Astigmatism

What is Astigmatism?

Like nearsightedness or farsightedness, astigmatism is not a eye disease but rather a refractive error - a problem with how your eye focuses light. In an eye with astigmatism, the light doesn’t reach a single focus point on the retina to produce clear vision. Instead, multiple focus points occur, resulting in vision that is blurred.

Causes of Astigmatism

  • Irregularly shaped cornea - This is the most common cause of astigmatism. Instead of the cornea having a symmetrically round shape, it has a more cylindrical shape, with one meridian being more curved than the other.
  • Irregularly shaped lens - In a few cases, astigmatism is caused the irregular curvature of the eye’s lens. This is called lenticular astigmatism, to differentiate from the more common corneal astigmatism.

Symptoms of Astigmatism

A qualified eye care professional can diagnose astigmatism through a variety of vision tests including a simple eye test, a light refraction test or taking measurements of the cornea.

Common symptoms of astigmatism include:

  • Objects (both near and far) appear blurred
  • Inability to read small print
  • Constant squinting of the eyes
  • Eye fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Eye irritation
  • Difficulty seeing at night

Treatment Options

  • Corrective Lenses: Most cases of astigmatism can be properly corrected with correctly prescribed eyeglasses or contact lenses. Another option, particularly for more severe cases of astigmatism, is gas permeable rigid (hard) contact lenses. After performing various vision tests, our optometrists will be able to determine the ideal prescription and treatment option for your astigmatism.
  • Refractive surgery: Another treatment method for correcting astigmatism is changing the corneal shape through refractive or laser eye surgery. While there are various types of refractive surgeries, specific treatments are recommended based on the unique needs of every individual patient. Refractive surgery requires healthy eyes and is NOT SUITABLE for patients who:
    • Have retinal problems
    • Corneal scarring
    • Have any eye diseases

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