Have you or a family member been diagnosed with astigmatism? This is a very common eye condition that a majority of people will experience at some point in their lives. It’s typically associated with nearsightedness or farsightedness. Depending on the severity of it, it can impact your vision slightly by causing blurriness, or it can lead to more distortions and discomfort. Read on to learn more about the main cause of astigmatism, how it can impact your vision and what you can do to treat it.
What Is Astigmatism?
The cornea and lens inside the eye enable us to see objects and the world around us clearly. But when the cornea is irregularly shaped, it bends light in a different way, which impacts our ability to focus. This can lead to distorted, blurred vision.
What Causes Astigmatism?
This condition can be caused by a few different factors:
Genetics plays a big role in this condition. The refractive error that ends up distorting vision is caused when the cornea forms an oval-like shape instead of the proper round shape that it’s supposed to be in. So if you have a family history of it, there is a good chance it will be passed on to you or your children. Astigmatism can commonly develop right from birth, which is why it’s important to have children undergo an eye examination early on to detect any irregularities and have them treated.
If you experience an injury to the eye, this can also lead to astigmatism. When there’s a lot of pressure placed on the eyelid or if blunt trauma occurs, this can cause scarring to develop along the cornea.
In some cases, eye surgery, such as treatment for cataracts, can induce the onset of residual astigmatism. This can be influenced by factors like the patient’s healing ability and response, and whether scarring and fibrosis occur during this process.
Keratoconus, which is a rare corneal disease and degenerative disorder, can cause the cornea to progressively thin out, leading to a cone shaped cornea and fuzzy vision. This can be more severe since it can’t be corrected with glasses and may even lead to blindness over time. However, a corneal transplant can be a potentially effective treatment. This condition is generally rare.
How Is Astigmatism Diagnosed?
Your optometrist will perform a number of tests to thoroughly examine your vision for any signs of astigmatism or other eye conditions. This includes a dilated eye exam by placing drops in the eyes to widen and view the pupil. This will allow them to look inside the eye for any irregularities. They will also perform a visual acuity test to analyze the clarity of your vision at a distance and close up. They’ll test your peripheral vision to inspect your ability to see objects located off to the side. A pupil response test and tonometry test will typically be conducted as well to measure the pressure within the eyes and how they respond to light.
How Is It Treated?
In most mild cases where the astigmatism isn’t severe, no treatment will be needed since there usually aren’t any noticeable symptoms that will impact the vision. However, in other scenarios where symptoms are present, it can be treated in a number of ways, depending on each unique circumstance. Corrective glasses, contact lenses, and laser refractive surgery are the most common methods of treatment.
Having your eyes checked at least once each year is the best way to protect them and take care of your vision. Contact us at Laurier Optical to book an eye exam for you and your family.