Astigmatism occurs in individuals who have a cornea shaped like a football. The cornea should be shaped like a baseball in order to reflect light correctly. When it is shaped like a football there is more than one curve on the cornea, generally a steep one and a flat one. This causes light to reflect on more than one point in the retina which results in blurry vision for the patient. Frequently nearsightedness or farsightedness occur with astigmatism.
There is not necessarily a cure for astigmatism. However, there are a variety of ways to correct astigmatism that include surgery, glasses or contacts.
Surgeries used to correct astigmatism most frequently are astigmatic keratotomy and LASIK. Astigmatic keratotomy is performed by cutting a microscopic incision in the eye and reshaping the cornea. LASIK is performed by cutting a small flap in the eye and then reshaping the cornea through lasers. Although these procedures are performed somewhat differently, they are used to reshape the cornea and provide clearer vision. The object of the surgery is to make the cornea more spherical like a basketball instead of shaped like a football.
Glasses correct astigmatism by redirecting the light to the retina. This produces clearer vision for the astigmatism sufferer. Contacts work in a similar way also and are used to redirect the light. Many years ago there were only rigid gas permeable contacts available for astigmatism sufferers, but times have changed and today there are soft lenses available as well. Depending on your eye prescription and how much astigmatism you have, will affect the correction options available to you. If you suspect you have astigmatism, or know you do, talk to your optometrist about the variety of correction options and the ones that would be most effective for your vision and lifestyle.