What is astigmatism?
Astigmatism is a type of refractive error like nearsightedness (myopia) or farsightedness (hyperopia) is. Astigmatism is a condition in which the front of the eye (i.e. cornea) is miss-shaped?.
The irregular shape of the cornea keeps light from focusing correctly at the back of the eye causing blurriness at all distances. Light entering the eye does focus on a single point on the retina causing multiple images.
Patients can have just astigmatism without having any other vision problems but it is more commonly found in combination with nearsightedness or farsightedness.
What causes astigmatism?
Not all corneas are shaped perfectly. As with other refractive defects, astigmatism is an inherited condition but no one really understands the real cause of the miss-shaped cornea. Most people are born with astigmatism to a certain degree. Though only severe astigmatisms need to be corrected with glasses or contact lenses with highly moisturizing effect.
Extreme astigmatic patients usually have blurred or distorted vision at different distances. Less extreme cases of astigmatism can cause one or more of the following symptoms:
If you should have any of the symptoms mentioned see your eye care specialist for a thorough eye examination.
Correction (CL, Glasses)
Astigmatism can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. Glasses and contact lenses require a special type of lens toric lenses – to correct astigmatism. Toric lenses have an additional power element called a cylinder. They have greater light-bending power in one axis than in others. Toric contact lenses are available as rigid gas permeable lenses or soft lenses. It is important that toric lenses are properly fitted to ensure all-day comfort.
Most astigmatic patients that wear contact lenses need contacts that will both correct their nearsightedness or farsightedness plus astigmatism. This means that their contact lenses hold more than one correction within one lens.
Surgery is another option either for very severe astigmatism or for people who are also nearsighted. Patients who undergo refractive surgery for nearsightedness can have astigmatism corrected at the same time.
LASIK, PRK and Astigmatic Keratotomy (AK) are the most often used procedures for surgically correcting astigmatism.
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