Plenty of people have heard the word “astigmatism” before. Astigmatism refers to an eye condition where the curvature of the eye is not the same in all orientations. Less well known is that astigmatism can come in a variety of forms. The most common form of astigmatism is called regular astigmatism. Regular astigmatism can be corrected using glasses and special contact lenses called “toric” lenses. It may also be corrected with refractive surgery such as LASIK.
Another type of astigmatism is called “irregular astigmatism”. Irregular astigmatism is more difficult to treat because the eye bends light in a haphazard fashion in a variable way. The most common cause of irregular astigmatism is a condition called keratoconus. Keratoconus is a progressive steepening and thinning of the cornea that occurs most commonly in the adolescent and the young adult years. As the condition progresses, patients may develop worsening irregular astigmatism and corneal scarring. In some cases, the disease progresses to the point where patients require a corneal transplant in order to restore clear vision.
In 2016, the FDA approved a new treatment for keratoconus and similar disorders called corneal crosslinking. Corneal crosslinking is a procedure designed to stop the progression of keratoconus. It stabilizes the surface of the eye to prevent the astigmatism and thinning from worsening. This also helps to prevent scarring from progression of the disease. The procedure entails saturating the corneal tissue with a vitamin called riboflavin, and then using UV light treatment to create stable chemical bonds in the corneal tissue. This prevents the progressive steepening and scarring that is the hallmark of keratoconus.
Dr. Hart is now offering this procedure for people with progressive keratoconus and similar conditions at the Eye Lasik Austin facility on MoPac. If you are interested in learning more about this treatment or would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office.