What is Astigmatism?

Find out what is astigmatism, symptoms to look for and how to correct it.

Astigmatism is a defect in either the cornea or the lens of the eye resulting in distorted vision.

It is most commonly caused by an irregular curvature in the cornea of the eye which prevents light from refracting properly; when it can't focus light in the right place, the result is blurred vision.

A large percentage of the population has astigmatism but in most cases it is very mild and does not require a person to wear glasses or a special type of contact lens.

In more severe cases, however, it needs to be corrected, along with any relevant short- or long-sighted optical issues.

Symptoms of Astigmatism

eyecomposition The complex eye

How do you know how to identify the symptoms of astigmatism?

In most cases, astigmatism is discovered on a routine eye examination. There are some tell-tale signs:

  • Blurred vision - NB: this can be separate from or in addition to problems of myopia or presbyopia (short-sightedness or long-sightedness)

  • Parts of your vision may be distorted, where the particular "imperfection" on the lens or cornea actually resides.

  • Headaches especially when accompanied by blurry vision.

  • Straining of the eyes to see clearly.

Astigmatism Correction

Astigmatism correction depends partly on which typs of astigmatism you have as it can affect either your cornea (the flat part of the eye that covers your eye lens) or the lens itself.

You should visit an optician to have your eyes tested using what is known as a keratometer and then you can be prescribed the correct contact lenses or eye glasses to correct the uneven curvature of either the cornea or lens that is causing the blurred vision.

If you are short-sighted or long-sighted you will need a prescription to correct both your astigmatism AND your myopia or presbyopia.

The other alternative is to undergo refractive eye surgery with a laser to permanently reshape the surface of the eye. Ugh!

If you're as squemish as me when it comes to lasers, there is also another painless procedure to combat astigmatism called orthokeratology where a special rigid contact lens is worn at night to "re-shape" the lens allowing the wearer to remove them during the day and still see perfectly.

Now we've discovered what is astigmatism, let's see what contact lenses are now available and how much they cost.

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