Similar to hyperopia and myopia, astigmatism causes objects to appear as blurry and wavy. However, different from farsightedness and nearsightedness, astigmatism can affect visual acuity and clarity at any distance.
Eyestrain, headache, and fatigues are all common symptoms of astigmatism. These symptoms may not necessarily be a result of astigmatism, as they are common in other eye conditions (such as hyperopia and myopia).
It is possible that with astigmatism, the patient may also suffer from myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and presbyopia (aging eyes).
Our Optometrist will be able to diagnose astigmatism through a routine eye exam. It is recommended an eye exam is scheduled if any of these symptoms are experienced.
An imperfectly shaped cornea is the cause of astigmatism. A normal eye is shaped like a sphere, while an eye with astigmatism has a football-like shape. The football-like shape of the eye causes entering light to be refracted more towards one direction than the other. This results in vision obscurities.
Eye exams should be completed annually by patients to ensure they are seeing to the best of their ability. A combination of non-invasive tests will allow our Optometrist to diagnose the patient with astigmatism during an eye exam.
Depending on the severity, astigmatism can be treated using eyeglasses with prescription lenses, refractive surgery (more commonly known as laser eye surgery), or rigid gas permeable contact lenses.
Refractive surgery and rigid gas permeable contact lenses are only required in more severe cases of astigmatism (referred to as irregular astigmatism).
By using prescription lenses, eyeglasses can help correct a patient’s astigmatism. The lenses work by having a stronger light-bending power in one direction to correct the refraction of light caused by the misshaped eye.
There are two treatment options regarding contact lenses: toric lenses, and rigid gas-permeable lenses. Toric lenses are generally used for milder cases of astigmatism. They are known as special soft contact lenses and can be prescribed by the Optometrist. For more severe cases, rigid gas-permeable lenses are prescribed to the patient.
Our Optometrist will be able to best determine the right type of contact lenses for you.
By changing the shape of the cornea, refractive surgery permanently corrects astigmatism. It requires that the patient’s eyes are free from any retinal problems, corneal scars, and disease. Unfortunately, refractive surgery is not a treatment option available to all patients.
Many refractive surgeries exist, and a consultation with our Optometrist should be scheduled to recommend specific treatments based on individual needs.