According to the Canadian association of optometrists, astigmatism is not a disease, rather, a fairly common vision problem that causes distorted or blurred vision, as a result of a variation or disturbance in the shape of your cornea.
If you experience blurring of images, whether at far distances or close by, you may have astigmatism. Other symptoms to look out for include squinting, eye irritation, headaches, fatigue and eye discomfort.
What Causes Astigmatism?
This is a vision condition that occurs when your cornea has an irregular curvature. A cornea of a healthy person is smooth and has an equal curvature in all directions. Light entering the eye is also equally focused in all directions.
If you have astigmatism, the front surface of your cornea has an unequal curvature, curved more in one direction than the other. This means that any light hitting the curved side comes into focus before the light that hits the les curved side of your cornea.
As a result, light is unequally focused; with a more clear focus on one plane and a blurred focus on the other plane, resulting into a distorted vision, as your eye lacks the ability to focus light rays to one point.
Why Are Corneas Shaped Differently?
There has been no major breakthrough in studies conducted to establish why there are differences in the shape of the corneas.
While not all corneas have a perfect curvature, this does not indicate signs of astigmatism. Only a qualified optometrist can fully ascertain whether you are suffering from the condition, after conducting various tests which include vision clarity, near vision and distant vison.
The remedy prescribed depends on the levels of variations in your corneal shape.
How Does Astigmatism Affect Sight?
With astigmatism, your corneal shape is distorted hence your cornea loses its ability to refract light for a clear vision. Only a few light rays are focused into a fine point, leaving the rest out which is why you will experience blurred vision when viewing objects at all distances.
Who Develops Astigmatism?
Eye care experts have established that astigmatism is a very common visual condition, which can be inherited. Just about anyone is prone to developing astigmatism, since we are all born with some degree of the condition, which may remain constant or flare up as your vision develops.
How Is Astigmatism Diagnosed?
Astigmatism can only be detected during a thorough eye examination. Parents and educators should take caution because it’s rarely detected during routine eye screening conducted in schools. If you have any related symptoms, you should consult an optometrist immediately.
How Is Astigmatism Treated?
The course of treatment followed depends on the severity of the condition. If you are suffering from additional symptoms such as headaches, eyestrain and blurred vision, your optometrist will prescribe corrective lenses to enhance your vision.
These prescription lenses are called Toric, and are designed with an additional power element that has the capacity to bend all the light rays onto one direction, resulting into a clear vision.
However, if you have a lower degree of astigmatism, and there are no additional problems such as nearsightedness or farsightedness, then there is no need for prescribed lenses.
We recommend getting regular eye examinations to ensure that you maintain proper vision throughout your lifetime.