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 for corneal astigmatism.
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 and can focus light rays correctly onto the retina. Astigmatism can exist on its own or with another refractive error like nearsightedness or farsightedness.
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. Like other refractive errors, it is simply caused by a misshapen cornea that leads to blurred vision.
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. Your eye doctor will be able to appropriately diagnose 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 rays are 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, corrective lenses like toric lenses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery (LASIK) will easily correct it.
8. Worsening Vision
If astigmatism symptoms aren’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 treat astigmatism and correct blurry vision, both permanent and temporary:
• LASIK eye surgery reshapes the cornea to its correct roundness.
• Glasses or contact lenses 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.
Schedule an appointment today to learn more about astigmatism treatments in New Jersey.