Astigmatism: What Exactly is This Condition

Many people have heard the term but, unless you have this condition, it’s may be a mystery. Astigmatism is a common condition that affects the eyes. In fact, a majority of people have astigmatism to some degree. If the condition is minor and doesn’t cause symptoms, treatment is usually not necessary. When the astigmatism is more serious, however, treatment from an eye doctor can help. Here is a closer look at this very common eye condition.

Causes of Astigmatism

People with astigmatism usually have either farsightedness or nearsightedness. These conditions, along with astigmatism, are called refractive errors due to how they interfere with the eyes’ ability to refract, or bend, light as it enters the eye.

In most cases, this condition results from an irregularly shaped cornea. Under normal circumstances, the cornea is shaped like a tennis ball, meaning it is perfectly round. With astigmatism, the cornea takes on more of a football shape. The result is one section of the cornea has more of a curve than other sections. This interferes with light refraction in the eye. There are some cases where the lens in the eye is irregularly shaped, and not the cornea, leading to astigmatism.

A Closer Look at Your Cornea and Lens

Both eye components are responsible for ensuring your eye can focus images. Under normal circumstances, all light that enters your eye is refracted so that the retina has a sharply focused image. However, if the cornea or lens has an irregular shape, this causes rays of light to have an uneven focus.

The most common symptom is distorted or blurry vision. Other symptoms include headaches and eyestrain.

Astigmatism Types

There are three main types of this eye condition:

  • Myopic astigmatism: At least one meridian (section of your cornea) is nearsighted.
  • Mixed astigmatism: One meridian is farsighted and the other meridian is nearsighted.
  • Hyperopic astigmatism: At least one meridian is farsighted.

Astigmatism Treatment

Treating astigmatism means addressing the abnormal curve of the cornea to promote improved vision. Corrective lenses are the most common treatment because they work to counteract an uneven cornea curvature. Lasik can also work to reshape the eye’s surface to reduce the abnormal curvature.

Remember Your Annual Eye Exams

Seeing an eye doctor annually helps to diagnose astigmatism before it starts to cause symptoms. Since this condition typically starts during childhood, it is important for kids to have regular eye exams so that it can be diagnosed early.

Over 30 Years of Improving Vision

Dr. Gosheh and the Advanced Eye Medical team have been using Lasik to correct astigmatism and other eye conditions for over 30 years. If Lasik isn’t an option for your vision need, we also have a full service practice for all of your vision needs — including an in-house optometrist offering a wide selection of frames for all face types. Contact us by clicking here to schedule your eye exam and consultation to determine the best treatment to correct your astigmatism.