Health Watch -- Fixing Astigmatism

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Now more people may be able to get rid of their glasses.

Advanced laser surgery for vision correction has allowed many people to get rid of their glasses and contact lenses. But some people don't benefit from this surgery. People with astigmatism, which causes blurry vision because the eye's surface doesn't curve properly, often couldn't have their vision corrected. Astigmatism makes laser vision correction more complicated.

Ophthalmologists at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas say new laser technology may make laser vision correction possible for people with nearsightedness and astigmatism. The VISX [VIS-ex] CustomVue machine has been recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration. This machine allows the eye to be mapped more accurately than ever before.

The machine takes detailed measurements of the surface of the eye, allowing ophthalmologists to create an extremely accurate map of the eye and create a custom surgical plan to adjust the curve of the eye's surface to correct vision.

Because of this, Dr. James McCulley, UT Southwestern's chairman of ophthalmology, says that more patients with astigmatism may be able to have their vision corrected. It also means better and more accurate treatment for patients.

If you've looked into laser vision correction before but were told you weren't a good candidate because of your astigmatism, it might be worthwhile to look for a doctor using this new technology and ask again.