What is Astigmatism?
Do you have trouble looking at objects both near and in a distance? Does the object appear blurry and stretched out? If this describes your blurred vision, you could be experiencing astigmatism symptoms. Read on to find out more about Astigmatism causes and correction.
Astigmatism is one of the common refractive errors in which near vision and objects at a distance appear blurry and wavy.
Astigmatism causes and risk factors
Astigmatism occurs when the lens or the front surface of your eye (Cornea) has an irregular curve. This changes the way light passes to your retina and it is not refracted evenly.
While there may be different causes for astigmatism, the main reason is usually heredity. If you have a family history of astigmatism or other eye disorders (Keratoconus), you could be at a higher risk of having astigmatism.
The most noticeable symptom is that both vision up close and far away appears blurry and distorted. Other symptoms you may notice:
- Difficulty seeing at night
- Eyestrain or discomfort
- Headaches caused by eyestrain
- Squinting of eyes to see clearly
Blurry vision does not automatically mean you have astigmatism, it could mean something else.
If you are experiencing any visual blurriness, schedule an appointment with an eye care professional near you for a consultation.
A family history of astigmatism is one of the causes of astigmatism in a child. Your child may not realize that their vision is blurry, so they need to have their vision tested by an eye care professional. As a parent, you should make sure to watch out for the following signs:
- Closing one eye to read or watch television
- Frequent complaints of headaches or eyestrain, especially after reading
- Squinting persistently
- Tilting or turning the head to see better
- Shielding their eyes or signs that they are sensitive to light
Astigmatism can be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery.
Eyeglasses for astigmatism is one way for a clearer vision. There are many types of lenses for you to choose from. To protect your eyes from permanent damages, consider getting a photochromic lens to protect yourself from UV rays, and filter harmful blue light from your digital screen. If you are over 40, you may need progressive lenses.
Do you have an active lifestyle such as participating in sports frequently? Do you simply prefer contact lenses over glasses? Contact lenses may be the better choice for you. If you have astigmatism, you will probably be prescribed a special type of soft contact lenses called toric lenses.
If you find wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses troublesome, refractive surgery such as Lasik or Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK) may be another option.
- PRK flattens your cornea and allows light rays to focus closer on the retina.
- Lasik surgery creates a thin flap on the surface of your cornea and a laser is used to remove some corneal tissue, before moving the flap back into place.
There is also a non-surgical procedure for Astigmatism where you wear a custom made, special gas permeable contact lens overnight, allowing it to reshape the cornea of your eyes as you sleep. When you remove the lenses in the morning, your cornea temporarily retains the shape, allowing you to see clearly without eyeglasses or contact lenses.
Refractive surgery and Ortho-K treatment depend on the condition of your eyes and not everyone qualifies for it.
Speak to an eye doctor today to find out more about such treatments.