Astigmatism (cont.)

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What is the treatment for astigmatism?

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Treatment for astigmatism is tailored to the underlying cause. Most astigmatism is simply corrected with glasses or contact lenses.

Soft contact lenses that correct regular astigmatism are called toric lenses. If the astigmatism correction needed is very high, or if the astigmatism is irregular, rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses may be needed. There are also specialty lenses that can correct the vision in conditions in which the corneas have both irregular astigmatism and an overall unusually steep or flat shape.

Sometimes, laser or surgery may be used to eliminate an astigmatism altogether. With irregular astigmatism, laser or surgery may help alter the cornea's shape to make the astigmatism more "regular," permitting the vision to be more easily correctable with standard glasses or contact lenses.

What are the potential complications of astigmatism?

When astigmatism is not corrected, the vision is blurred. For some adults this may be a mere inconvenience, however in a child whose visual system is still maturing, correcting astigmatism early may help prevent amblyopia (lazy eye).

If the underlying cause of the astigmatism is a corneal disease that has potential to worsen over time (such as keratoconus, pellucid marginal degeneration, post-LASIK ectasia, or other condition) careful follow-up evaluation is warranted. New treatments are being developed to better manage and possibly halt the progression of these conditions.

Can astigmatism be prevented?

Most astigmatism is not preventable. However if the astigmatism is acquired by alteration of the cornea by outside forces such as the weight of a droopy eyelid, a suture, or a scar, measures can sometimes be taken to eliminate the underlying cause, or to at least manage or control the condition.


Atebara, Neal H. Basic and Clinical Science Course 2010-2011 Section 3: Clinical Optics. 1st Edition. American Academy of Ophthalmology, 2010.

Rapuano, Christopher J. 2012-2013 Basic and Clinical Science Course, Section 13: Refractive Surgery. 2012-2013 Edition. American Academy of Ophthalmology, 2012.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/25/2013

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