It is very common for people to have an astigmatism which occurs when the eye is not perfectly circular and can cause blurry vision if it hasn’t been properly corrected.
Not all eyes are perfect circles, sometimes they are more oval shaped. If a person has an irregular shape or curvature of the cornea (the clear part that covers the surface of the eye) or lens inside the eye then it results in an astigmatism which is quite common. In a round eye, or in an eye without astigmatism, the cornea and lens allow the light to focus at a single point on the retina. If there is an astigmatism, then the cornea or lens is more elliptical which causes the light either to focus before or after the retina. It is common to have astigmatism along with other vision conditions such as nearsightedness or farsightedness. Together, these vision conditions are called ‘refractive errors’ because they affect how the eyes bend or ‘refract’ incoming light. People with astigmatism tend to require a more specific prescription for glasses or contact lenses which allows light to bend properly on the shape of their eye. There is an added component of a prescription for glasses or contact lenses called the cylinder, which is customized to correct an astigmatism.
Some people don’t notice any symptoms while others who have astigmatism could experience any of the following:
These symptoms are not necessarily caused by astigmatism, as they could be caused by other health or vision conditions. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please schedule an appointment with your eye doctor. You will have a comprehensive eye exam in which a proper diagnosis will be provided.
Astigmatism is generally a condition people are born with and is inherited. It can also be developed due to an eye disease, injury or surgery. Astigmatism can be caused by a degenerative eye disorder called keratoconus which is when the cornea (the clear part that covers the surface of the eye) becomes thinner and more cone-shaped.
There are two types of astigmatism, each with their own cause due to the anatomy of the eye:
Astigmatism can occur in people of all ages from children to adults. People with the following conditions may be more prone to develop astigmatism:
If you are experiencing unclear vision or any symptoms of astigmatism, such as headaches, eye strain or irritation please schedule an eye exam. Your eye doctor will be able to diagnose an astigmatism or the relevant cause for these symptoms and will provide the proper treatment. Children and many adults will not notice symptoms of astigmatism so it’s very important to go for routine eye exams from a young age so that any vision or eye conditions can be detected and corrected early on.