Astigmatism is one form of refractive error that impairs vision. It is a common eye condition affecting millions of people. Astigmatism is an imperfection in the curvature of the cornea. The cornea and lens of the eye should be smooth and evenly curved in all directions in order to properly refract light, allowing clear vision. Astigmatism does not allow light to properly focus on the retina, and produces a doubling or ghosting effect in vision. Astigmatism affects both distance and close range vision.
There are two types of astigmatism: corneal astigmatism and lenticular astigmatism. Corneal astigmatism is an irregularly shaped cornea. Lenticular astigmatism is an irregularly shaped lens of the eye.
Many people are born with astigmatism, and it may be accompanied by other refractive errors such as nearsightedness or farsightedness. People who are not born with astigmatism can develop it as a result of eye injury or disease. While adults who have astigmatism may recognize their vision isn’t as clear as it should be, children won’t necessarily recognize there is a problem with their vision. Routine vision exams are important in diagnosing any vision problems such as astigmatism in children and adults so that it can be properly corrected.
Symptoms of astigmatism:
- Blurry vision
- Eye strain
- Squinting to see clearly
- Eye discomfort
Simply because you experience these symptoms doesn’t mean you have astigmatism, as these symptoms may also be related to other refractive vision errors, but only your doctor will be able to diagnose to cause of distorted or blurred vision.
Treatment for astigmatism has improved over the years. In the past, individuals with astigmatism were confined to rigid (or hard) contact lenses or eyeglasses for vision correction. Today, many patients with astigmatism have the option of toric lenses, which are soft contact lenses.
In most cases, LASIK eye surgery can treat astigmatism by reshaping the cornea. Reshaping of the cornea will improve how the eye focuses light rays on the retina. A consultation with your eye doctor is necessary to
determine the best treatment options for astigmatism.
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determine if you are a candidate for LASIK vision correction surgery to treat your astigmatism.
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