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3 Astigmatism Treatment Options You Should Know

By Amanda Vining
Reviewed by Blake Williamson, MD, and member of the Refractive Surgery Council editorial advisory board on December 17, 2020
There are several ways to treat astigmatism but you will need to see a specific type of doctor depending on which treatment.

Astigmatism is a condition where your eye isn’t completely round. As a result of having astigmatism, you may experience headaches, eyestrain, and blurry vision — especially at night. 

Luckily, astigmatism is a very easy condition to treat and there are several options available for treatment. 

Astigmatism can be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses, and refractive surgery — like LASIK. It also can be corrected during cataract surgery,” Gary Heiting, OD, an optometrist and senior editor at All About Vision tells WebMD Connect to Care. 

The type of doctor you will need to see for astigmatism treatment is dependent upon the type of treatment you want to pursue. “Both Optometrists (ODs) and Ophthalmologists (MDs) can prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses to correct astigmatism. Surgical correction like LASIK, cataract surgery, etc. is only performed by ophthalmologists” Heiting says. 

The following are the types of treatment available for astigmatism:

1. Eyeglasses

Eyeglasses are the most common form of treatment for astigmatism, and usually the first type of treatment that is tried by a patient with the condition. According to the American Optometric Association, people with astigmatism primarily choose eyeglasses to improve their vision. The eyeglasses contain a special cylindrical lens prescription that compensates for astigmatism.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology reports that the use of eyeglasses in treating astigmatism can often lead to 20/20 vision. But if the amount of astigmatism present in the eye is high, then additional treatment options may need to be explored. 

2. Contact Lenses

When contact lenses are prescribed in the treatment of astigmatism, they are typically a type called toric lenses, which are a special type of soft contact lens. 

Contact lenses can also be used in a treatment practice called orthokeratology. According to Mayo Clinic, during orthokeratology, you wear rigid contact lenses during the night while sleeping until the curvature of your eye evens out. Then you wear the lenses less frequently to maintain the new shape. If you discontinue this treatment, your eyes may return to their former shape and refractive error.

3. LASIK 

Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) can treat astigmatism by using a laser to reshape the eye’s cornea. According to the Flaum Eye Institute, it’s a common procedure that usually takes less than 30 minutes to complete and is relatively painless. As many as 96% of patients who receive LASIK achieve their desired vision after the procedure. 

LASIK is a procedure known as refractive surgery — a type of surgery designed to improve vision. According to Mayo Clinic, refractive surgery improves vision and reduces the need for eyeglasses or contact lenses. Your eye surgeon uses a laser beam to reshape the curves of the cornea, which corrects the refractive error. Before surgery, doctors will evaluate you and determine whether or not you're a good candidate for refractive surgery.

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