In the realm of eye health, the term “astigmatism” often surfaces, leaving many puzzled about its meaning and implications. However, understanding this condition is crucial for maintaining optimal vision. If you’re one of the many curious minds seeking clarity on astigmatism, you’ve come to the right place. In this comprehensive primer on eye care, we’ll dive into the depths of astigmatism, exploring its causes, symptoms, and management strategies. If you believe you have astigmatism, be sure to contact our Orlando eye clinic to schedule an eye exam and receive the care you need.
Astigmatism is a common refractive error that affects how light rays enter the eye. Unlike simple nearsightedness (myopia) or farsightedness (hyperopia), where the cornea or lens has a uniform curvature, astigmatism occurs when these structures have an irregular shape. Instead of having a smooth, spherical curvature, the cornea or lens may be more cylindrical, resembling the shape of a football. This irregular curvature leads to blurred or distorted vision, as light fails to focus properly on the retina.
Astigmatism can manifest a variety of symptoms that impact your day-to-day life. Blurred or distorted vision is the hallmark of this condition. You might notice difficulties in seeing fine details, both up close and at a distance. Eye strain, headaches, and discomfort can also occur due to the effort your eyes exert to focus. Symptoms can be mild enough that you hardly notice them or severe enough to impact your ability to perform daily tasks. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, seeking professional guidance is essential.
Astigmatism can be present from birth and often has a genetic component. However, it can also develop over time due to factors like eye injuries, surgeries, or changes in the corneal shape. There are 2 main types of astigmatism: corneal astigmatism, caused by irregularities in the curvature of the cornea, and lenticular astigmatism, which results from the lens having an uneven shape. Often, individuals have a combination of both.
If you suspect you have astigmatism or are experiencing any vision-related issues, it’s crucial to undergo a comprehensive eye examination. Eye care professionals use various tests, including refraction and keratometry, to diagnose the condition and determine its severity. The good news is that astigmatism is highly treatable. Eyeglasses and contact lenses are common solutions, correcting the way light enters the eye. Toric lenses, designed specifically for astigmatism, have varying powers in different meridians of the lens to counteract the irregular curvature of the cornea or lens.
For those seeking a more permanent solution, refractive surgeries like LASIK or PRK can reshape the cornea, eliminating or reducing astigmatism along with other refractive errors. However, it’s essential to discuss the options with your eye care specialist to determine the most suitable course of action for your individual case.
Managing astigmatism extends beyond correction. Proper eye care habits play a significant role in maintaining clear vision. Regular eye examinations are vital, as they allow professionals to monitor any changes and adjust prescriptions accordingly. Protecting your eyes from excessive sun exposure with UV-blocking sunglasses and practicing the 20-20-20 rule (taking a 20-second break to look at something 20 feet away every 20 minutes of screen time) can also alleviate strain and discomfort.
Understanding and managing astigmatism is a journey that requires the guidance of seasoned professionals. If you’re in the Orlando area, Bay Hill Eye Care is your trusted partner in comprehensive eye care. Our team of experienced specialists is dedicated to ensuring your vision remains clear and comfortable. By scheduling an eye exam with Bay Hill Eye Care, you’re taking a proactive step toward managing your astigmatism and overall eye health. Contact us today to schedule an exam with our Orlando eye specialist.