Is your sight starting to cause you concern? Have you noticed that certain things look wavy or just off? Or, maybe you’ve been experiencing headaches more frequently than normal. If these sound familiar, you may have astigmatism and not even know it.

The condition affects millions of people all across the globe. In fact, nearly a quarter of all adults over the age of fifty have it, and approximately half of adults over the age of sixty are living with it. So there’s a good chance that if you’re in one of these age brackets, you may have the condition and not even know it.

Children who are born with astigmatism often have no clue that they have a vision problem, that is until they see an eye doctor. To find out if you have astigmatism and what you can do about it, read on.

What is it Exactly?

The surface of the eye is normally round in shape, but there are people who have oval shapes instead that are similar to a rugby ball. When the cornea or lens of your eye has an irregular shape like this, it can affect how light reaches your retina. This causes refractive errors and makes light rays strike the retina at different points instead of at one single point.

What are the Symptoms?

The most common symptoms include distorted vision that appears in waves, blurry vision when trying to focus on objects close or far, eye strain, headaches, and discomfort when reading. In early stages, you likely won’t realize that you have a vision problem. Children often don’t notice they have any symptoms. That’s why it’s important to have an eye exam from your doctor or optometrist every year or other year.

How Does it Develop?

No one is quite sure yet how the irregular shape starts to develop. Genetics and development at birth are likely to play a role. However, you can also develop astigmatism after an eye injury, surgery, or even disease.

What Can You Do?

As mentioned above, it’s essential to see your eye doctor for a general eye exam. They can help diagnose whether or not you have astigmatism or any other eye condition that needs treatment. The sooner you get treatment, especially for children, the better your chances are of avoiding a long-term vision problem.  

How is it Corrected?

If you are diagnosed with having regular astigmatism, it can be easily corrected with glasses or contact lenses. In most cases, your optometrist will prescribe a special type of contact lens called Toric, which can bend light in one direction more than the other. If you have a more severe condition, your doctor may suggest gas-permeable rigid contact lenses or refractive surgery.  

If it’s been a while since you’ve had your regular eye exam, now’s the time! Come visit us at Laurier Optical for more information.