What is Astigmatism?
As Optometrists, we often get asked “how to correct Astigmatism?”. One of the common vision conditions that causes blurred vision in human beings is Astigmatism. It is caused when the cornea is not uniformly curved. In this case, the light rays are not able to converge at a single point and instead creates focus at two points on the retina causing distorted vision or double vision at all distances.
Astigmatism most commonly occurs in people who have short-sighted (myopia) and long sightedness (hyperopia) in addition to their existing condition. However this can be easily corrected by visiting your nearest optometrist.
What causes Astigmatism or blurred vision?
The main cause is regarded to the irregular shape of the cornea. This commonly occurs when the cornea is more oval like a rugby ball rather than being rounded like a soccer ball. Astigmatism can be further categorized into Corneal Astigmatism and Lenticular Astigmatism based on where the irregularity is found.
Corneal Astigmatism happens in people whose cornea is found to have an irregular shape, while lenticular astigmatism is found in people whose crystalline lens is either shaped irregular or is distorted.
What are the symptoms of Astigmatism?
Signs and symptoms may include:
- Too much eyestrain causing discomfort
- Areas of Distorted Vision / Blurred Vision
- Difficulty seeing at night
- Squinting of eyes
When should you get it checked?
You should visit your optometrist if you come across any changes in your vision. The optometrist would then recommend a complete eye exam to test your eyesight and find the accurate cause. This will also help them to provide you with the right corrective options that are suitable for you.
Astigmatism is also commonly seen in children across the world. As it can be present from birth, we would recommend getting your child’s eyes examined by an optometrist to ensure the right steps are taken at an early stage for proper visual development.
Treatment for Astigmatism
Astigmatism is diagnosed through a standard vision test accompanied by similar process that is most commonly used in detecting other refractive errors like nearsightedness and farsightedness.
Your optometrist will use painless and non-invasive tools to measure the corneal curvature and identify how the eyes are focusing the light. This will then help them to determine the amount of astigmatism present and recommend treatment option along with the right power of glasses or contact lenses needed for clear vision.
How to correct Astigmatism?
Astigmatism can usually be optically corrected at all levels. The several corrective options available are:
- Prescribed eyeglasses or contact lenses
- Laser and other refractive surgery. Most commonly used surgeries are LASIK and PRK.
- Corneal Refractive Therapy