Wouldn’t it be stressful to drive through life with a “warped windshield”? That’s exactly how astigmatism feels. Astigmatism is an eye disorder which occurs due to the irregular curvature of the eye. It prevents light from being focused on the retina properly and blurs your vision. Astigmatism has different extents of affecting people. Medical research shows that astigmatism can be congenital or occur after an eye injury, disease or surgery.
The Two Types Of Astigmatism
Corneal Astigmatism – This is when the cornea is curved improperly. The cornea has a distorted shape that prevents light rays from getting refracted properly.
Lenticular Astigmatism – When the lens of the eye is improperly curved, it is Lenticular Astigmatism. The lens is curved imperfectly so the image reaching the retina is blurred. Lenticular Astigmatism is seen in patients with diabetes, but is reduced once you start treating diabetes.
Symptoms Of Astigmatism
Astigmatism can be diagnosed through various eye check-ups and eye tests, but other indicators are headaches, squinting, fatigue, blurry vision, eyestrain, distorted vision and photophobia – sensitivity to light. A visual acuity test, regular eye tests and use of a Snellen Chart, Keratometer or Astigmatic dial can be used for the diagnoses.
Treatment For Astigmatism
Eye glasses, corrective lenses or refractive surgery are a few ways through which astigmatism can be corrected. Eyeglasses and corrective lenses are the primary means of correcting blurred vision caused by astigmatism, but the best way to improve vision and correct astigmatism is through corrective surgery. There are two types of laser surgery: PRK and LASIK.
- (PRK) or Photorefractive Keratectomy is one of the laser surgery methods to treat astigmatism. The protective layer of the cornea is removed and another laser reshapes the cornea. However, this treatment is known to be painful.
- (LASIK) or Laser in situ keratectomy is a recently developed technology. It has been favored largely because it is less painful. The surgery involves using a laser to make an incision into the cornea and reshaping it with the help of an excimer laser.
Lesser Known Facts Of Astigmatism
Some mild types of this disorder may not affect vision but this is common in young people and women. It is congenital for some people, so the intensity may increase with age.
- It can be treated – Most people do not experience symptoms and hardly require treatment. Prescription glasses and contact lenses are just enough to treat astigmatism in the early stages.
- Diabetes – High blood sugar levels can affect the eye, especially the shape of the lens which helps with the focusing power of the eye. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when tiny blood vessels in the eye are blocked.
- Rubbing can weaken your eyes – Allergies or rubbing vigorously may weaken your eyes because it can distort the shape of the cornea.
- Eye exercises help – Our eyes are muscles and need to be kept in shape. It is important to do the “read and avert gaze” exercise every now and then. You can start by reading and then shifting your gaze to a nearby object and then get back to reading. Doing this repeatedly will strengthen your eye muscles and help you with your ability to focus.
Vision therapy, eye exercises and a healthy diet can be beneficial to treat astigmatism as well as other eyesight conditions like Myopia, Hyperopia and Presbyopia. Though there are alternate measures to curb the problem only an ophthalmologist would know best and will suggest the best possible treatment to you.
Aaron Barriga is the online marketing manager for Insight Vision Center, an Ophthalmology Center in California. With a knack for understanding medical procedures, and an interest in eye and vision health, Aaron loves to share what he knows and what he learns. He blogs to inform readers about the latest eye care technology and other topics related to eye care, especially LASIK. Aaron loves collecting coasters from the different bars and restaurants he visits during his travels.