Astigmatism is not a disease, as some may think. It is a slight difference in the shape of your eye, causing fuzzy, blurred vision at all distances. It belongs to a group of common imperfections of the eye—called refractive errors—that also include nearsightedness, farsightedness and presbyopia. Anyone can have astigmatism and it often runs in families. If you are near-or farsighted, you may develop astigmatism that needs correction.
Astigmatism usually results from being born with a cornea—the dome front part of the eye—that is oval-shaped rather than round. This irregular shape bends light rays too much, so you are unable to focus an image properly.
Sometimes the cornea can change and lead to astigmatism because of an eye injury, infection, surgery, or in rare cases, some diseases.
In some people, astigmatism is so mild they do not realize they have it until an eye exam, or when it becomes noticeable enough to bother them. You may experience one or more of these common signs and symptoms:
- blurry or distorted images, at all distances
- trouble seeing similar-looking letters, or at night
- eye discomfort or irritation
As with every condition, how one copes with astigmatism depends on how severe it gets or how stable it becomes. If you work with text and do a lot of reading, or need to drive at night often, it can be frustrating. Once you are diagnosed and your eye care professional recommends corrective treatment, it is very manageable with contact lenses for astigmatism—also called toric lenses. The advanced technology and variety of contact lenses today make them an excellent choice for people who engage in sports and other activities, or want a personal look unencumbered by eyeglasses.
To learn more about Astigmatism, its symptoms and treatments, visit myeyes.com.