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What Exactly Is Astigmatism?

Refractive errors that occur when the surface of your eye (cornea) is slightly irregular in shape is called an astigmatism which results in vision being blurred or distorted no matter the distances. Astigmatism is a condition in which the cornea or lens is stretched into an irregular shape. Instead of being round, the corneas with astigmatism are often shaped like a football as opposed to round like a basketball. This causes a refractive error; it distorts light as it is entering the eye. This results in images appearing blurry. It is important to know that astigmatism is not a disease, but is a common refractive error.

What causes astigmatism? When the front surface of the cornea or the lens inside the eye is more oblong than round like a circle, light will not focus properly on the retina that is located at the back of your eye. In some cases, astigmatism may be hereditary or may be a result from such things as pressure on the cornea. If you have blurry vision it doesn’t automatically mean you have astigmatism. It can possibly mean something else so it is recommended to make an appointment to see your eye doctor immediately.

How common is it? There are not many people that do not have astigmatism; most do have a certain level of astigmatism. It is quite rare to have a perfectly shaped corneal surface. Those with small degrees of astigmatism may not even require correction with corrective lenses. However, anything above this will need some sort of corrective lenses.

 What are the signs/symptoms of astigmatism? Even those with mild to moderate levels of astigmatism will usually find they have blurred or distorted vision. They may experience straining of the eyes, migraines, tiredness, unclear vision or distortion at certain times. Both youth with astigmatism and adults may have troubles when reading text.

How is it diagnosed? An eye exam by your eye doctor would include a wide range of tests that would include checking for astigmatism.

Is there anything for Astigmatism Correction? Most levels of astigmatism can be optically corrected with properly prescribed and fitted eyeglasses or contact lenses. Laser eye surgery is another option for those who are candidates. Wavefront technology has helped with Astigmatism Correction, it is recommended to have your laser eye surgery done with Wavefront technology.

Does astigmatism get progressively worse? Astigmatism may change with time. Regular care from an ophthalmologist or optometrist can, however, help to insure that proper vision is maintained.

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