what is astigmatism

What Is Astigmatism? Everything You Need to Know

Did you know that around 12 million people over the age of 40 in the United States suffer from some degree of vision impairment? Astigmatism is a common problem that can interfere with your ability to see, but what is astigmatism exactly?

How can you know if you have astigmatism and what can you do to treat it? Keep reading and learn more about the signs of astigmatism and your treatment options below.

What You Need to Know About Astigmatism

Astigmatism is actually one of the most common eye problems in the world. Most people have some kind of astigmatism, usually a mild case, without even realizing it. Astigmatism is nothing more than an alteration in the shape of your eyeball. 

Of course, an eyeball is meant to be round. The shape of the eye itself is very important for being able to see clearly. This is because the shape of the eye dictates how light shines into the eye and onto the back of the eye where the retina rests. 

In a healthy eye, the light hits the retina due to perfect refraction through the lens of your eye. Once this happens, your brain can take this information and translate it into vision. As you can imagine, a problem will result if the shape of your eye is not round. 

Suppose that your eyeball is more oval in shape. When light filters through the lens of your eye, the light will not be able to shine straight onto your retina. Instead, the light will disperse and the light that does reach the retina will be hazy rather than focused. 

More than that, not all of the light will hit the retina. This will further contribute to the vision problems that result. The result is that your vision will be quite blurry.

The Details

The quality of your vision will depend on how severe your astigmatism is. If your eye is only slightly deformed, then your vision problems will be very slight as well. On the other hand, if your eye is more like the shape of a football instead of a sphere, your sight in that eye may be very blurry. 

Interestingly, while astigmatisms don’t usually go away on their own, they can change in intensity over time. This is because the curve of your eyeball also changes over time. Depending on how the shape of your eye changes over the years, your astigmatism may get better or worse. 

Astigmatism can affect your vision in several ways. For example, you may end up with nearsightedness, which means you can only see things that are close in front of you. On the other hand, you may have farsightedness or a condition that makes it difficult to see things near to you. 

As you can imagine, dealing with astigmatism every day can quickly become frustrating. It may even impair certain aspects of your life, such as your ability to drive. Fortunately, there are several ways to treat astigmatism. 

How to Treat Astigmatism

The first step to treatment is getting an astigmatism diagnosis. If you find that you are having trouble seeing, go to your local eye doctor and get an eye exam. If your doctor thinks that you may have astigmatism, he may run several tests. 

In particular, you will take a visual acuity test. You may also have to do a refraction test. If your doctor finds that you do have astigmatism, he will tell you about the treatment options. The most common treatment option is to get corrective lenses. 

This is true for those who have very mild or very severe cases of astigmatism. Most doctors recommend corrective lenses and most patients prefer these lenses as a form of treatment because they are not invasive and they are easy to acquire. However, some people may not like the way they look with glasses. 

If this is the case for you, you can always opt for contact lenses instead. However, you will need to take care of your lenses and make sure that they’re always clean before you put them in your eyes. Otherwise, you could introduce harmful bacteria to your eyes. 

Other Treatment Options

These days, there is a treatment called ortho-k that has been increasing in popularity in recent years. Ortho-k involves a set of hard contact lenses that are designed specifically to fit the shape of your eyeball. These lenses are hard because they are designed to reshape your eye by pressing on it over a certain amount of time.

Eventually, the shape of your cornea will start to change and start to resemble the shape of the contact lens. This will improve your vision and soon you won’t have to wear the hard contact lenses at all. However, keep in mind that this is not a permanent treatment. 

As mentioned before, the shape of your eye changes over the course of your life. While ortho-k will indeed improve your vision by changing the shape of your eye, the results will only be temporary once you stop wearing the contact lenses. 

There is also laser surgery to treat astigmatism. However, this treatment is usually used for only some astigmatisms since it is an invasive treatment. 

What Is Astigmatism Exactly?

What is astigmatism, you might ask? Astigmatism is a very common condition that involves a physical deformity of your eyeball. This deformity makes it difficult to filter through the lens of your eye and focus on the retina at the back of your eye. 

As a result, your vision will be blurry to some extent. To learn more, don’t hesitate to contact us here.