Has your eye doctor told you that you have an astigmatism? It’s nothing to worry about – in fact, it’s very common. Read on for some information about what an astigmatism is, how it affects your vision, and how your doctor can help to correct it.
What is an astigmatism?
An astigmatism is just an irregular curvature of the eye’s cornea or lens. Both of these parts of the eye work to focus light to help you see, and if they aren’t curved in just the right way the light isn’t refracted properly. The ideal eye shape is perfectly round, so that the light coming in comes in evenly. In patients with an astigmatism, the cornea is shaped more like a football, which means that eyes can only partially focus. Astigmatism is very common in patients with nearsightedness or farsightedness. Astigmatism can result in blurry vision, eye discomfort, eyestrain, and headaches. It can also mean a lot of squinting, in an effort to improve vision and to see more clearly, and you may have trouble seeing in dim light or at night. Researchers aren’t exactly sure why one person has a curved cornea or lens and another person doesn’t. Many times it is an inherited condition, but it can also develop after an eye surgery, eye disease, or an eye injury. Often, it can come on very slowly.
How is astigmatism treated?
Surgery such as LASIK can correct some cases of astigmatism by reshaping the eye. However, it can also be treated with glasses or contacts – in the past, rigid contacts had to be prescribed for patients with astigmatism, but now there are soft lenses that can correct the disorder. Some people might have such a mild case that no treatment is needed – the prescribed glasses or contacts might cause more problems than the astigmatism does!
If you just aren’t seeing as well as you used to, you may have an astigmatism, but you don’t have to live with it! The Eye Care Institute can help you to see better. Contact the office in Santa Rosa or Petaluma, at (707) 546-9800 for an appointment today!