So, you found out you have astigmatism.
(This whole time I actually thought it was called a “stigmatism”. Anyone else think the same?)
This is one of the most common vision problems and luckily, it can be corrected!
Here are some of your most commonly asked questions about astigmatism.
What is astigmatism?
Astigmatism is not an eye disease, like macular degeneration or glaucoma. Rather, astigmatism is a refractive error. This means that the eye does not focus light at the back of the retina like it should.
What causes astigmatism?
To put it simply, it has to do with the shape of your eye.
It is most commonly caused by an irregularly shaped cornea, which is the clear curved layer covering the front of the eye. The cornea is like a window that lets light into the eye.
A normal cornea is symmetrical and spherical, like a baseball. When light enters the eye of a symmetrical cornea, the light bends evenly and can focus on one spot at the back of the retina. This allows you to see clearly.
When there is astigmatism, the cornea may be flatter and stretched out in certain areas, like a football. This causes light to focus in more than one spot on your retina, leading to blurred vision.
The retina is the back wall of the eyeball which contains light-sensitive cells called rods and cones. The retina creates impulses based on what we are seeing and sends those messages along the optic nerve to the brain. The brain interprets those messages into images.
Astigmatism can also be caused by an irregularly shaped lens.
Hear The Eye Doctors explain, “What is Astigmatism?”
What are the common symptoms of astigmatism?
- Blurred vision (both near and far)
- Distorted vision
- Eye strain
How is astigmatism detected?
Astigmatism can be diagnosed through an eye exam. Pay attention to any changes in your vision and give Dr. Ashcraft a call if you notice any different symptoms.
Astigmatism affects both children and adults. For this reason it is especially important for children to get their eyes checked regularly. Undiagnosed vision conditions may affect your child’s ability to perform at their prime in school and sports.
How can I correct my astigmatism?
Luckily, there are a few options to correct astigmatism.
This is the most common way to help you see your very best. Dr. Ashcraft has a wide selection of children’s and adult frames to choose from. With the correct prescription lenses and a good fitting frame, you will be able to see without the blurriness, squinting, headaches, and eyestrain.
- Contact Lenses
For those who prefer contact lenses to eye glasses, there are uniquely made contacts lenses designed to help correct your astigmatism. Toric contact lenses, gas permeable contact lenses, and hybrid contact lenses are some of the more popular types. Talk to your eye doctor about if you are a good candidate for contacts. You will need to have a contact lens fitting to ensure you find the right lenses for your needs.
- Refractive Surgeries
The purpose of refractive surgery (i.e. photorefractive keratotomy, radial keratotomy, etc) is to permanently change the shape of your cornea so that light can focus properly on the retina.
All About Vision. Astigmatism. http://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/astigmatism.htm
All About Vision. Contact Lenses for Astigmatism: Toric, GP and Hybrid Lenses. http://www.allaboutvision.com/contacts/torics.htm
American Academy of Ophthalmology. What is Astigmatism? https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-astigmatism
Bausch + Lomb. Astigmatism. http://www.bausch.com/your-eye-concerns/vision-correction/astigmatism
National Eye Institute. Facts About Astigmatism. https://nei.nih.gov/health/errors/astigmatism
Youtube. What is Astigmatism? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2unZbcVzrE
Written by Kendra Shiffler