Astigmatism occurs when the eye loses its round shape to resemble the shape of a football or the back of a spoon. Like myopia (short-sightedness) or hypermetropia (far-sightedness), astigmatism is a refractive error, not a disease. Unlike myopia and hypermetropia, astigmatism renders objects blurry at any distance, because the misshapen cornea prevents all light from coming to a single focus on the retina. Symptoms may include squinting, eye strain and headaches.
Most people have some form of astigmatism, as much as 80% of Americans, although slight irregularities won’t always affect vision. Larger amounts of astigmatism may require treatment. Fortunately, eyeglasses and contact lenses easily correct most forms of astigmatism.
Eye injuries or diseases like keratoconus may cause irregular astigmatism, which could require rigid gas permeable lenses to compensate for the irregular shape of the cornea. Refractive surgery, such as LASIK, offers a more enduring solution by removing eye tissue to reshape the cornea.
With astigmatism often occurring early in life, often at birth, it’s important to schedule an eye exam for your child, particularly if he or she squints when reading. A comprehensive eye exam typically includes testing for astigmatism. An eyeglass prescription will typically include an avis of astigmatism, which indicates the degree to which the eye needs vertical or horizontal correction.
If you’re interested in being tested for astigmatism, please contact our eye care professionals at 877-871-1684.
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