Written by True Eye Experts
An astigmatism is one of several types of refractive errors your eye doctor may diagnose you with if you are noticing a change in your vision.
It is relatively common and affects around 30% of the population. If you’ve been diagnosed with astigmatism, it’s important to understand your diagnosis and how your symptoms may change over time. Learn everything you need to know about a future with astigmatism here.
Astigmatism is an optometrist-diagnosed eye condition that develops when the cornea (the transparent tissue covering the front of the eye) is irregularly curved, resulting in out-of-focus vision. It is usually treated with eyeglasses, corrective contact lenses, or refractive surgery.
To be able to see clearly, the eyes should be able to focus light onto a single plane at the retina’s surface. The term “astigmatism” is derived from the Greek words “a” for “without” and “stigma” for “spot.” A refractive error occurs when a spot (or pinpoint) of light concentrates on two separate planes, resulting in impaired vision, a symptom of this condition.
Astigmatism causes distorted vision at both close and long distances. The degree of the condition, type of image viewed, and time of day all influence how much distortion a patient experiences.
Regardless of these circumstances, those with the condition may expect some blurriness, fuzziness, or distortion.
Refractive error tends to be one of the most prevalent conditions diagnosed at the doctor’s office. One in every three people is estimated to have some degree of astigmatism.
Just like any other part of the human body, your eyes will age. The anomaly can develop or progress with age due to a lack of muscular strength in the eyelids. By maintaining pressure, your eyelids help to keep the curvature of your cornea. As muscle tone deteriorates, the cornea loses support which may generate more defects.
No, the condition doesn’t go away without intervention. It will either remain the same or deteriorate over time. While this can be overwhelming, the good thing is that there are many ways to ease your symptoms and see clearly.
If you’ve been diagnosed with this condition, there are several ways to treat it.
Corrective lenses can help correct blurry vision caused by astigmatism. Just as they would correct any other refractive error (i.e. nearsightedness and farsightedness), prescription lenses are designed in a specific way to bend light appropriately and allow for good vision.
Patients who use glasses to correct severe distortion may experience an adjustment period and report that the walls or floor appear to tilt. The adjustment period for the eyes will vary, but typically the skewed effect will face after about a week.
Overall, eyeglasses are an excellent way to correct most levels of astigmatism.
Your doctor can treat your astigmatism with specialized contact lenses. Toric lenses are soft contacts for astigmatism that stay in position despite the irregularly shaped eye. Hard contact lenses are another solution that is most effective for severe astigmatism.
Doctors may also look to laser eye surgery (LASIK) to help correct the shape of the eye. It can be a highly successful therapeutic option, but you should thoroughly consider its advantages and disadvantages before surgery.
While glasses are a common means of correction, they are only sometimes necessary. You may not require any correction if you have minor astigmatism that does not interfere with your visual demands or general daily tasks. However, if you need to fix your vision and don’t like to wear glasses, you can try the other options listed above.
When the curve of the eye is uneven yet symmetrical, you have regular astigmatism. For example, if you squeeze your eye in one direction, it would look similar to a football shape.
Irregular astigmatism is similar to regular astigmatism in that the eye is also misshaped. However, with irregular astigmatism, that irregularity is uneven and can come from any direction, or in more than one direction or form.
Regular astigmatism is far more common than irregular astigmatism. However, an eye injury almost always causes irregular astigmatism.
A deviation in the shape of the eye causes astigmatism. It is not a sickness or a severe illness. While degrees of distortion may deteriorate with age, astigmatism itself cannot cause blindness.
While astigmatism can impact your vision during the day, it is more noticeable at night. Lights, in particular, may look blurry or ringed by a halo, glare, or streaks. Therefore, persons with astigmatism must use corrective glasses when driving at night.
The optical power of a refracting lens is measured in diopters. The more severe the refractive error the more diopters required to correct it.
An eye that can see perfectly without distortion or blurriness may have a prescription that is quantified as zero diopters. Although there is no consensus for what level of astigmatism is considered clinically significant, many people with smaller levels of astigmatism (under 0.75 diopters) may not require correction depending on their visual demands.
In general, astigmatism can be categorized based on severity. Mild astigmatism is often seen as requiring less than 2 diopters of correction, moderate astigmatism as anywhere between 2 to 4 diopters of correction, and severe astigmatism as anything above 4 diopters of correction.
Can astigmatism go away? No, but all in all, this is a common eye condition. Over the years, optometrists have learned how to ease the symptoms, and many people with astigmatism may even forget they have it. Those with astigmatism can see very well with special contact lenses, eyeglasses, or surgery.
If you are having vision problems, you should consult your eye doctor so that they can accurately diagnose your eyes. Schedule an appointment today with the top optometrists at True Eye, and get back to seeing the world in all its glory.
Our mission at True Eye Experts is simple — provide the best possible care to our patients. We make sure we’re doing this a few different ways. Our V-Eye-P Exam is one of the most comprehensive eye exams in the industry. We use state-of-the-art medical technology to screen, diagnose, and treat more conditions than most other providers in the area. We have an extensive collection of designer eyewear that can complement any patient’s face, style, and budget, and our advanced contact lens fitting process can help even “hard-to-fit” patients wear contacts comfortably. Book an appointment online at one of our True Eye Experts locations, conveniently located throughout Central Florida. Have questions or prefer to book over the phone? Give us a call today.
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