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Types of Astigmatism And How They Can Be Corrected

Astigmatism is a type of refractive error characterized by an irregularly shaped or non-spherical cornea, the outer front surface of the eye. Although this condition may sound concerning, it’s relatively common, affecting approximately 1 in 3 individuals around the world.

Additionally, astigmatism doesn’t affect the health of the eye, but rather how the eye focuses light onto the retina.

A perfectly spherical cornea refracts all the light entering the eye with the same focusing power, so there is one focal point within the eye. An astigmatic eye, on the other hand, has two different refracting powers of light, so there are two focal points within the eye that affects visual clarity.

Most people with astigmatism also have other refractive errors, like myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness).

The hallmark symptoms of astigmatism are:

  • Blurred vision (both near and far distances)
  • Difficulty with night vision
  • Irritated eyes
  • Frequent eye strain
  • Headaches

There are 3 types of astigmatism and several ways to correct this refractive problem.

Types of Astigmatism

The 3 main classifications of astigmatism are based on the principal meridian of each eye. Think of the eye’s meridian as a plane or axis of the eye — for example, the horizontal meridian and vertical meridian.

When the horizontal axis is steeper than the vertical, it creates a stronger focusing power in the horizontal meridian. The difference in the focusing powers results in two different focal points on the retina and the blurry vision associated with astigmatism.

1. Myopic Astigmatism

When one or both of the eye’s principal meridians is myopic (focuses light in front of the retina), the result is myopic astigmatism. There are 2 subdivisions of myopic astigmatism:

  • Simple myopic astigmatism: when incoming light creates 2 focal points — one in front of the retina and one in the correct position — directly on the retina.
  • Compound myopic astigmatism: when the 2 focal points are both in front of the retina, and in separate locations.

Examples of this type of astigmatism as they appear on the optometrist’s prescription are plano /-2.00 x 180 or -2.25 / -1.00 x 90.

2. Hyperopic Astigmatism

Hyperopic astigmatism occurs when both or one principal meridian is farsighted (focuses light behind the retina).

This type of astigmatism is also divided into 2 types:

  • Simple hyperopic astigmatism: when one focal point lands correctly and directly on the retina, and another virtual focal point sits beyond the retina.
  • Compound hyperopic astigmatism: when both focal points are 2 separate virtual locations behind the retina.

Examples of this type of astigmatism as they appear on the optometrist’s prescription are +2.00 /-2.00 x 180 or +3.25 / -1.00 x 90.

3. Mixed Astigmatism

Mixed astigmatism is when one principal meridian is farsighted (beyond the retina) and the other is nearsighted (in front of the retina).

Regular vs. Irregular

Another way to classify astigmatism is regular vs. irregular. Regular astigmatism is when the principal meridians are either horizontal or vertical meridians, and irregular astigmatism occurs when the principal meridians are not at the horizontal or vertical angles, such as 135 or 45 degrees.

Examples of this type of astigmatism as they appear on the optometrist’s prescription are: +2.00 /-2.00 x 135 or +3.25 / -1.00 x 45

Ways to Correct Astigmatism

Whether you have myopic, hyperopic or mixed astigmatism, your vision will be blurred. The degree of blurred vision will vary from patient to patient. Your optometrist will recommend the most suitable corrective method for your eyes.

For people with mild to moderate astigmatism, prescription lenses in the form of glasses or standard contact lenses do a fine job of correcting the refractive error.

Another option for correcting astigmatism is through refractive surgery; however, this choice is less popular due to the possible complications of surgery.

For patients with high levels of astigmatism, standard contact lenses usually aren’t an option due to the highly irregularly-shaped cornea. Instead, scleral contact lenses are a safe, comfortable and effective way to correct vision for hard-to-fit eyes.

Why are Scleral Lenses Optimal For Astigmatic Eyes?

Scleral lenses have a larger diameter than standard soft lenses. The large lens vaults over the cornea and sits on the sclera (the white of the eye) with a nourishing reservoir of fluid in between the lens and the cornea.

The customized scleral lens acts as an artificial cornea, creating a new corneal shape that refracts light correctly for clear and comfortable vision all day long.

Scleral lenses are made of high-quality material and maintain a rigid shape, so the lens remains stable, no matter the degree of astigmatism.

What’s more, many optometrists prescribe sclerals to their patients with corneal abnormalities as a therapeutic tool in post-surgery patients.

Scleral contact lenses provide crisper and more stable vision than standard soft lenses, in addition to offering a continuously nourishing and breathable environment for the cornea.

How We Can Help

Our knowledgeable and experienced eye care team is trained to fit all types of patients with scleral lenses. Our goal is to provide each patient with crisp and comfortable vision, no matter their level of astigmatism or corneal abnormality.

Our optometry clinic has the latest diagnostic technology to provide you with the most efficient and accurate eye exam.

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Farkas, Dr. Kassalow, and Dr. Resnick, contact The Scleral Lens Center at Drs. Farkas, Kassalow, Resnick & Associates today.

Our practice serves patients from New York City, The East Side, Roslyn, and Nassau County, New York and surrounding communities.
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Choosing an Optometrist vs. an Ophthalmologist for Contact Lenses

If you need new contact lenses or are thinking of trying them out for the first time, who do you turn to? An optometrist or an ophthalmologist? To know with whom to set up an appointment, it’s important to understand the differences in eye care professionals.

The Difference Between Ophthalmologists and Optometrists

What is an Ophthalmologist?

An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor (MD) who examines eyes and performs vision-related surgical procedures. Ophthalmologists generally complete 4 years of college, 4-5 years of medical school, one year of internship, and at least three years of residency in ophthalmology. Their advanced medical training provides them with the expertise to diagnose eye diseases, offer treatments, conduct scientific research on vision disorders, and prescribe medication.

Though ophthalmologists can fit patients with eyeglasses and contact lenses, they often refer their patients to an optometrist on their team to correct any refractive errors, such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism, or presbyopia (farsightedness related to aging). Optometrists are usually the ones to screen patients for LASIK and work alongside LASIK surgeons to coordinate the surgery.

What is an Optometrist?

optometrist caucasian od bigAn optometrist is a healthcare professional who has earned the Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree. Optometrists have to complete a four-year college degree program in the sciences coupled with four years of post-graduate professional training in optometry school.

Optometrists examine eyes for vision and health problems, diagnose and treat certain eye diseases and conditions, and prescribe and fit patients with glasses or contacts for common refractive errors. Certain optometrists provide alternative services, such as vision therapy, low vision care, dry eye treatment and myopia control. Optometrists can also provide pre- and post-surgery care, such as LASIK, PRK, corneal transplant, among others.

Optometrists in the United States are licensed to prescribe medications for certain eye conditions and diseases, though the scope of medical care that they can provide varies from state to state.

Why Choose an Optometrist?

If your eyes are healthy and don’t require specialized surgical treatment, visiting an optometrist is the obvious choice. Moreover, beyond performing routine eye exams, optometrists can detect, diagnose and manage eye diseases that require medical and non-medical treatment.

These treatments include, but are not limited to:

Dry Eye Treatment, Vision Therapy, Low Vision Management, Myopia Control, Specialty Contact Lens Fitting, Management and/or treatment of various corneal conditions and irregularities.

Think of your optometrist as a primary care physician for your eyes. When in need of a routine eye check-up, or if you’re dealing with an eye condition or notice your vision changing, it’s time to visit the optometrist.

If you’re interested in fitting specialty or traditional contact lenses to aid with specific eye conditions or misshapen corneas, Dr. Farkas, Dr. Kassalow, and Dr. Resnick at the The Scleral Lens Center at Drs. Farkas, Kassalow, Resnick & Associates can help.

Fitting Contact Lenses

Girl Putting in Contact 1280×853Whether you’re a first-time lens wearer or you’ve recently had a prescription change, it’s essential to ensure a proper fit. When lenses are not properly fitted, it can prove to be uncomfortable and can lead to vision problems, infections, or scarring. That’s where we come in.

To ensure a proper contact lens fitting, Dr. Farkas, Dr. Kassalow, and Dr. Resnick will perform a comprehensive eye exam to check your level of refractive error and will also check for any conditions that could interfere with wearing contact lenses. The shape of your eye and personal lifestyle are also important factors in determining the right lens for you. If you spend a significant amount of time outdoors or lead an active lifestyle, that may require a different lens type. Following a proper assessment, the doctor will ensure the best fit for your eyes and overall vision health.

Moreover, your optometrist will show you how to insert and remove lenses, and generally, how to properly care for them. Additional follow-up appointments may be needed in order to monitor and assess the fitting and overall comfort level.

Specialized in fitting traditional and specialty contact lenses, Dr. Farkas, Dr. Kassalow, and Dr. Resnick find the proper fit for all patients, from the simple near-sighted first-time wearer to the complex astigmatic, bifocal or diseased cornea patient. Visit us at the The Scleral Lens Center at Drs. Farkas, Kassalow, Resnick & Associates for a contact lens fitting.

We help patients from the New York City, The East Side, Roslyn and Nassau County, in the New York area enjoy great vision and comfort with contact lenses.

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Call Our Offices