Astigmatism is a common vision problem that affects millions of people worldwide. If you’ve been diagnosed with astigmatism or suspect you may have it, here is a comprehensive overview of the condition, including its causes, symptoms, and available treatment options.
What Is Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is a refractive error of the eye that causes blurred or distorted vision. Unlike nearsightedness (myopia) and farsightedness (hyperopia), which are primarily related to the shape of the eyeball, astigmatism is caused by an irregular shape of the cornea or the lens. This irregularity results in the inability of the eye to focus light evenly onto the retina, leading to vision problems.
Causes of Astigmatism
There are several potential causes of astigmatism:
- Hereditary Factors: Astigmatism can be inherited from your parents, and it often appears early in life.
- Eye Injuries: Trauma to the eye can cause changes in the corneal shape, leading to astigmatism.
- Eye Surgery: Some eye surgeries, such as cataract surgery, can lead to astigmatism as a complication.
- Keratoconus: This progressive eye disorder causes the cornea to bulge outward and can result in astigmatism.
Symptoms of Astigmatism
The most common symptoms of astigmatism include:
- Blurred or distorted vision at all distances.
- Eye strain and discomfort.
- Headaches, especially after reading or using digital devices.
- Difficulty with night vision.
- Squinting to see clearly.
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s essential to consult us for a comprehensive eye exam.
Diagnosis and Treatment
We can diagnose astigmatism through a routine eye exam, which may include:
- Visual Acuity Test: This measures how well you can see at various distances.
- Refraction Test: You’ll look through a series of lenses, and the doctor will determine the prescription that provides the clearest vision.
- Corneal Topography: This advanced test maps the shape of your cornea to identify irregularities.
Once diagnosed, astigmatism can typically be corrected with:
- Glasses: Prescription eyeglasses are a common and effective way to correct astigmatism.
- Contact Lenses: Toric contact lenses are specially designed to correct astigmatism.
- Refractive Surgery: LASIK and PRK are surgical options that reshape the cornea to correct astigmatism.
Living with Astigmatism
If you have astigmatism, it’s crucial to have regular eye check-ups to monitor your vision and update your prescription as needed. Additionally, consider these tips for better eye health:
- Follow our advice on glasses or contact lens use.
- Protect your eyes from harmful UV rays by wearing sunglasses.
- Take regular breaks when working on digital screens to reduce eye strain.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and regular exercise.
Astigmatism is a common eye condition that can affect anyone, but with the right diagnosis and treatment, it can be managed effectively. If you experience symptoms of astigmatism or have concerns about your vision, make an appointment to determine the best course of action. Whether it’s through glasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery, there are options available to help you achieve clear and comfortable vision despite astigmatism. Remember, your eyesight is precious, so take proactive steps to maintain and protect it.