What is astigmatism?
One of the most common questions we field is, “what is astigmatism?” Astigmatism is actually one of the most misunderstood types of vision problems. In fact, most people have some degree of astigmatism without even knowing it. It is a type of refractive error that is marked by an irregularity in the actual shape of an individual’s cornea.
When this happens, it causes the eye to have a difficult time focusing on the light equally, leading to distorted or blurry vision. While many people are born with astigmatism, this is a condition that can develop over time. This is why it is so important you come into First Eye Care McKinney at least once a year for a comprehensive eye exam. This exam will allow us to get a closer look at the various components of your eye, determining if there is any sign of a vision problem like astigmatism.
What Causes Astigmatism
Generally, astigmatism is caused by an irregularly shaped cornea that happened at birth. The cornea should be round like a ball, but people who have astigmatism have a cornea that looks more like an egg or oval. Other individuals may develop astigmatism because the lens is distorted inside the eye, which is called a lenticular astigmatism.
Because astigmatism usually shows up early on, it is extremely important that your child comes in for a vision exam as soon as possible. The earlier astigmatism is detected, the more comfortable your child will be. There are numerous corrective options – such as glasses and contacts – that will help with astigmatism and allow you or your child to see clearly and comfortably.
Typically, individuals with astigmatism will have vision that is blurry or distorted – either just slightly or more severely. Other symptoms of astigmatism include:
- Eye strain
- Eye irritation and discomfort
The Different Types of Astigmatism
Now that we’ve touched on what astigmatism is, it’s time to look at the three primary types. Before we do so, it is important to understand that the eye is divided into different meridians. These meridians are basically lines that connect the eye. For our purposes today, the meridians that can contribute to astigmatism are called the principal meridians.
Here’s a look at the three most common types of astigmatism:
- Myopic astigmatism – When one or both principal meridians are nearsighted, it could result in myopic astigmatism, which is quite typical.
- Hyperopic astigmatism – This type of astigmatism is diagnosed in individuals who are farsighted in either one or both principal meridians.
- Mixed astigmatism – Mixed astigmatism happens when one principal meridian is nearsighted and the other is farsighted.
How to Correct Astigmatism
As soon as you have been diagnosed with astigmatism and know which type it is, we can start to talk about your correction options. Treatment will depend on how severe your astigmatism is and the type. In most cases, glasses with a sphero-cylinder lens for astigmatism-specific contact lenses will be recommended.
If you have questions about astigmatism or would like to learn more about your options, please do not hesitate to contact First Eye Care McKinney today and schedule an appointment.