Some people are born with perfect (or at least close to perfect) vision. Not everyone is quite so fortunate, however. There are plenty of issues that impact vision. Some are the natural result of aging. Others may be due to illness. Still others, like astigmatism, are due to structural abnormalities in the eye. So how does astigmatism affect vision?
What Is Astigmatism?
To understand how astigmatism affects vision, it helps to first understand what astigmatism is. Astigmatism is a term used to refer to an eye that has a more irregularly curved shape than normal. Normal eyes are round like a basketball. Eyes with astigmatism, on the other hand, are shaped more like an American football. This causes the light entering the eye to bend unevenly, preventing it from focusing properly on your retina. As a result, vision clarity is negatively impacted at virtually all distances. Most cases of astigmatism are caused by an irregular cornea shape (also called corneal astigmatism), though some are caused by irregularities in the shape of your lens (also called lenticular astigmatism).
What Are the Symptoms of Astigmatism?
Astigmatism affects vision in a few ways. Blurred vision is the most common symptom of astigmatism. You may struggle to see small details or read words on signs. Other symptoms include seeing halos or glare around lights or squinting to see clearly. People with astigmatism may also experience headaches, fatigue, or eye strain. Children with astigmatism may squint, rub their eyes, or have frequent headaches. Parents should watch for these symptoms, as children may not realize there is anything wrong with their vision.
How Is Astigmatism Diagnosed?
Astigmatism is best diagnosed by an eye specialist like those at Davis Vision Center. There are a few different tests that can diagnose astigmatism. Most people have experienced a visual acuity test at some point. That’s the test where you look at a chart of letters or symbols on a wall during an eye exam to test your vision. A refraction test may be used to measure how light bends and focuses as it enters your eye. A keratometry test may be used to measure the curve of your cornea. This test uses a special microscope with an adjustable light beam. By adjusting the beam’s thickness and brightness, the eye specialist can see the layers and parts of your eye. These tests help determine if you have astigmatism, and to what degree. At Davis Vision Center, we also have automated instruments to measure astigmatism.
How Is Astigmatism Treated?
Minor cases of astigmatism may not need treatment. For those that do, contacts and glasses are common go-to treatment options. They’re pretty user-friendly choices and fairly affordable. While they help you see clearly, they don’t actually correct astigmatism though. For that, you’ll need eye surgery, such as LASIK eye surgery. This surgery uses lasers to correct the structural issues in your eyes so the light hits your retina properly.
Understanding more about astigmatism makes it easier to understand how it affects vision. It also lends to a better understanding of treatment options. If you think you may have astigmatism, don’t resign yourself to poor, blurry vision for the rest of your life. Come see the vision specialists at Davis Vision Center for a consultation. We’ll help you figure out what treatment options make the most sense for you so you can live your life seeing as clearly as possible.
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