Vision Correction Options for Astigmatism
Approximately one third of Americans suffer from astigmatism, which is a refractive error caused by irregular curvature of the cornea. Whereas a normal cornea is spherical, the cornea of someone with astigmatism is shaped somewhat like a football. This refractive error makes the eye unable to focus properly and distorts vision.
The goal of Astigmatic Keratotomy (AK) is to reduce astigmatism by re-shaping the cornea with a series of incisions. It can be performed alone or in combination with other refractive surgical procedures to improve a wider range of vision problems. In Las Vegas, the vision correction experts at Westfield Eye Center can help you to determine if you are a good candidate for AK.
If you would like to learn more about AK, click here to request a consultation online with a qualified eye doctor in Las Vegas.
Treating Astigmatism with Astigmatic Keratotomy (AK)
In cases of astigmatism, the cornea is more curved in one direction than the other. This deformity in the shape of the cornea results in blurry and distorted vision. To correct the misshapen cornea, your ophthalmologist in Las Vegas will utilize a precision diamond scalpel to make incisions on the cornea in a curved pattern. These incisions are carefully placed on the steepest part of the curvature, causing it to relax and become more spherical, like a normal cornea.
First, your eyes will be measured to determine the precise placement of incisions for optimal vision correction. At the time of surgery, your eyes will be numbed with anesthetic drops, and markers will be placed in the cornea to indicate where incisions will be made. Then, the doctor will make the incisions, followed by the application of antibiotic drops to fend off infection. The entire procedure should not take more than 10 minutes per eye.
Recovery and Results
Most patients can return to normal activities within 2 days of surgery. Your eye doctor at Westfield Eye Center will advise you on what to expect in terms of vision improvement, but most people see results within 2 weeks. In some cases, noticeable improvement may take longer to develop, or patients may experience fluctuations in vision during the first few months following surgery.
Although at our practice in Las Vegas LASIK surgery has largely replaced AK for correction of astigmatism, AK is still an effective option for certain patients. The best candidates are those with a mild to moderate degree of astigmatism, and who have not had prior significant eye problems, and have had a stable corrective lens prescription for at least a year.
Treating Astigmatism With a Toric Intraocular Lens
For patients who are ready to have cataract surgery, an implantable lens makes it possible to treat the cataract and correct the corneal astigmatism at the same time. Surgery to treat cataracts is an outpatient procedure where the surgeon will remove the clouded natural lens and replace it with a monofocal artificial intraocular lens. If the patient has astigmatism, he or she may still experience blurred and distorted vision because a standard IOL cannot correct corneal astigmatism. The patient may still require eyeglasses, contact lenses or further surgery.
The AcrySof® Toric lens is a foldable, single piece lens that is designed to reduce or eliminate corneal astigmatism and significantly improve uncorrected distance vision. The Acrysof® Toric lens provides significantly improved distance and may remove the need for corrective lenses.
To find out which astigmatism correction is the right choice for you, click here to request a consultation online with a well-qualified ophthalmologist at Westfield Eye Center. Or, you may call our office at 702-362-EYES (3937) to schedule an appointment.