Astigmatism – Causes and Treatment

AstigmatismSight is one of our five senses and an essential way to enjoy a beautiful and vibrant life. It is our eyes that help us appreciate the colours and beauty around us. Unfortunately, some of us are not blessed with sight at birth or we start losing it with age. There are different types of disabilities associated with eyes and they have different causes. One of the eye disorders includes astigmatism. In this article, we discuss what it is, the causes behind it and treatment options.

What is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a disorder where the person suffers from blurred vision which is caused due to an abnormality with the cornea. In an eye which is astigmatic, the cornea is of oval shape which is abnormal as compared to the symmetrically curved and baseball shaped cornea of a normal eye.

Symptoms of Astigmatism

Common symptoms associated with astigmatism include distorted vision; it could be in both eyes or just one. People also complain of severe headaches, strain on the eyes, squinting and sensitivity to light.

Types of Astigmatism

There are two types of Astigmatism:

Corneal Astigmatism: The one caused by deformation of cornea

Lenticular Astigmatism: The one caused by an irregularity in the lens shape

Diagnosing Astigmatism

Doctors use different methods to confirm if a person has astigmatism or not. The basic tool used for diagnosis is the letter chart. If a person complains about letters getting smaller on each line then they are diagnosed with this disorder. Doctors also use a dial chart which contains a series of semi-circle lines. If the person is unable to see them clearly, it is a sign of having astigmatism. Another tool used for diagnoses is the ophthalmometer. It is used to measure the reflection of an image one the cornea’s surface to determine the degree of astigmatism in the eye.

Treatment Options

Treatment options vary according to the type of astigmatism you have and your lifestyle also determines which treatment will treat you best. The most common treatment recommended for astigmatism is corrective glasses, contact lenses or LASIK vision correction surgery. These help in bending the incoming light rays so that the image can be received the right way by the retina. It is possible that your glasses will keep changing with each year due to stronger prescriptions.

Astigmatism can be cured permanently if you a get Laser eye surgery and the procedure is completed properly. This treatment is quite expensive and can be uncomfortable. During the lasik eye surgery, doctors remove the epithelium of the cornea and then correct the shape of the cornea. The epithelium is placed back after the correction.

Eye exercises are also used to treat astigmatism and improve a person’s visual skills. These exercises can also be helpful to treat other problems associated with eye sight as well like myopia. It is quite inexpensive as compared to corrective lenses and surgeries.

Astigmatism can affect a person’s lifestyle so many seek some kind of treatment so that they can improve the quality of their life.