What Is Astigmatism: Symptoms, Causes And Treatment

Astigmatism is a common eye issue that millions of people suffer from. It occurs especially when the cornea, i.e., the eye’s transparent front portion, is curved or irregular. As a result, light refracts irregularly, resulting in hazy or distorted vision at all distances. You might suffer from astigmatism signs like headaches, eye strain, and a lack of fine detail vision. In this article, you can learn about astigmatism’s symptoms, causes, and available treatments. This article will give you the knowledge you need to comprehend better and take care of your eye health, whether you have just received an astigmatism diagnosis or are just curious about the condition.


What Is Astigmatism?

An astigmatism is a form of refractive error that modifies how the light enters the eye, thereby resulting in blurry or distorted vision. A vision that is distorted or blurry is a frequent symptom of astigmatism. It is caused, as a side-effect, of the cornea, i.e., the transparent front portion of the eye, being irregularly shaped, thereby blocking the accurate entry of light.

When the eye’s transparent front surface, i.e. the cornea, is irregularly shaped, the disease is astigmatism. It results in uneven light refraction, causing blurry vision or distorted eyesight. Astigmatism can be present alone or with other eye conditions like nearsightedness (myopia) or farsightedness. (hyperopia).

For a thorough eye examination to diagnose astigmatism and decide the best course of treatment for your particular requirements, you must visit an eye doctor. Astigmatism occasionally coexists with other vision issues, such as myopia or hyperopia, necessitating additional care.

What Causes Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is believed to be brought on by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, though its precise cause is still unknown. Astigmatism may result from various factors, including:

  • Irregular cornea or lens form: Astigmatism can develop if the cornea or lens is irregularly curved, resulting in uneven light refraction.
  • Eye injury: Eye disease such as a condition called keratoconus or injury to the eye can alter the shape of the cornea or lens and lead to astigmatism.
  • Keratoconus: Keratoconus is a disease that causes the cornea to thin and bulge, which can eventually result in astigmatism.
  • Eye surgery: Astigmatism can also be the resultant side-effect of surgeries such as cataract surgery or corneal transplant.
  • Heredity: Astigmatism can be an inherited eye problem from direct family members.

What Are Astigmatism Symptoms?

The symptoms of astigmatism can vary for each person, depending on the severity of the condition. It can cause a variety of symptoms along the lines of:

  • Vision that is blurry or distorted: It may be challenging to see clearly because objects appear blurred vision at any distance.
  • Eye strain or fatigue: Astigmatism can lead to eye strain or fatigue, especially after prolonged reading or internet use.
  • Chronic headaches: Chronic headaches may indicate astigmatism, especially if they follow visual activities.
  • Vision problems at night: Astigmatic individuals may have difficulty seeing in dimly lit situations, such as when traveling at night.
  • Squinting: By temporarily altering the shape of the eye, squinting can assist with vision.
  • Eye discomfort: Astigmatism may irritate or create discomfort in the eyes, especially if glasses or contact lenses are worn.

How Does Astigmatism Affect Vision?

A blurry or distorted vision can result from astigmatism, which causes light to refract light irregularly. Because of this, it might be challenging to see fine details, read a small print, or see objects from a distance. Astigmatism can lead to eye strain, headaches, and exhaustion when doing activities that demand sustained eye focus.

When Should I Have My Eyes Examined?

An eye exam is advised every two years for adults or more frequently if there are any changes in vision or other eye-related symptoms. The first eye test for infants should take place at six months of age, and then they should have regular exams as directed by their eye doctor.

What Are The Types Of Astigmatism?

Corneal astigmatism comes in three primary forms:

  1. Nearsightedness is brought on by myopic astigmatism, which develops when the eye is oval-shaped.
  2. Farsightedness is brought on by hyperopic astigmatism, which develops when the eye is oval-shaped.
  3. When the cornea is oval-shaped in two distinct directions, it is called mixed astigmatism, which results in both nearsightedness and farsightedness.

How Is Astigmatism Diagnosed?

A thorough eye examination, which includes several tests to assess the shape and function of the eyes, is usually how astigmatism is identified. The following are some typical techniques used to identify astigmatism:

  • Visual acuity test: This procedure evaluates your ability to read characters or symbols on an eye chart from a distance. To check if you have astigmatism in one or both eyes, your eye doctor may ask you to cover one eye.
  • Refraction test: This examination reveals the sort and extent of your astigmatism. A phoropter, a device with various lenses, is used by your eye specialist to ascertain the best lens power to correct your vision.
  • Keratometry: This examination measures the cornea’s curvature, which is usually the cause of astigmatism in most cases. Your eye specialist will measure the shape of your cornea using a specialized tool called a keratometer.
  • Topography: The cornea’s topography can be used to identify more complex astigmatism because it gives a more precise map of the cornea’s curvature.
  • Retinoscopy: This procedure measures how much astigmatism a person has by shining a light into their eye and watching how the retina reflects the light.

After completing these exams, your eye doctor can determine the sort and degree of astigmatism you have and suggest the best course of action.

How Is Astigmatism Treated?

There are numerous ways to address astigmatism, including:

  • Glasses: By correcting for the irregular corneal or lens form, prescription eyeglasses with a cylindrical lens can reduce astigmatism.
  • Contact soft lenses: Rigid gas permeable or soft contacts can correct astigmatism, but it’s crucial to find the perfect corrective lenses for the best vision and comfort.
  • Surgery: Astigmatism can be treated, by reshaping the eye through refractive surgeries like LASIK or PRK.
  • Orthokeratology: To briefly reshape the cornea and correct vision, orthokeratology use specialized contact lenses worn at night.

Do not hesitate to contact your doctor for any clarification that you might have.