Astigmatism is a condition when the cornea of your eye or the front part of the eyeball is not properly in a round shape. Generally, an eyeball is a perfectly round shape that helps in bending the light and evenly spreading which provides a clear picture or view. But if the cornea is shaped like an oval or football then the light gets bent in one direction which creates a problem in having a clear view. This also leads to a blurry and wavy vision of objects at distance.
This is very common to have Astigmatism with hyperopia (farsightedness) or myopia (nearsightedness). These conditions are also known as refractive issues as it involves the bending of light. Furthermore, astigmatism is very easy for eye doctors or ophthalmologists to fix with contact lenses, glasses, or surgery.
Types of Astigmatism
There are mainly two types of Astigmatism such as;
- 1. Distortion of the lens – this condition occurs in the front of the eye and leads to causes lenticular astigmatism.
- 2. Distortion of the cornea – this condition develops in the outer portion of the eye and further leads to corneal astigmatism.
Moreover, there are other three forms of astigmatism such as hyperopic astigmatism which is astigmatism in the eye where you face farsightedness, myopic astigmatism which is astigmatism in the eye and leads to affects your nearsightedness, and mixed astigmatism which is astigmatism in the eye that cause both farsightedness and nearsightedness. In the case of mixed astigmatism, both near and far sights are affected because the light is hitting both behind and front of the retina.
Symptoms of Astigmatism
The major symptoms of astigmatism are:
- 1. Eyestrain
- 2. Difficulty in seeing at night
- 3. Distorted or blurry vision (at all distances)
- 4. Headaches
- 5. Fatigue
Most of the time, astigmatism is hereditary, which means it passes down to you from your parents. This may also put pressure on the cornea of your eye. It may improve or get worse over time.
Furthermore, it sometimes develops after eye surgery or injury.
Another major cause is the condition known as keratoconus. In this case, the cornea gets thinner and more cone-shaped with time. This may cause severe astigmatism and even people with keratoconus require a cornea transplant.
People with keratoconus are rare and they face eye disease which affects the cornea, this causes the clear tissue on the cornea to bulge out and gets thinner. Further, it causes blurry or cloudy vision and sensitivity to bright lights. Nowadays, people are not aware of keratoconus but it has been found that it is hereditary.
Always keep in mind that if you already have an eye with astigmatism then reading with dim lights can create difficulty for you and may increase your blurriness.
The symptoms of astigmatism come gradually but whenever you notice any changes in your vision you must consult your doctor. You will also need to complete an eye exam where your doctor will check the sharpness of your eye vision by asking you to read an eye chart. Your doctor may use different tools for measuring your eyesight.
Keratometer – this is a machine that helps in measuring the bend in the center of the cornea. This finds the flattest and steepest curves. This measurement helps your doctor in examining the shape of the cornea and well it can focus.
Corneal topographer – this technology is advanced and helps in providing the most detailed or accurate information regarding the shape of the cornea. In this test, your doctor will ask you to look at a particular point, and meanwhile, this device collects various tiny measurements. With this, a computer builds a color map of the cornea from all the collected data or information. Your doctor will only take this examination or test when there is a requirement for cataracts or astigmatism surgery. This is also used for diagnosing keratoconus.
Phoropter – during this test, you look through a series of lenses which helps in finding the one which provides clear vision.
Autorefractor – this device is used for shining light into the eye and helps in measuring how it changes when it bounces off the back. This helps in providing the idea to your doctor for determining which lens is required.
There are two types of treatment available for astigmatism which are refractive surgery and corrective lenses.
Astigmatism can be treated by wearing corrective lenses by counteracting uneven curvatures of the lens or cornea. There are two types of corrective lenses such as:
- 1. Contact lenses – as wearing glasses can help in correcting vision similarly contact lenses can also help correct most astigmatism. Contact lenses are also used in orthokeratology procedures. In this procedure, rigid contact lenses are used while sleeping till the curvature of your gets even. But, wearing contact lenses for an extended or longer period of time can increase the risk of infection in your eye.
- 2. Eyeglasses – eyewear or glasses are also made with lenses that help in compensating for the uneven shape of your eyes. This lens made light bend into your eye properly and it can also help in correcting refractive errors such as farsightedness and nearsightedness.
Refractive surgery enhances eyesight and decreases dependence on contact lenses or spectacles. The cornea’s curves are modified by an eye surgeon using a laser beam to rectify the refractive defect. Doctors will examine you and assess whether you are a candidate for refractive surgery before the procedure. Following are the types of refractive surgery:
- 1. LASIK Surgery – LASIK stands for Laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis, during this procedure or surgery your doctor or surgeon will makes hinged flap and a thin in your cornea. Your surgeon may also use laser for sculpting the shape of your cornea and then he or she repositions that flap.
- 2. SMILE (small incision lenticule extraction) – this is one of the modest types of refractive surgery where your surgeon reshapes the cornea with the help of a laser for making a lens-shaped tissue (which is known as lenticular) below the surface of your cornea. Then the lenticular gets removed through a very small cut. However, this procedure is now only approved for treating mild myopia or nearsightedness.
- 3. LASEK (laser-assisted subepithelial keratectomy) – in this procedure, instead of making a flap into your cornea your surgeon loses the thin protective cover from the cornea (epithelium) with the use of special alcohol. Your surgeon may also use a laser for changing the curvature of your cornea and then repositioning the epithelium.
- 4. Epi-LASIK – this procedure is just a version of LASEK, where the surgeon uses a blunt blade rather than alcohol for separating the epithelium sheet. Then they also use a laser for changing the curvature of your cornea and then they reposition the epithelium.
- 5. Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) – this surgery is very much similar to LASEK where your surgeon will remove the epithelium. This grows back automatically and takes the shape new of the cornea. After this surgery, you may need to wear a bandage contact lens for a week or less.
Glamyo Health, India’s favorite healthcare destination can help you in treating all eye-related issues such as astigmatism, myopia, hyperopia, and other conditions. We provide a hassle-free experience to our patients. You just have to share your health issue with our consultants or doctor and the rest of the procedure will be managed by us. You can get a free consultation. We will be connected with you and also take after-surgery follow-ups as we are concerned for your wellbeing.
Frequently Asked Questions
How is astigmatism measured?
Subjective refraction or autorefraction which is generally based on the response of the patient is one way of measuring astigmatism.
Can astigmatism go away?
No, astigmatism will not go away on its own, you will need to have surgery to improve this condition.
Does astigmatism get worse with age?
Yes, this frequently worsens over time or with age because your cornea can get irregular which puts pressure on your eyelids because they lose muscle tone.
What are the best glasses for astigmatism?
For astigmatism, flatter frames are better.
Do I need specific contacts for astigmatism?
Yes, you will need toric contact lenses which are majorly designed for correcting astigmatism.
Can Astigmatism Be Cured?
Yes, astigmatism can be fixed with contact lenses, refractive surgeries, and eyeglasses.