What Is Astigmatism?
The term astigmatism refers to a condition where the cornea of someone’s eye is an irregular shape. Normally a cornea is a spherical shape and allows light to refract properly. When your cornea is an irregular shape is causes refractive errors in the eye’s lens and this can result in blurry vision. Astigmatism can often be found alongside other refractive errors such as myopia and hyperopia.
The Types of Astigmatism
Astigmatism can present itself in 2 different ways. One is more common than the other, but both cause blurry vision. The 2 categories are corneal astigmatism and lenticular astigmatism.
Corneal astigmatism is the most common form. This type occurs when the cornea is irregularly shaped. The shape is typically similar to a rugby ball, like a squashed sphere. Corneal astigmatism can also be defined as regular and irregular. Regular astigmatism refers to a cornea that is curved more in one direction. Irregular astigmatism is when the cornea is misshapen and uneven in multiple directions or is steep at the bottom.
Lenticular astigmatism is similar to corneal astigmatism, except that it affects the lens of the eye instead of the cornea. When this occurs, it is caused by the lens not being perfectly curved. It instead has variations that cause the image to reach the back of the eye improperly.
What are the Symptoms?
Astigmatism can cause a variety of symptoms. You may not always experience changes to your eyesight but typically symptoms include:
· Blurred vision
· Poor low-light vision
If you notice any of these symptoms for a prolonged length of time you should book an eye examination. Even if you don’t display any indications of a condition, expert optometrists will be able to identify any issues or causes. They will then be able to suggest the most suitable treatment for you.
Potential Treatments for Astigmatism
Treatments for astigmatism work by counteracting the irregular curvature of the cornea or lens. The aim of the treatment is the improve vision whilst keeping eye comfort in mind. There are 3 main options for treatments, as follows:
One of the most common treatments for eyesight issues, spectacles (or glasses) are made with lenses that compensate for the uneven curvature of your eye. They do this by bending the light so that it enters your eye at the right angle.
Growing in popularity, contact lenses offer improvement to eyesight whilst taking away the need to wear frames. Many people find these more suitable for their lifestyle if they are more active. They typically work similarly to spectacles.
There is also an innovative treatment called Ortho-K which involves wearing Rigid Gas-Permeable lenses whilst you sleep. These lenses gently reshape your cornea overnight and are removed when you wake up. The aim of this is to correct the shape of your cornea. This can allow you to experience improved eyesight during the day without the need for lenses or glasses.
Surgery is also another option for correcting astigmatism. It will reduce the need for glasses or contact lenses. The surgery should result in the cornea’s curves being reshaped to correct the refractive errors. Surgery may not be for everyone and doctors will be able to evaluate you to determine if it is suitable for you.
How can Vision Centre Help?
Astigmatism is commonly a genetic condition that can develop from an early age and can sometimes go undiagnosed. That is why it is important to have regular and comprehensive eye examinations.
Astigmatism can also develop later in life due to an eye injury or from a different underlying eye disease. Although symptoms may not always develop if you do notice any of the ones mentioned above you should seek advice from a professional optometrist.
If you need help or advice about your eye health, our team at Vision Centre has extensive experience helping patients of all ages. We believe that patient care and customer experience is a top priority. If you’d like to have an eye exam with a team who takes the time to listen to your requirements, you can easily book your appointment online today.