Millions of individuals all around the world suffer with astigmatism, an extremely common kind of vision problem. It causes blurred or distorted vision at both near and far distances. Despite this being a common eye issue, many patients do not fully understand it.

How Does Astigmatism Impact Your Vision?

When a cornea or lens is abnormally curved, astigmatism results. Instead of having a smooth spherical shape like a basketball, the cornea or lens becomes more oval-shaped, like a football. This irregularity affects how light enters the eye and leads to blurry or distorted vision.

However, it can be present from birth or develop due to genetic factors or certain eye conditions. Additionally, injuries or surgeries that impact the shape of the cornea can also contribute to astigmatism.

Individuals with astigmatism may experience symptoms such as blurred vision at all distances, difficulty seeing fine details or reading small print, or fatigue after visual tasks like reading for extended periods.

How Is Astigmatism Diagnosed?

Visual acuity tests employing charts with letters and numbers at different distances are among the specialist diagnostic procedures used by an optometrist or ophthalmologist trained in detecting refractive problems like astigmatisms to determine whether or not they are present.

Some patients may need refraction testing, where you will be asked which lens options improve your vision clarity and measure the cornea's curvature. A refractive error measurement may also be performed. This involves shining a light into your eye and observing how it reflects, allowing the doctor to determine an appropriate prescription for corrective lenses if necessary.

Can You Have Astigmatism In One Eye?

It is possible to have astigmatism in only one eye. This condition is unilateral astigmatism. It can occur due to differences in corneal shape between eyes or injuries that affect only one eye.

The treatment options for unilateral astigmatisms are similar to those for bilateral astigmatisms. Corrective measures may include wearing glasses with prescribed lenses tailored to each eye's unique needs or using contact lenses designed specifically to correct astigmatic vision.

Can Children Have Astigmatism?

Astigmatism can affect children of all ages but is often detected during pediatric eye exams. Early diagnosis is crucial as untreated astigmatisms can hinder visual development and impact academic performance.

Excessive eye rubbing, sensitivity to light, poor visual tracking abilities, squinting, and tilting the head to see better may all be signs of astigmatism in infants and toddlers. Older kids may have trouble reading or focusing in class because of eyesight problems.

Treatment options for childhood astigmatisms include glasses with prescribed lenses tailored to correct the specific refractive error. In some cases, contact lenses may be an option depending on the child's age and ability to handle them responsibly. Regular follow-up visits with an eye care professional are essential to monitor any changes in prescription and ensure proper visual development.

For more information on ophthalmology, contact a professional near you.