Everything You Need to Know about Astigmatism

You often experience troubling vision symptoms that you deliberately choose to neglect, thinking they will pass and that there’s nothing much to worry about. Now, that’s something you really need to avoid to prevent whatever underlying vision condition you have from deteriorating. One of the most common vision problems you might encounter is blurry vision which is frequently caused by a refractive error called Astigmatism.

In this article, we are going to give you a quick overview on Astigmatism, what are its root causes, symptoms, and diagnosis techniques. We will also provide you with treatment solutions and some important things to keep in mind about this particular eye condition.

What is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is when your vision is out of focus at any distance, near or far. According to the American Optometric Association, Astigmatism occurs when the cornea is irregularly shaped or sometimes because of the curvature of the lens inside the eye, (…) preventing light from focusing properly on the retina”.

In simpler terms, imagine you’re looking at a light beam. If your cornea is round in shape, you would be able to see the light source very accurately and clearly. However, if the shape of your cornea is oval (or distorted), the light rays coming into your eye cannot converge in one focal point on the retina and rather disperse into several focal points to create a blur effect in front and beyond the retina. This is called Corneal Astigmatism. In the other case of Astigmatism known as Lenticular Astigmatism, it is the lens shape that is distorted not the cornea. In both cases your near and far eyesight is blurred.

The Main Causes of Astigmatism

  • Astigmatism is thought to be a hereditary condition, whereby the eye’s cornea or lens has an irregular curvature from birth causing light to improperly refract.
  • Astigmatism can also be an acquired condition, occurring after an eye injury or reported eye disease.
  • Certain surgeries can also result in Astigmatism.
  • In some rare cases, Astigmatism can be caused by Keratoconus, an eye condition that makes the cornea thinner and shaped like a cone with time.

The Symptoms of Astigmatism

  • Blurred or distorted vision is the most widespread symptom of Astigmatism
  • Eye fatigue and discomfort
  • Stretched light sources and trouble seeing at night
  • Light sensitivity
  • Migraines and frequent headaches
  • Frequent squinting

Following years of research and studies, it has been found that Astigmatism often occurs concurrently with other eye conditions, more specifically nearsightedness and farsightedness. Therefore, if you have either of these two vision conditions, it would be a good idea to check your eyes for Astigmatism.

Astigmatism Tests

Astigmatism is mainly diagnosed by optometrists via a comprehensive eye checkup. The doctor can use several diagnosis methods all meant to determine your visual sharpness, clarity and acuity, in addition to observing how the eye focuses light. These methods include:

  • Asking you to read the letters off an eye chart at different distances
  • Using a phoropter whereby the doctor will place several lenses in front of your eye to identify the one you see best with
  • Using an autorefractor which brings light into the eye to see if it converges in one single point or in different focal points
  • Using a keratometer or corneal topography to identify any distortions in the shape of your cornea

Treating Astigmatism

WithAstigmatism being a refractive error, it is often treated through prescription eyeglasses having special lenses with varying features depending on the age of the patient and the type of Astigmatism. In some other cases, contact lenses are prescribed to correct the condition.

Myth Busters: Things to Remember About Astigmatism

  • Yes, Astigmatism is an eye condition that you can’t prevent
  • Yes, Astigmatism will last a lifetime unless it is diagnosed and treated
  • Yes, the earlier you diagnose and treat Astigmatism the more stable your condition becomes
  • Yes, untreated Astigmatism can worsen in adulthood, gradually leading to cataracts
  • Yes, if you have Astigmatism, your children are most likely to have it too
  • Yes, Astigmatism can affect your child’s academic or overall performance, and since they might be too young to express the exact symptoms, you need to make sure they get regular eye checks
  • No, Astigmatism is not Lazy Eye nor Farsightedness, although it can occur concurrently with one or the other
  • No, Astigmatism cannot be caused by reading in dim light or by sitting close to a TV screen or other types of screens

If you’re having blurry vision or even have doubts about suffering from Astigmatism, book an appointment today at your nearest MAGRABi store and get your eyes checked by our experienced optometrists. While you’re at it, don’t forget to check out our latest collection of optical frames and sunglasses for the Spring-Summer season.

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