Astigmatism - DebunkedAstigmatism is a common type of refractive error that leads to blurred vision. Being a refractive error, it is not an eye disease or eye health problem – It’s simply a problem with how the eye focuses light.
In an eye with astigmatism, light fails to come to a single focus on the retina to produce clear vision. Instead, multiple focus points occur, either in front of the retina, behind it, or both. The light is bent differently depending on where it strikes the cornea and passes through the eyeball.
What’s the difference?
The cornea of a normal eye is curved like a basketball, with the same degree of roundness in all areas. An eye with astigmatism has a cornea that is curved more like a football, with some areas that are steeper or more rounded than others. This can cause images to appear blurry and stretched out.
Most people have some degree of astigmatism. Slight astigmatism usually doesn’t affect vision or require treatment.
How do you get Astigmatism?
People can be born with astigmatism — In fact, most people are born with some degree of astigmatism and they may have it along with other refractive errors: myopia or hyperopia.
While adults with a higher degree of astigmatism may realize their vision isn’t as good as it should be, children who have astigmatism may not be aware that they have this condition, and are unlikely to complain about blurred or distorted vision.
How its Astigmatism treated?
- Eyeglasses. People with astigmatism primarily choose eyeglasses to improve their vision. The eyeglasses contain a special cylindrical lens prescription that compensates for the astigmatism. This provides additional power in specific parts of the lens.
- Contact lenses. Contact Lenses work by becoming the first refractive surface for light rays entering the eye, causing a more precise refraction or focus. In many cases, contact lenses provide clearer vision, a wider field of vision, and greater comfort. They are a safe and effective option if fitted and used properly.
- Orthokeratology. This involves the fitting of a series of rigid contact lenses to reshape the cornea. The patient wears contact lenses for limited periods, such as overnight, and then removes them. People with moderate astigmatism may be able to temporarily obtain clear vision without lenses for most of their daily activities. Orthokeratology does not permanently improve vision. If patients stop wearing the retainer lenses, their vision may return to its original condition.
- Laser and other refractive surgery procedures. Another method for correcting astigmatism is changing the shape of the cornea through refractive or laser eye surgery. While there is more than one type of refractive surgery, specific treatments are recommended on an individual basis. Refractive surgeries require healthy eyes that are free from retinal problems, corneal scars, and any eye disease.
Remember to consult your trusted optometrist to determine the most appropriate next course of action. It is also crucial that children have regular eye exams to detect astigmatism or other vision problems as early as possible. For a range of Toric lenses that we offer, please click here.