Astigmatism ExplainedWednesday, February 15th, 2017, 2:06 am
Like nearsightedness or farsightedness, astigmatism is not a disease of the eye but a problem in the way the eye focuses light. This is called a refractive error. Refraction is the bending of light as it passes through one object to another, ultimately converting the light rays into messages that are sent to your brain, which then interprets the messages and converts them to images. When you have astigmatism, light has trouble coming to a single focus on your retina to provide clear vision. Instead, the eye has multiple points of focus either on the front surface of the eye or the lens inside the eye.
The most common signs of astigmatism are blurred vision, eyestrain, squinting, problems with night driving and headaches. Whether you are a child or an adult, you can still be affected by astigmatism. However, some individuals with mild astigmatism may not notice a marked change in their vision.
A comprehensive eye exam, with your eyes dilated, is the most common way astigmatism is found. That’s why it’s important to schedule regular eye exams to help detect astigmatism early on, especially if you notice any changes in your vision.
Three common ways to treat astigmatism are:
- Glasses. Perhaps the simplest treatment method, eyeglasses can be prescribed by your eye doctor upon a routine eye exam to correct astigmatism and help your vision.
- Contacts. This safe and effective option works by providing a more exact refraction, leading to clearer vision, as well as a wider field of vision. Talk to your doctor about contact lenses for your astigmatism. They don’t work for everyone, but they may be right for you.
- Surgery. Refractive surgery can permanently change the shape of your cornea to make it rounder, thus restoring proper focus to the eye. If you are told you need refractive surgery, ask your eye care professional about the many types of refractive surgeries available in order to determine the procedure that’s most practical and effective.