AustinPUG Health

AustinPUG Health

Terms like near- or farsightedness are easy to understand and, in comparison, astigmatism might sound intimidating. Before you run away in fright, know this: astigmatism is not as scary as it sounds.

The terms “astigmatism” and “astigmia,” when broken down to their Greek roots, mean “without a point or spot,” meaning the eye cannot focus on a specific spot.

What is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism A Beginners Guide to AstigmatismAstigmatism and problems with “sightedness” are closely related: they all have to do with refractive problems in the cornea or the lens of the eye.

In healthy eyes, light comes through the cornea and is bent, or refracted, onto the retina at the back of the eye, producing the image you see.

Sometimes, however, the cornea or lens doesn’t curve properly. This makes the image on the retina come out blurry. With nearsightedness, close-up objects are clear, but distant objects are blurry. With farsightedness, it’s the opposite. With astigmatism, everything is blurry.

There are two primary types of astigmatism: corneal astigmatism and lenticular astigmatism.

  1. 1.      Corneal Astigmatism

The cornea is the foremost part of the eye, the clear covering in front of the iris, pupil, and lens. Ideally, the cornea is a perfect sphere.

In people with astigmatism, the cornea is more oblong or oval shaped, though there are many variations of corneal imperfections.

Corneal astigmatism is generally congenital, meaning present at birth. Some studies point to hereditary causes for corneal astigmatism, though there are other causes as well, such as keratoconus, a disorder where the cornea gradually changes shape over time.

  1. 2.      Lenticular Astigmatism

If the cornea has no problems, the issue may be with the lens of the eye. Often, people with diabetes develop lenticular astigmatism. Over time, the high levels of blood sugar change the shape of the lens.

Lenticular astigmatism will generally fade as a patient undergoes treatment for his or her diabetes. The diabetes treatment will regulate blood sugar levels, and the lens of the eye will return to its normal shape.

Your eye doctor will be able to tell which type of astigmatism you have, and advise you on the best treatment to fix it.

Symptoms of Astigmatism

The first symptom of astigmatism is obvious, and has already been stated: everything is blurry. Here are a few more things to watch out for if you think you might be at risk:

  • Frequent squinting
  • Headaches
  • Eye strain
  • Sensitivity to light

If you have any of these symptoms and think you might have astigmatism, be sure to contact your eye doctor in Edmonton, or wherever you may live. Your doctor will be able to tell for sure if you have astigmatism, or near- or far-sightedness, and can prescribe treatment.

Treatment Options

There are two simple ways to treat astigmatism: corrective lenses or refractive surgery.

  1. 1.      Corrective Lenses

You have two options for corrective lenses: eyeglasses or contact lenses. With eyeglasses, you simply need to choose the frames you like the best, and your eye doctor can provide the lens prescription you need.

If you choose contact lenses, you have more options. Soft lenses are the general option, but you may need harder, gas permeable lenses. Your doctor will tell you which is best for your situation.

  1. 2.      Refractive Surgery

If you have had glasses or contacts for a long time, or simply have no desire to ever wear them, you might be able to get refractive or laser surgery instead. Your doctor will clear you for this procedure by making sure you have no retinal problems, corneal scars, or eye diseases.

If you’ve ever heard the word “astigmatism” and thought it means major vision problems, you can rest easy. Astigmatism is one of the most common vision problems, and is relatively easy to treat.

About the author : Drew Kobb, in addition to studying civil law, loves long distance running and considers himself a health and fitness enthusiast. His interests range all over the medical field, doing research at sites like Optometrists’ Clinic Inc.
Image : source


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