Astigmatism is a vision abnormality causing blurred vision. The condition is due to either an irregular shaped cornea or the curvature of the lens inside the eye. An irregular shaped cornea or lens prevents light from focusing directly on the retina and results in blurred vision at any distance.
It is a very common condition and most people have it to some degree. In its slight form, vision remains unaffected and no treatment is required. But a more serious form of astigmatism causes distorted or blurred vision, general eye discomfort and headaches.
Astigmatism frequently occurs with other vision ailments such as nearsightedness (myopia) and farsightedness (hyperopia).
The cause of astigmatism is unknown. It is usually present from birth and may be deemed hereditary. As a child grows, it can change by decreasing or worsening over time.
How is Astigmatism Treated?
You will need to see your optometrist for a comprehensive optometric examination, which includes testing for astigmatism. Depending on its condition, your doctor can provide eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct it.
Another way of treating astigmatism is to use a painless procedure called orthokeratology. It involves wearing a series of specially designed rigid gas permeable contact lenses (RGPs) that gradually reshape the curvature of the cornea.
Laser surgery can also treat some types of astigmatism. By removing a small amount of eye tissue, the surgical procedure changes the shape of the cornea. This is carried out by using a highly focused laser beam on the surface of the eye.
Individuals with astigmatism are fortunate in having a wide range of options available to treat the condition. In consultation with your optometrist, you can select the treatment that best meets your visual and lifestyle needs.