Astigmatism 101

Astigmatism 101

Astigmatism is a very common diagnosis for people with vision problems. It causes blurry vision, and often occurs alongside other vision problems, which exacerbate the blurriness. Fortunately, astigmatism can be managed with glasses and contacts to help you see clearly. If your optometrist tells you that you have astigmatism, here is what you need to know.

What exactly is astigmatism?

Astigmatism occurs if the cornea is misshapen or if the lens inside the eye has an irregular curvature. These issues cause problems with the way light focuses on the retina, which results in blurred vision, especially when looking at objects at a distance. In addition, astigmatism can cause headaches. Oftentimes, people with astigmatism also have another vision problem, such as myopia or hyperopia, which can make the blurriness associated with astigmatism worse.

What causes astigmatism?

There is no clearly identifiable cause for astigmatism, but it does appear to be hereditary. Typically, it is present at birth, but most people aren’t diagnosed until they get older, as the condition gets progressively worse. When it is mild, astigmatism doesn’t usually cause any symptoms, but most people with it will eventually need some kind of vision correction.

How is astigmatism treated?

In some cases, people with severe astigmatism opt for laser surgery, which can change the shape of the cornea to allow light to focus correctly on the retina. However, most people opt for eyeglasses or contact lenses. Both of these astigmatism treatment options change the way that light enters the eye, so that it can be focused appropriately. In the past, people with astigmatism could not wear contacts, but modern lenses are appropriate for astigmatism sufferers.

At Eyecare Specialties in Steamboat Springs, you will find experienced optometrists who are able to diagnose and treat a wide variety of vision problems. To make an appointment, call (970) 879-2020.

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