Understanding Astigmatism: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options
- Posted on: Oct 15 2023
Astigmatism is a common eye condition that affects millions of people around the world. Despite its prevalence, many individuals may not fully understand what astigmatism is, what causes it, or how it can be treated.
Astigmatism is an eye condition that occurs when the cornea or the lens inside the eye has an irregular shape. Instead of being perfectly round like a ball, the cornea or lens may have a more oblong shape, causing light to focus on multiple points in the eye. This leads to blurred or distorted vision, both up close and at a distance.
Causes of Astigmatism
The most common cause of astigmatism is an irregular shape of the cornea. Normally, the cornea should be spherical, but in individuals with astigmatism, it may be more shaped like an oval, with varying degrees of curvature in different areas. The irregular shape disrupts the proper focusing of light onto the retina.
In some cases, astigmatism can also be caused by irregularities in the eye’s crystalline lens, which sits behind the cornea. Changes in the shape of the lens can lead to astigmatism.
Lastly, astigmatism can be hereditary, meaning it may run in families. If your parents or grandparents have astigmatism, you may be at a higher risk of developing it.
Symptoms of Astigmatism
The symptoms of astigmatism can vary in severity and may include:
- Blurred or distorted vision at all distances
- Eye strain and discomfort, especially after prolonged periods of reading or computer use.
- Frequent headaches.
- Difficulty seeing in low light conditions.
- Squinting to see more clearly.
Once your astigmatism is diagnosed, there are a few treatment options to consider.
Getting prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses are the most common and effective ways to correct astigmatism. They are prescribed to counteract any irregularities in your cornea or lens and will provide clear vision.
Other treatments such as refractive surgery like LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis) or PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) can reshape the cornea to correct astigmatism. These kinds of surgeries are usually recommended for moderate to severe cases.
There are also special contact lenses called toric lenses, and they are designed to address astigmatism. They have different shapes in various areas to correct your vision.
Schedule an Eye Exam
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is essential to schedule an eye exam with an optometrist to determine if you have astigmatism or another vision problem. Contact the Physicians Eye Clinic in Everett, WA, at 425-259-2020 to schedule an appointment and discuss your astigmatism.
Posted in: Astigmatism