17 Jan 5 Facts You Need to Know About Astigmatism
If you notice you have unfocused vision, headaches, and fatigue, there is a chance that you could have astigmatism. While you may have heard this term used before, what exactly does astigmatism entail? Don’t worry! This condition may sound serious, but it is in fact treatable. Continue reading to learn more about astigmatism, and learn how you can determine if you have it.
1. Astigmatism is Caused by Irregularity in the Cornea
Unlike myopia or hyperopia, with astigmatism you can experience unfocused vision from any distance. This is because for those who suffer from astigmatism, the cornea (the transparent surface of the eye) has a more oblong than spherical shape, similar to a football.
When the cornea is perfectly round, light that enters the eye is focused equally on all planes onto the macula, allowing you to see clearly. An irregularly shaped cornea, however, means that when light enters the eye its rays are focused on different locations within the eye… resulting in blurred vision.
2. There is More than One Type of Astigmatism
While astigmatism can affect vision at any range, there is more than one type of astigmatism, and each affects vision differently. Determining which type you suffer from can help determine the best course of treatment.
Myopic Astigmatism – occurs when corneal irregularity makes one or both ocular axes project in front of the retina, similar to myopia (nearsightedness)
Hyperopic Astigmatism – occurs when one or both of eye’s principal meridians focus light behind the retina, similar to hyperopia (farsightedness)
Mixed Astigmatism – the result of one principal meridian being near-sighted, and the other being far-sighted
3. Astigmatism May Be Genetic
The cause of astigmatism is still unclear, but it is likely that it is a genetic trait, as many people with astigmatism are born with it. An oddly shaped eye, similar to your eye colour, is most likely passed down through the generations. While astigmatism could be caused by eye trauma or injury to the eye, it is more likely that there is nothing you could have done to avoid it! The next time you see your parents, be sure to say “thank you” for your unique eye shape!
4. It is Important to Catch Astigmatism Early
While non-life-threatening, astigmatism symptoms can grow worse over time, especially if the eyes are left uncorrected. While deterioration often occurs quite slowly, you will eventually notice that your vision has declined. It is important to catch symptoms early to avoid deterioration, as well as other complications that could come with astigmatism.
In children, especially, astigmatism can lead to more serious, permanent eye conditions. Amblyopia, also known as lazy eye, can develop more easily in children with astigmatism, due to differences in the sharpness of vision between the eyes. Regular eye exams are essential for the early detection of astigmatism, no matter your age.
5. An Optometrist Can Easily Detect Astigmatism
It is often difficult to detect astigmatism on your own, as many symptoms can be easy to miss. The main symptom of astigmatism, blurry vision, can be quite minor and easy to miss. Additionally, accompanying symptoms such as headache and fatigue are common, and could easily be mistaken as a different issue. Daily tasks, such as computer or device use, can cause similar symptoms, and cause you to overlook an astigmatism.
It is important that you remain vigilant when it comes to your eye health and visit your optometrist for regular exams. An optometrist will conduct a comprehensive eye exam, measuring your visual acuity by performing several vision tests. Reading near and at a distance, using lenses to test your eyes’ ability to focus will help your optometrist identify any abnormalities in your eye and vision. They will even be able to perform a corneal topography exam to measure other qualities that are unique to your eyes!
6. Astigmatism is Treatable
If you are diagnosed with astigmatism, do not fret; while astigmatism can cause problems with your vision, it is not an eye disease, and will not affect your overall health. Unlike many eye diseases, it is also treatable! Astigmatism can be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery. The most permanent solution is refractive surgery, as this will reshape your cornea, bringing it a rounder shape allowing increased clarity in your vision. In some cases, if the astigmatism is light, your eye doctor may not recommend corrective lenses at all!
It is important to consult your optometrist to determine whether you have astigmatism, and to determine the proper course of treatment. If you believe that you are suffering from astigmatism, or are having other difficulties with your vision, contact the optometrists at Dr D’Orio Eyecare. To book an appointment visit https://drdorioeyecare.com/book-appointment or call us at 416 656 2020 for our Toronto location, or 416 661 5555 for North York.