The conservative method of treating astigmatism is via the use of corrective lenses. These corrective lenses are able to counteract the irregular shape of your cornea. Corrective lenses include the use of eyeglasses and contact lenses. Another procedure, known as orthokeratology or ortho-K, makes use of contact lenses to change the shape of your cornea. Ortho-K requires you to use the contact lenses only at night. By doing this, the shape of your cornea gradually changes.
Refractive eye surgery is used in the permanent treatment. It changes the shape of your eye permanently. There are several kinds of corrective eye surgery that can be used in the treatment of astigmatism.
Previously, a procedure known as astigmatic keratotomy, or AK, was used to cut the patient’s cornea in order to change its shape. However, with the advent of excimer lasers and novel refractive eye surgery techniques, the use of AK has diminished significantly. Newer refractive eye surgery techniques have been able to decrease the risk of complications and have produced better results, making them more favorable for both ophthalmologists and patients.
Nowadays, LASIK is the most common refractive eye surgery used in the treatment. LASIK involves creating a corneal flap and using an excimer laser to alter the shape of your eye’s cornea. Another refractive eye surgery used in treating astigmatism is PRK, wherein only the surface of your eye is ablated. However, PRK is not as commonly used anymore. One of the newer kinds of refractive eye surgery is LASEK, wherein a thin layer of the cornea is opened so that the laser can ablate the layers underneath.