Treatment Options for Astigmatism
The most common way to treat astigmatism is with corrective eyewear (glasses or contact lenses). There are surgical options as well, such as astigmatism-correcting cataract surgery, LASIK surgery or small, shallow incisions on the edges of your cornea, called keratotomy.
Astigmatism: Contacts and Glasses
Glasses or toric contact lenses can correct vision problems caused by astigmatism. However, they cannot lessen or cure the irregular curve of the cornea that causes your blurry vision.
Astigmatism and Your Prescription
If your astigmatism is mild and doesn’t cause significant problems with your vision, and you don’t have any other vision issues requiring a prescription, you probably won’t even need glasses or contacts. However, many people with astigmatism are also nearsighted or farsighted. So if you already wear prescription glasses or contact lenses, correction for your astigmatism can simply be added to your prescription.
Contacts and Astigmatism
Contact lenses that correct astigmatism are called toric lenses. The eye exam for astigmatism contact lenses may take longer than for other contacts, and you may need to try more than one pair of lenses to find a brand and type that doesn’t rotate too much and feels comfortable on your eye. Therefore, both the exam and the lenses typically cost more than regular contact lenses.
How Much Will Contacts for Astigmatism Cost?
One type of contact lenses for astigmatism is called toric lenses. Depending on the brand, the cost of these will vary. It also takes a bit longer to be fitted for toric contact lenses than it does for regular contact lenses, and it may require extra office visits to find the right lenses for you. Therefore, toric lens exams and fittings usually cost more than regular contacts. Rigid, gas-permeable contact lenses are often an effective way of correcting astigmatism as well.
Glasses and Astigmatism
If you already wear glasses for nearsightedness or farsightedness, most eye doctors will recommend adapting your glasses to correct your astigmatism, too. Even if it is mild, it is relatively easy to correct, and there is little reason not to. If you have astigmatism alone and it is severe enough to need correction, glasses should easily solve the problem.
How Much Will Glasses for Astigmatism Cost?
If your doctor prescribes corrective lenses to treat your astigmatism, the cost will vary. Designer frames and/or specialty lenses typically cost more than regular glasses. Annual eye exams will ensure that your glasses or contact lenses are the most accurate prescription possible.
The primary surgical procedures that can correct astigmatism are cataract surgery, LASIK and keratotomy.
Astigmatism Treatments: Surgery
You have different options for surgically correcting your astigmatism, depending on the other types of eye conditions you may have.
LASIK surgery may be an option for many people with astigmatism. During LASIK surgery, the surgeon uses a laser to reshape the cornea. By doing this, the doctor can sculpt your cornea to a more spherical shape and fix the refractive error that causes astigmatism.
This surgical procedure involves making shallow cuts into the cornea to relax the steepest curves. These shallow cuts are typically called limbal relaxing incisions. Astigmatic keratotomy is effective, but laser surgery might be the better option for higher degrees of astigmatism.
Astigmatism-Correcting Cataract Surgery
If you have begun to develop cataracts, cataract surgery may be a good option for you. Astigmatism-correcting intraocular lenses (IOLs) replace the eye’s natural lens and can potentially correct both astigmatism and cataracts at the same time.
How Much Will It Cost to Diagnose and Treat My Astigmatism?
Regular eye exams include tests that identify the presence of astigmatism, so it will not cost you extra to be diagnosed. The treatment costs, however, will vary depending on the method of correction you choose.
If you have private health insurance that includes vision benefits, it may pay for most or all of your annual regular eye exams. In addition, most vision plans provide a discount for prescription eyeglasses and contacts. This is often in a set payment toward one pair of glasses or your annual contact lens supply per year. The discount/payment can vary. If you choose any extras, such as tinted lenses, prescription sunglasses, colored contacts or other advanced features, these are not typically covered by standard vision plans. You may need to pay for these features out of your pocket.
Astigmatism can often be treated with contacts or glasses, so surgery may not be covered by your private insurance. However, private medical insurance may help cover surgical costs if your astigmatism is the result of injury or complications from a previous medically necessary eye surgery.