What is astigmatism?
Astigmatism is a refractive error that affects the way light enters the eye, causing visual abnormalities. Unlike short-sightedness (myopia) or long-sightedness (hyperopia), astigmatism occurs due to an irregular curvature of the cornea or lens.
This leads to the light focusing on multiple points rather than a single point on the retina, resulting in blurred vision.
Causes of astigmatism
Astigmatism can be either inherited or acquired, and its exact causes are not fully understood. Some common factors that contribute to astigmatism include:
- Irregularly shaped cornea or lens
- Eye injuries or surgeries
- Keratoconus (a condition where the cornea thins and bulges)
- Scarring on the cornea
Symptoms of Astigmatism
Individuals with astigmatism may experience the following symptoms:
- Blurred or distorted vision at all distances
- Eye strain or fatigue
- Squinting to improve focus
- Difficulty seeing fine details
An optometrist or ophthalmologist can diagnose astigmatism during a comprehensive eye exam. The eye care professional will measure the curvature of the cornea and evaluate the focusing ability of the eyes using various techniques, such as a visual acuity test, keratometry, or corneal topography.
Astigmatism can be effectively corrected through various treatment options:
- Spectacles – prescription eyewear can be manufactured for the patient to allow light to focus correctly on the retina.
- Contact lenses – toric contact lenses are designed to correct astigmatism, and are usually available in a variety of different types (hard, soft, daily, monthly) of lens dependant on the prescription.
- Refractive surgery – procedures such as LASIK can reshape the cornea to correct astigmatism, although changes can still occur afterwards.
- Orthokeratology – this involves a special rigid contact lens overnight to temporarily reshape the cornea, providing clear vision for the following day.
Astigmatism is a prevalent visual condition that affects many individuals worldwide. Regular eye exams are crucial for early detection and effective management and treatment of astigmatism.
If you suspect you may have astigmatism, consult with your local eye care consultant for exploration of the most effective treatment methods.
If you have any queries regarding Astigmatism, please contact your Eyesore Professional or call Lais Opticians directly on 020 8478 1631