Understanding Astigmatism: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

published at 18 May 2023
reading time 4 min read

Astigmatism is a prevalent eyesight disorder that many people experience worldwide. Even though astigmatism is common, some people might not fully comprehend what it is or how it can affect their vision. We’ll go into the specifics of astigmatism in this blog post, including its causes, symptoms, and various treatments. You can manage and enhance your eyesight by making wise decisions if you have a better grasp of astigmatism.


Astigmatism: What is it?

The cornea or lens of the eye has an uneven shape in astigmatism, a common refractive problem that results in blurry or distorted vision. It could start at birth or appear later in life as a result of eye trauma or other eye diseases. Surgical procedures, contact lenses, and eyeglasses are examples of corrective measures.


Causes of Astigmatism

Many factors can contribute to astigmatism. The cornea, the transparent front surface of the eye, has an uneven shape, which is one common explanation. Genetic factors may contribute to this abnormality, making it possible for it to be present from birth. Astigmatism can occasionally appear later in life as a result of conditions such certain eye disorders, corneal scarring, and eye injuries.

Astigmatism can also be caused by other things including complications from eye surgery or keratoconus, which causes the cornea to thin over time.


Recognizing the Symptoms

Understanding astigmatism’s symptoms is essential for early diagnosis and effective care. Blurred or distorted vision at various distances, trouble with small details, eye strain, headaches, and squinting are common symptoms. Those with astigmatism may also feel uncomfortable or worn out after performing extensive visual tasks. To find out if astigmatism or another vision disorder is present, it’s crucial to arrange an eye exam with a licensed eye care specialist if you experience any of these symptoms or changes in your vision.

Diagnose Astigmatism

Astigmatism is normally diagnosed through comprehensive eye exams performed by eye care specialists. These examinations could involve refraction tests to pinpoint the precise prescription required for clear vision, corneal mapping to evaluate the shape of your cornea, and visual acuity tests to gauge how sharp your eyesight is. If astigmatism is present, the eye doctor will review the findings and give an astigmatism diagnosis. To identify and manage astigmatism, regular eye exams are necessary. This enables prompt treatment and management of the problem.


Corrective Options for Astigmatism

Glasses and contact lenses made expressly to correct the irregular curvature of the cornea or lens are two corrective solutions for astigmatism. Toric lenses on eyewear correct astigmatism and offer clear vision. Both soft and rigid gas permeable toric contact lenses are also available. To restructure the cornea and lessen astigmatism, surgical procedures like LASIK or PRK may be suggested in specific circumstances.


What Do These Numbers Mean for an Astigmatism Prescription?

Diopters are used to measure astigmatism. Zero diopter equals a flawless eye with no astigmatism. The average person has astigmatism between 0.5 and 0.75 diopters. For clear vision, those with a measurement of 1.5 or higher frequently require contacts or glasses.

The final two of the three digits on your prescription for contacts or glasses are astigmatism:

The spherical shape shows your near- or farsightedness. You are farsighted if you have a plus sign, and nearsighted if you have a minus sign. The prescription is stronger the higher the number.

Cylinder gauges how much astigmatism you have or how flat or crooked your corneal surface is. The more astigmatism you have, the more your eye resembles an American football rather than a basketball.

The location of the astigmatism on the cornea is referred to as the axis, which is expressed in degrees. The range of axis numbers is 0 to 180. The 90 degree axis or line, or north to south if you imagine the eye as a map hanging on a wall, runs up and down on the eye. East to west, the 180-degree line crosses the pupil.


Photo Credit: JNJvisionpro