Eye Health

Astigmatism: Test, Symptoms, Treatments & Causes

Astigmatism

What Is Astigmatism?


Astigmatism occurs as a result of a refractive error, where more than one point of focus occurs on the retina, causing a distortion or blur. It occurs when the surface of the cornea or crystalline lens is not spherical. Your eye is naturally shaped like a sphere. Under normal circumstances, when light enters the eye, it bends evenly, creating a clear image at the back of your eye. In a person with astigmatism, the eye is shaped more like a football and light entering the eye is bent more in one direction than the other. This causes only part of the image to be in focus at any given time. As a result, objects at any distance can appear blurry and wavy.


What Are the Symptoms?

The symptoms of astigmatism vary depending on severity:

Eyestrain and discomfort
Blurred or distorted vision
Headaches
Night vision problems
Needing to squint to see clearly

While these symptoms may not necessarily be the result of astigmatism, you should schedule an eye exam if you are experiencing one or more symptoms. Our eye doctors can diagnose astigmatism with a thorough eye exam. Astigmatism may occur in combination with other vision problems such as nearsightedness and farsightedness. Given that astigmatism gets worse over time, be sure to visit our eye doctor whenever you notice changes in your vision.


What Causes this Condition?

In some cases, astigmatism may develop following an eye injury or eye surgery. However, it may also be present from birth. Unlike the misconceptions that you may have heard, astigmatism is not caused or made worse by reading in poor light, sitting too close to the television or squinting. Astigmatism also occurs due to a relatively rare condition called keratoconus, where the cornea becomes progressively thinner and cone-shaped. This results in a large amount of astigmatism, which causes poor vision that cannot be fully corrected with eyeglasses. People with keratoconus usually need contact lenses for clear vision and eventually may need a corneal transplant.


Treatment Options

There are two types of astigmatism, regular and irregular. Irregular astigmatism is often caused by a corneal scar or scattering in the crystalline lens and cannot be corrected by standard prescription lenses, but may be corrected by contact lenses. Regular astigmatism arising from either the cornea or crystalline lens can be corrected by a toric lens.

Vue Vision offers eyeglasses and contact lenses for people suffering from astigmatism. Most often, eyeglasses are the treatment of choice. Eyeglasses contain a special cylindrical lens prescription that compensates for the astigmatism, offering additional power to targeted parts of the lens. Standard soft lenses may not be effective in correcting astigmatism. Consequently, toric soft contact lenses will be prescribed. Rigid gas-permeable contact lenses maintain their regular shape while on the cornea and can compensate for the cornea’s irregular shape while improving vision. During your examination and consultation, you will work with one of our trained professionals to determine which treatment option works best for your needs and lifestyle. Your eyes are one of your greatest assets and should not be under unnecessary strain when there are treatment options available to correct your symptoms today. If you are currently suffering from blurred vision, difficulty seeing at night, headaches, and/or achy eyes, give our office a call.

EMERGENCY EYE CARE

We will make every effort to accommodate patients with red eyes, painful eyes, ocular foreign bodies, sudden vision changes, sudden floaters or flashes of light. Please call our office to book an appointment as we dedicate certain appointments only for ocular emergencies.



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