Astigmatism does not always require glasses.
More Info: Astigmatism refers to an abnormal, elliptical shaping of the front surface of the human eye, or cornea. Although it is part of the larger group of eye conditions known as refractive errors, a category that includes the more commonly known ailments of nearsightedness and farsightedness, astigmatism is neither a disease nor a certain cause of vision problems.
Only in cases where the curvature of the cornea is severe enough to prevent the human eye from focusing in on light rays will corrective lenses possibly be required. Unlike nearsightedness or farsightedness, someone with severe astigmatism will experience distorted or blurred vision at both close and long range. They may also suffer from headaches, fatigue and other discomfort as a result of the abnormal curvature.
Astigmatism is hereditary, and usually occurs in tandem with another condition such as nearsightedness or farsightedness. Any eye exam that includes a standard refraction test can detect the degree of a person’s astigmatism.
Astigmatism is among a number of conditions that can now be corrected through LASIK surgery, a.k.a. Laser-Assisted In-Situ Keratomileusis. The first step involves the creation of a thin flap near the surface of the cornea. The use of a laser allows the flap to be created with a much higher level of precision than previous techniques involving a microkeratome.
Once the flap is created, the LASIK surgery then reshapes the cornea into more of a perfect, circular shape. Once the cornea has been remolded, the flap is placed on top of the cornea to complete the corrective procedure.
Even though LASIK is a relatively new medical science, the Food and Drug Administration already has a long list of recommended guidelines for prospective patients. These include a very handy list of FDA approved LASIK lasers, as well as guidelines that are advisable for younger age patients. Ultimately, astigmatism is a relatively common, very minor and entirely treatable eye condition.
University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center – Astigmatism, Retrieved January 26, 2011 from http://www.kellogg.umich.edu/patientcare/conditions/astigmatism.html
University of Maryland – Astigmatism, Retrieved January 26, 2011 from http://www.umm.edu/ency/article/001015all.htm
UC San Diego – LASIK Surgery, Retrieved January 26, 2011 from http://health.ucsd.edu/specialties/eyes/visioncorrection/lasik.htm
U.S. Food and Drug Administration – LASIK, Retrieved January 26, 2011 from http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ProductsandMedicalProcedures/SurgeryandLifeSupport/LASIK/default.htm