Astigmatism Facts and Fiction

It is estimated that one in every three people have an astigmatism and almost three out of four glasses prescriptions have the correction for it in the prescription. Most Eye Doctors field questions about astigmatism daily if not hourly. I am going to go over several aspects and help shed some light on the facts and fiction of having an astigmatism. After all a condition this common in society should not be something that strikes fear into most patients when they hear they have one.

What is an Astigmatism?

An astigmatism is when the front part of the eye, also called the cornea, is not shaped perfectly round like a basketball. Instead the cornea is more like a football in shape where one sided is steeper than the other. Being shaped this way causes light to come into focus in two spots in the back of the eye instead of only one. This is not a big deal. It is perfectly “normal”, but not the ideal situation for clear vision. That is all that it is. Simply the front part of the eye being shaped “improperly. This is why there is no reason to stress if your Eye Doctor tells you that you have one.

Symptoms of an Astigmatism

Some of the symptoms of astigmatism can be as follows. You might notice lights, such as street lights, which should have a circle of glare around them instead have an area of glare that is longer than others. You also might notice images are slightly out of focus or have a slight shadow or ghost image to them. An uncorrected astigmatism can also frequently cause low grade dull type daily headaches. If you would like to read more about other ways the eyes can cause a headache check out my other post about headaches.

What Can Cause an Astigmatism?

There is a genetic component to astigmatism, so you have your ancestors to partially blame for it. Injury to the eye can sometimes cause it as well. As a medical community we aren’t 100% certain of the causes, but we do know those things can play a role in someone having one. However, it is a myth that reading in low light environments can cause one. Reading in low light can give you a headache or exhaust your vision, but it can’t cause an astigmatism. 

Different Types of Astigmatism

While there are technically multiple types of astigmatism that is mainly for the academics to argue and debate. For the most people it is not something to really talk about, but I am going to anyways. The different types of astigmatism are classified as compound hyperopic astigmatism, compound myopic astigmatism, and mixed astigmatism. All these mean is that both points of focus of light are behind the retina, in front of the retina, or one in front and one behind.

How to Fix An Astigmatism

Glasses, contacts, or refractive surgery like LASIK can easily correct it and rid the things you might notice from it. When it comes to the glasses it is an extremely easy fix. Depending on how high the astigmatism is will determine if certain eyeglass frame styles are an option for you. Most contact lens companies will make a topic or astigmatism version of contact lenses.

Having this added to your glasses or contact lenses is a simple fix. The glasses won’t cost more because of it, but sometimes the contact lenses do cost more. Having one is not the worst thing because again almost a third of the population has one. So, know that you are in good company if you have one because if you are in a room of more than 5 people someone else probably has one.

If you still have questions or want to know if you have one come by our offices for an eye examination. If you ever have a topic you would like me to talk about please send us an email and I will gladly talk about any topic. I am adding more topics every month, so make sure to check beak monthly to see what other topics I have covered. You can also give us a call! I know there are tons of articles you could have read, and I appreciate you taking the time to read my article. I hope you have a great day and thanks for reading.

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