If you wear glasses or contacts, then you are probably familiar with the question, “do you have astigmatism?” But perhaps you don’t know if you have it or not, or what it is exactly. Here we’ll be answering questions, going over symptoms, and discussing treatment options.
1. What Is Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is caused by your cornea, the eye’s surface, being irregularly shaped. The cornea is supposed to be perfectly rounded, but eyes with astigmatism are more football shaped. When the cornea is round, it controls how much light enters the eye, thus making it easier to see.
2. What Causes Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is something you are born with, or it can be caused by a traumatic eye injury. Despite what you may have heard, you cannot get astigmatism from sitting too close to the television.
3. Is Astigmatism Genetic?
An oddly-shaped cornea is generally inherited through genetics, so it’s likely that your mother or father also has astigmatism and passed it on to you.
4. Is It Easy to Diagnose on Your Own?
Yes, however some symptoms can be so mild or unrelated that they may go unnoticed until they become worse. For example, headaches and eye fatigue are usually blamed on too much time on a computer, but can actually be symptoms of astigmatism.
5. Early Detection
Catching astigmatism early can prevent more serious complications such as amblyopia, also known as “lazy eye.” This is why it is so important to have your eyes checked every year.
6. Optometrists Can See It
During a vision exam, the doctor will ask you to read letters aloud from a sight distance chart and look through several different lenses to test how much your eyes are able to focus. They may even go so far as to perform a corneal topography exam to further investigate the condition of your eyes.
7. The Three Types of Astigmatism
Myopic: This happens when light is focused before hitting the eye.
Hyperopic: This is when the apex of the eyes can see close up but have complications seeing far away.
Mixed: This happens when the apex of one eye is myopic and the other is hyperopic.
No matter which of these you have, glasses, contacts, or refractive surgery (LASIK) will easily correct it.
8. Worsening Vision
If your astigmatism isn’t corrected with surgery, you will notice your vision getting blurrier with time. But it’s important to know that this doesn’t affect your overall eye health.
9. Depth Perception
Having astigmatism can make it more difficult to tell the distance between two objects and blurs the edges and outlines of all you see, especially if it’s only in one eye.
Treatment for Astigmatism
There are a few ways to correct your vision if you have astigmatism, both permanent and temporary:
• LASIK eye surgery reshapes the cornea to its correct roundness.
• Glasses or contacts are less permanent ways to correct astigmatism.
• Laser vision correction is also a great option if you’re ready to live your life in-focus, regardless of whether you have astigmatism or not.