How is astigmatism treated?

The main treatment for astigmatism of all degrees is corrective lenses, either eyeglasses or contact lenses. If you have very slight astigmatism and no other conditions (such as nearsightedness or farsightedness), you may not need glasses. If you have moderate or high astigmatism, you will likely need corrective lenses.

Other treatment options include:

  • Orthokeratology (ortho-k): You wear a series of specially designed contact lenses. The lenses are rigid, so they reshape the curve of your cornea over time.
  • Laser surgery: Laser in-situ keratomileusis, or LASIK surgery, can correct some types of astigmatism. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if it’s right for you. The surgeon uses a laser to remove a small amount of eye tissue and change the shape of the cornea.
  • Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK): PRK eye surgery removes tissue from the cornea’s inner and outer layers.

Are eyeglasses or contact lenses better for astigmatism?

People with astigmatism sometimes prefer eyeglasses to contact lenses. The eyeglasses have a special lens that helps compensate for the astigmatism.

Other people prefer contact lenses for astigmatism because they give you a wider field of vision. Your healthcare provider will help figure out the best contact lenses for you.

What are toric lenses?

If you have moderate or high astigmatism, you may need special corrective lenses called toric lenses. These lenses bend light more in one direction than the other. Your eye doctor will use various eye tests to figure out the right toric lens prescription for you.

Who can have surgery for astigmatism?

If you have generally healthy eyes, you may be a candidate for astigmatism surgery. Your healthcare provider will discuss the types of refractive surgery and recommend the best one for your needs. The two surgical options are LASIK surgery and PRK eye surgery.

How does ortho-k work?

These special, rigid contact lenses help reset your cornea. You wear them for a set period, such as overnight, and then remove them. If you have moderate astigmatism, wearing these lenses just at night may help you get clear vision during the day. However, ortho-k is not a permanent fix. If you stop wearing the retainer lenses, your vision will likely return to how it was before. While there are lifestyle benefits, there is also a higher risk of infection associated with wearing contact lenses at night.

Can astigmatism be cured?

Laser surgery can provide a long-term solution for astigmatism. Depending on the severity, you may need more than one procedure.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/14/2020.

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