Astigmatism is a visual impairment. It is caused by a defect in the lens or corneal curvature that results in a distorted or blurred vision. This visual impairment happens when the cornea found at the front of the eye is curved instead of being perfectly rounded.
The symptoms are such as blurry or fluctuating vision, headaches, and eye strain after reading a book or staring at a computer screen. However, this visual impairment is fairly common and not a dangerous disorder. Astigmatism generally appears at birth but also can be caused by injuries suffered by the eye or as a complication of eye surgery.
Astigmatism is caused by a lens or cornea that does not smooth causing the light into the eye to become unfocused when forwarded to the retina. Therefore, the view becomes blurring. Although the exact cause of astigmatism is unknown. There are certain factors that are believed to play a role.
Genetics is also said to be a factor as astigmatism can run in families. This visual impairment is not an eye disease. Rather, it is a common eyesight problem that is called a refractive error. This means that your eye has difficulty with bending of light. Other factors that may lead to this condition include:
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- An eye injury
- Eye operation
- A scar on the eye
- Keratoconus and keratoglobus, the conditions in which the cornea may change shape either bulging or thinning
- Conditions on the eyelids that interfere with the structure of the cornea
Astigmatism causes vision impairment that can impact the patient’s daily activities. Most of these symptoms are usually experienced after doing certain activities like reading a book, spending long hours looking at a computer screen, staring into the distance or doing other visual tasks. The common symptoms are:
- Eye fatigue or eye strain
- Fluctuating or blurring vision
- Sensitive to light beam or photophobia
- Difficulty seeing at nighttime or in the dark
- Difficulty distinguishing colors that are located adjacent
- Difficulty seeing the picture intact
The treatment of astigmatism aims to improve the quality of vision of patients with the use of glasses, contact lenses, or through an eye surgical procedure that uses a laser beam. There are cases of astigmatism that are mild and do not cause any symptoms. So, it does not require treatment at all.
- Eyeglasses. Using it may be the simplest and safest method for astigmatism correction.
- Contact lenses. It is also used by many people with astigmatism. They work by serving as the first refractive surface that allows light rays to enter the eye. However, using contact lenses can increase the level of potentially harmful microbes in their eyes.
- LASEK (laser sub-epithelial keratomileusis). In this method, a device called keratome is used to make a thin and round hinged cut in the cornea. The flap is lifted and an excimer laser then sculpts the cornea’s shape. Compared to other surgical procedures, this is less painful.