What Is Astigmatism & How Does It Affect My Vision?
Updated: Jun 27
Has your optometrist recently said you have astigmatism? Is your vision getting a bit blurry? Most of us know it affects our eyesight, however, the details of astigmatism remain a mystery to most.
In this article, we’ll delve a bit deeper into the what, why, and how of astigmatism and demystify this eye condition once and for all.
What Is Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is an imperfection in the curvature of the cornea or lens of your eye. The shape of a normal eye is almost completely round, but with astigmatism, the eye is more curved, resembling the shape of a football rather than a basketball.
With a normal rounded cornea, light bends evenly into your eye resulting in clear and consistent vision. With a curved cornea, however, light bends into your eyes at different angles, meaning that only some of the light comes into focus at any given time. The results in objects looking blurry.
Doctors call this improper light bending a refractive error. While astigmatism is very common, doctors do not yet know what causes it, although genetics plays a strong role. Astigmatism can develop at many different stages, including just after an eye disease, eye surgery, or eye injury. Contrary to popular myths, astigmatism cannot develop from reading in poor light.
Symptoms Of Astigmatism
Astigmatism can present several symptoms, but not everyone experiences the same symptoms. Some of the more common symptoms of astigmatism include:
Blurred or fuzzy vision
While all these symptoms can indicate astigmatism, they also may indicate several other eye-related and non-eye-related issues. Thus it’s important to not ignore any symptoms and get them checked out right away through a comprehensive eye exam.
Types Of Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is seen in a few different ways.
Corneal astigmatism occurs when your cornea has a different shape, and lenticular astigmatism occurs when your lens has a different shape.
There are 3 types of astigmatism:
Myopic astigmatism - one or both of the principal meridians (degrees) of the eye are nearsighted
Hyperopic astigmatism - one of both of the principal meridians of the eye are farsighted
Mixed astigmatism - one of the meridians is nearsighted while the other is far-sighted.
How Is Astigmatism Treated?
There are several ways for astigmatism to be treated safely and effectively.
Corrective eyeglasses or contact lenses are the most common treatment for astigmatism. These devices correct astigmatism by compensating for the uneven curves in your eye.
If you have a more severe astigmatism, your eye doctor may prescribe gas-permeable rigid contact lenses for a treatment called orthokeratology. With this treatment, you wear a rigid set of contact lenses through the night which gently and safely reshapes your cornea, allowing you to see clearly during the day without other corrective lenses.
This treatment is temporary however and requires regular and consistent use. Without consistent use, the cornea will revert to its initial shape.
Refractive or laser surgery involves using precise lasers to reshape the cornea and permanently correct astigmatism. You’ll need to have otherwise healthy eyes to qualify for this procedure. Your eye doctor can refer you to a professional laser surgery clinic.
The 3 different types of laser surgery offered are:
Radial keratotomy (RK)
As with any surgery, there are some small risks involved. Always talk to your eye doctor about the possibility of eye surgery and other treatment methods for astigmatism.
Schedule An Eye Check Appointment
Are you suffering from blurry vision or other symptoms of astigmatism? It’s critically important to contact your local eye doctor right away if you are experiencing any vision or eye problems.
A qualified optometrist will assess your condition and recommend necessary treatments for gettin
g your eye health and vision back on track.
Don’t take chances with your vision and eye health. Contact Prairie Eye Care today.