10 Facts You Need to Know About Astigmatism

When you have astigmatism, images may look blurry or stretched out.

Learn more about astigmatism.

Astigmatism is a common eye ailment that affects both men and women, young and old.  The good news is that it can be corrected. Understanding what it is and how it can be corrected are the first steps towards managing its symptoms.  Here are 10 facts you need to know about it.

Astigmatism is a common eye error

This condition is fairly common.  It is a refractive error which affects how the eye focuses light on the retina.  Refraction is the bending of light as it passes through one object to another. We see when light ray refracts through the cornea and the lens which then focuses on the retina.  The retina is the one that passes on the light rays to the optic nerve which then transmits that images for the brain to makes sense out of. When astigmatism occurs, the light is not evenly focused on the retina.   This causes the images to look blurry or stretched out.

Astigmatism can be diagnosed by how the cornea looks like  

The cornea is the front part of the eye.  It is transparent and sits right on top of the iris, pupil, and anterior chamber.  A normal eye without any concern will have a generally even roundish cornea much like a basketball.  An eye with astigmatism will have a cornea that looks significantly different. It will not look even with some sides stretched, the others round or steep.  This anomaly causes the images to blur or stretch.

Astigmatism still remains a mystery 

While astigmatism can be corrected with the right intervention, not much is known about its primary cause.  No one can pinpoint the exact reason for the anomaly in how the cornea is shaped. What is known, however, is that it can be hereditary.  People with family history of astigmatism are prone to have it even from birth.

Astigmatism is neither gender nor age specific

This can happen to practically anyone.  It does not matter if you are male or female, an adult or a child.  This affects people of different genders and ages across nationalities.  As mentioned earlier, it is a fairly common eye ailment after all. Only early diagnosis can definitively say whether a person is suffering from astigmatism or not.

Astigmatism comes with telltale signs  

The symptoms are pretty straightforward.  These include dizziness, headache, and eyestrain. Another evident sign is squinting when focusing on something like reading a book or going over a restaurant menu.  Other symptoms include general blurred vision both for images that are far or near. A significant difficulty in driving at night can also be a sign. Once these signs and symptoms are simultaneously experienced, it is best to subject your eyes for a check-up to manage the discomfort.  Remember, it can be corrected so the early intervention will be of much help to the person suffering from this eye ailment.

You might have astigmatism and not know it

For mild cases, astigmatism does not cause to much discomfort.  This is why there are people who might have astigmatism and not know it.  However, by straining your eye constantly, the condition might grow worse.  An annual eye check-up will come in handy in this situation. By having a regular assessment, a person can prevent eye ailments from getting worse and gain access to appropriate medical intervention.

Astigmatism can be corrected

This is the good news where this ailment is concerned.  It can be corrected. You have three choices to do this.  One is by using eyeglasses. This is quick, safe, painless, and relatively affordable compared to the other choices depending of course on the make of your specs.  The key here is the lens. Your vision will significantly improve with the appropriate lens that would fit the severity of your eye condition. The next choice is the use of contact lenses which correct how the eyes reflect light on the retina. Consult your eye doctor regarding the correct fit and usage of contact lenses based on your needs.  The final option is surgery. Here, the cornea is the main target. By fixing its shape, refraction of light can be corrected permanently.

There are different types of astigmatism

There are three different types of astigmatism.  These include:

  • Myopic Astigmatism:  happens alongside nearsightedness.
  • Hyperopic Astigmatism:  happens alongside farsightedness.
  • Mixed Astigmatism:  happens alongside both nearsightedness and farsightedness

There are two classifications of astigmatism

This condition can be classified into two:  regular and irregular. Regular astigmatism is characterized by a cornea that is naturally shaped like a football.  Irregular astigmatism is caused by an injury that has affected the cornea or by a disease called keratoconus which also affects the cornea.  Either way, this causes an irregularly shaped cornea which, in turn, affects how the eyes reflect light on the retina.  Both regular and irregular astigmatism can be corrected through surgery.

The amount of astigmatism can be diagnosed through retinoscopy

The eye doctor does not only check whether you have it or not.  He/She also has to determine the amount of astigmatism that you have. This is vital because the lenses you will use will be based on this test.  The test is called retinoscopy. The doctor will have to shine a light to your eye while manually shifting from one lens to the other. Some tests are done through a computer but some doctors would do a manual test right after to check the veracity of the automated results.

This condition is common and can easily be corrected.  An annual routine eye-check up is essential. Apart from detecting signs, other more serious eye ailments like glaucoma may be diagnosed as well.  Check with your local eye clinic and schedule that much needed appointment as soon as possible.

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