Astigmatism is a common visual defect often caused by the asymmetrical shape of the cornea or lens. This visual disturbance can cause an uneven blur around an object or the impression of a double image. This blurred vision can be near and far at the same time depending on the case.

Astigmatism is caused by a “football” shaped cornea, i.e. more arched in one axis and flatter in the opposite axis. This then results in two different focal points in the eye, either in front or behind the retina. People with astigmatism may also see distorted images closer to the peripheries. In most cases, astigmatism is combined with another visual defect such as myopia or hyperopia.

After myopia, astigmatism is the most common visual disorder.

The signs and symptoms of astigmatism

In astigmatism, blurred near vision and blurred distance vision is a regular source of headaches. Patients with slight astigmatism may never know they have astigmatism until they have an eye exam with an optometrist. People with moderate astigmatism may see blurred lines and blurred outlines of objects. In addition, the distortion of the images may make it difficult for them to distinguish similar characters.

Sometimes a person with astigmatism who strains their eyes for long hours may also tend to squint because of fatigue.


What are the remediation options?

At the IRIS Ophthalmology Clinic, astigmatism can be corrected by ULTRALASIK surgery for the youngest and by toric intraocular lenses for people with mature presbyopia.

Astigmatism correction by corneal laser surgery will aim to spray cells on the more arched area of ​​the cornea to restore it to a symmetrical shape. In addition to being very fast, this treatment is painless and requires local anesthesia only.

For patients over 50, it is possible to correct astigmatism with a toric intraocular lens. This correction is carried out by replacing the crystalline lens, the natural lens of the eye, with a lens that compensates for the corneal asymmetry. This procedure is also painless and very quick.

In both cases, refractive surgery is a very popular and very effective way to correct astigmatism. These two surgeries offer autonomy without glasses and a quick return to the activities of daily life.

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How is astigmatism corrected?

At the IRIS Ophthalmology Clinic, astigmatism can be corrected by two types of surgery.

For the youngest, astigmatism can be corrected by corneal laser surgery. The laser is used to purge corneal cells to restore a symmetrical shape to the curvature of the cornea. The laser removes layers of corneal cells along the axis where they bulge the cornea more.

For patients with symptoms of presbyopia (often in the 50s and older), correction of astigmatism can be done through toric lenses. These lenses, when placed in the correct axis, make it possible to compensate for the asymmetry of corneal curvature.

When should astigmatism be corrected?

Most of the time, moderate astigmatism and advanced astigmatism are discovered at an early age during an eye exam with an optometrist. It is therefore important to correct astigmatism using glasses to promote the learning of reading and learning of numbers for children. Astigmatism makes it difficult to distinguish similar characters like “0” and “8”, for example, or “N” and “H”.

It is necessary to wait until adulthood to correct astigmatism through refractive surgery since sight must have stabilized beforehand.

Should you wear glasses for life when you have astigmatism?

No, if someone uses refractive surgery to correct astigmatism, it will no longer be necessary to wear glasses to see well.

Can astigmatism get worse?

Astigmatism normally progresses in infancy until sight stabilizes in the early twenties. Once sight has been stable for more than a year, a person with astigmatism can have refractive surgery to correct their visual impairment.

What happens if astigmatism is left untreated?

Astigmatism is often accompanied by a second refractive problem such as myopia or hyperopia. Astigmatism is not a disease, but an asymmetry in the curve of cornea or of the lens. If it is not corrected by refractive surgery, it results in visual discomfort, blurred vision causing headaches, fatigue and other inconveniences.

What is the best way to treat astigmatism?

The “best” way to correct astigmatism is unique to each person. However, at the IRIS Ophthalmology Clinic, we offer astigmatism correction through ULTRALASIK surgery or intraocular lenses for those who do not wish to wear glasses.