Astigmatism is a common vision condition that causes blurred vision. It happens when the cornea (the clear front cover of the eye) is irregularly shaped or sometimes since of the curvature of the lens inside the eye.
How Does Astigmatism Affect Your Vision?
Astigmatism can impact both children and adults. Some patients with minor astigmatism will not discover much changes in their vision. It is important to have eye examinations at routine intervals in order to spot any astigmatism early on for children.
An irregularly shaped cornea or lens prevents light from focusing correctly on the retina, the light-sensitive surface area at the back of the eye. As an outcome, vision becomes blurred at any distance. This can lead to eye pain and headaches.
Most people have some degree of astigmatism. Small astigmatism usually does not affect vision or need treatment.
Astigmatism frequently occurs with other vision conditions like myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness). Together these vision conditions are described as refractive errors due to the fact that they affect how the eyes flex or “refract” light.
The specific cause of astigmatism is unidentified. It can be genetic and is typically present from birth. It can reduce or increase with time.
An extensive optometric examination will include testing for astigmatism. If required, your optometrist can provide spectacles or contact lenses that correct the astigmatism by changing the way light enters the eyes.
Another alternative for treating astigmatism is a corneal procedure called orthokeratology (ortho-k). In this painless, noninvasive procedure, the patient wears a series of specially designed rigid contact lenses to slowly improve the curvature of the cornea.
Laser surgery can also treat some types of astigmatism. The laser changes the shape of the cornea by eliminating a percentage of eye tissue.
What Causes Astigmatism?
The curvature of the cornea and lens flexes the light going into the eye in order to focus it precisely on the retina at the back of the eye. In astigmatism, the surface area of the cornea or lens has a somewhat different curvature.
the surface area of the cornea is formed more like a football rather of round like a basketball, the eye is unable to focus light rays to a single point. Vision ends up being out of focus at any range.
In addition, the curvature of the lens inside the eye can alter, leading to an increase or decrease in astigmatism. This modification frequently happens in the adult years and can precede the development of naturally happening cataracts.
Sometimes astigmatism might establish following an eye injury or eye surgery.
Astigmatism also takes place due to a reasonably unusual condition called keratoconus in which the cornea ends up being progressively thinner and cone-shaped. This leads to a big amount of astigmatism, which causes poor vision that can not be clearly remedied with spectacles. People with keratoconus usually require contact lenses for clear vision and ultimately might require a corneal transplant.
How Is Astigmatism Treated?
Eyeglasses are the primary choice for persons with astigmatism. People with astigmatism have numerous options to restore clear vision. They include:
- Glasses. People with astigmatism primarily pick glasses to improve their vision. The spectacles contain a special round lens prescription that compensates for the astigmatism. This provides additional power in specific parts of the lens.
Typically, a single-vision lens is recommended to provide clear vision at all distances. Nevertheless, patients over age 40 who have presbyopia may require a bifocal or progressive addition lens.
- Contact lenses. Some people will have much better vision with contact lenses instead of eyeglasses. Contact lenses might provide clearer vision and a larger field of view. Nevertheless, given that contact lenses are used directly on the eyes, they require routine cleaning and care to protect eye health.
Basic soft lenses may not be effective in correcting astigmatism. Nevertheless, unique toric soft contact lenses can fix for many types of astigmatism. Because stiff gas-permeable contact lenses keep their regular shape while on the cornea, they can compensate for the cornea’s irregular shape and enhance vision for people with astigmatism.
- Orthokeratology. Orthokeratology (ortho-k) includes the fitting of a series of rigid contact lenses to reshape the cornea. The patient uses contact lenses for limited durations, such as over night, then removes them. People with moderate astigmatism may have the ability to briefly acquire clear vision without lenses for the majority of their daily activities. Orthokeratology does not permanently improve vision. If patients stop using the retainer lenses, their vision may return to its original condition.
Laser and other refractive surgery procedures. Astigmatism can likewise be fixed by reshaping the cornea through LASIK (laser in situ keratomileusis) or PRK (photorefractive keratectomy). PRK gets rid of tissue from the superficial and inner layers of the cornea. LASIK removes tissue only from the inner layer of the cornea.
If you have an astigmatism, you have a large range of choices to remedy your vision issue. In assessment with your optometrist, you can select the treatment that best fulfills your visual and lifestyle requirements.