If your eye doctor or ophthalmologist has diagnosed you with astigmatism, you may have a lot of questions about what astigmatism is, what causes it, what you can do to control its symptoms, and how you can prevent future complications with your vision.
Astigmatism is a common condition that occurs when either the cornea is irregularly shaped or there is a curvature of the lens. This irregular shape keeps light from coming into focus at a single point on the retina. To put it simply, the cornea and the lens work together like a projector lens, and the retina is a structure inside the eye that acts like a projector screen. Having astigmatism means that the “projector lens” is not focusing clearly on the “projector screen.”
The first symptom of astigmatism is often blurry vision. Sometimes an astigmatism sufferer will complain of headaches, eye strain or other issues, even if their vision appears otherwise normal.
Here are some key facts you need to know about astigmatism and your eye health.
Fact 1: Astigmatism is Very Common
Astigmatism is a very common eye problem and one that most people have to a certain extent. If you have been diagnosed with astigmatism, you are not alone.
In fact, astigmatism is often present from birth. And since some cases of astigmatism are very mild, those who have the condition may not even know they have it. Sometimes the symptoms can take a long time to become apparent.
This is one reason why it is important for everyone, no matter what the age, to schedule an annual eye exam. You may not be able to tell you have astigmatism—especially during the early stages—but your eye doctor can take a look and make a definitive diagnosis.
Even more importantly, your eye doctor can develop a comprehensive treatment plan that may include surgery, corrective lenses, ongoing monitoring, or a combination of these. Professional eye care is always important, but it is even more critical for those with astigmatism.
Fact 2: The Cause of Astigmatism May Be Unknown
Eye doctors have known about astigmatism for quite some time, and they have long recognized that the headaches, eye strain, and blurry vision symptoms are related to the shape of the cornea. What is sometimes still unclear, however, is why certain individuals develop a high amount of astigmatism, while others do not.
Medical professionals do know that astigmatism appears to have some hereditary factors, so if you have a close relative who has developed a high amount of astigmatism, you should mention it to your eye doctor. Even if you do not have astigmatism now, you could be at increased risk for this common condition as you get older.
Fact 3: Astigmatism May Worsen Over Time
The shape of your cornea can slowly change as you get older, resulting in your vision beginning to deteriorate. This change happens naturally in some people and can contribute to changes in vision over time.
For those with high amounts of astigmatism, however, these normal eye changes might be even worse. You can counteract uneven curvatures of your cornea through eyeglasses or contact lenses, but you might not be taking care of the problem at its source.
If you are ready to tackle your astigmatism head on, laser eye surgery is a solution that many people turn to in order to reshape the cornea. Refractive surgery, like LASIK, is safe and effective, with a long track record of success treating astigmatism and other common eye afflictions. One common myth is that LASIK cannot correct astigmatism, but that is simply not true.
At our state-of-the-art eye care center, our eye surgeons guide you through every step of the process, from diagnosing your condition to scheduling the laser eye surgery that could give you your sight back.
Contact Hill Vision Services to Schedule an Eye Exam
We invite you to contact our experienced cornea doctor about your specific case and how contact lenses, glasses, or LASIK surgery can help. When you call and make an appointment, you can meet with an eye doctor who will recommend the right treatment option for you!