What is Astigmatism?

What is Astigmatism?

Person Holding Eyeglasses

Astigmatism is a very common refractive error that causes blurry vision. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, this condition affects about 1 in 3 Americans. In this blog, we’ll discuss common causes and symptoms of astigmatism, as well as treatment options. 

Causes

Astigmatism occurs when the cornea or the lens of the eye is not shaped correctly. This causes light to hit the wrong part of the retina when it passes through the eye, resulting in blurry or distorted vision. This condition is often present from birth or childhood, but can be caused by injury, surgery, or other corneal conditions, such as Keratoconus. Keratoconus is a condition that occurs when the cornea begins to thin and grow into a cone shape, causing an unusually large amount of Astigmatism. 

Symptoms

Some people with Astigmatism may not notice any symptoms, especially if their Astigmatism is mild. When symptoms are present, they may include:

  • Headaches
  • Blurry vision
  • Squinting
  • Eye strain
  • Trouble seeing at night

Astigmatism can only be diagnosed by an eye doctor during an eye exam. 

Treatment

The most common treatments for Astigmatism are glasses or toric contact lenses. These treatments work by bending the light as it enters the eye, causing it to come to a point on the correct part of the retina. 

Astigmatism can also be treated with refractive surgery, such as LASIK. During this surgery, an ophthalmologist will use a laser to change the shape of your cornea, allowing the light to come to a point on the correct part of the retina. Astigmatism may also be treated during cataract surgery, to improve visual outcome after cataracts are removed.

If Astigmatism occurs as a result of Keratoconus, specialty contact lenses may be used. If the condition cannot be controlled with contacts, corneal transplant may be necessary. 

If you have symptoms of Astigmatism, you should consider having an eye exam. These symptoms may be indicative of other eye conditions and diseases. To schedule an exam, please call or text (907) 328-2920.

References:

American Academy of Ophthalmology, www.aao.org

Written By: Gina Stafford COA, LDO, ABOC

Photo by David Travis on Unsplash

Posted in: Uncategorized

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