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Astigmatism is a common eye condition affecting approximately one in three people. Under normal conditions, a person’s eye is shaped like a ball or sphere, with the light that enters through the front of the eye focused by the lens onto the coating of photo-reactive cells that line the back. However, in the case of an individual with astigmatism, the eye is not perfectly spherical and so the light is refracted unevenly by the irregular shape. As a result, only part of an image will be in focus at any one time. Astigmatism frequently occurs in eyes that have other refractive errors, such as myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness), but unlike these other conditions, astigmatism can cause objects to appear blurry and distorted at any distance.

Dr. William Segal or Dr. Marc Lay can diagnose astigmatism with a thorough eye exam. However, because astigmatism may gradually worsen over time, it is important to visit your eye doctor whenever you notice changes in your vision. Almost all degrees of “normal” astigmatism can be corrected with properly prescribed eyeglasses or specially designed toric contact lenses, which have greater light-bending power in one direction than the other. Irregular levels of astigmatism, which are far less common and generally associated with abnormal conditions affecting the cornea, such as keratoconus, are often more effectively treated with rigid gas permeable contact lenses or corneal procedures.

Astigmatism can also be permanently corrected by changing the shape of the cornea through laser eye surgery procedures, like PRK or LASIK, which can provide clear and focused vision and eliminate the need for glasses or contacts. However, there are several types of refractive surgery, and this procedure may not be right for all patients, so specific treatments need to be recommended on an individual basis. Refractive surgeries require healthy eyes that are free from retinal problems, corneal scars, and any eye disease.

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At Georgia Eye Physicians and Surgeons we’re committed to exceptional eye care for our patients and their families. We know how much the health of your eyes means for your quality of life. We’re committed to serving your complete eye care needs with the respect and care we would use in treating our own family.

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