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† E. Looking To The Future ... Without Your Glasses

Narrator: This is Science Today. Astigmatism is a very common optical condition marked by blurry, double images. Dr. David Hwang of the University of California, San Francisco says this visual distortion often accompanies near or farsightedness.

Hwang: Basically the cornea is shaped instead of being round, more like an oval shaped - like the back of a spoon or a football, instead of a basketball.

Narrator: Hwang says this misshapen cornea is what causes visual distortion.

Hwang: Itís sort of like looking at a funhouse mirror, where you see a distortion in the shape and thatís created because the mirror itself is warped. If the cornea itself is warped, thatís the condition known as astigmatism.

Narrator: Astigmatism can now be treated using high tech laser surgery which although very pricy, offers people another option.

Hwang: Thereís a difference in the quality of life, I think, in patients whoíve undergone this procedure and no longer have to bother with visual aids like eyeglasses or contact lenses and some people are willing to pay that premium.

Narrator: For Science Today, Iím Larissa Branin.