“What” is Astigmatism?
The cornea, at the front eye is not perfectly rounded, but has a very slight curve. When the curve is too great, or when it's pointing in the wrong direction, astigmatism happens. The light rays that come through the cornea and lens are not focused on to one sharp spot on the retina. The lack of “point focus” means that the images received by the brain are blurred. This makes astigmatism a bit more complicated than just having a long sight or short sight, as there is a problem with the focus of light in two directions.
“What” Causes Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is often present at birth, but it can result from an injury, operation or scar to the eye, if the corneal surface is damaged. At the same time, this can also come about as a result of anything that is pressing persistently on the surface of the cornea, like a large lump on the eyelid.
Astigmatism may run in the families and seems to be more common in low birth weight or premature babies, perhaps because of the fact that the cornea does not have enough time to properly develop. Moreover, the problems with the structure of the cornea cause astigmatism. Some of them might be present from birth. There is 1 in 5 people with Down Syndrome that have astigmatism. Other corneal disorders may develop throughout life. One of the most common condition is known as keratoconus. This can cause astigmatism, as well as corneal scarring and short sight (myopia).
“What” are the Symptoms of Astigmatism?
For the majority of people, this can be a very mild and minor problem which might not even be noticed. However, for those with a more advanced astigmatism, there are can be various symptoms, like light sensitivity, blurred vision, fatigue after long periods of concentration, eye strain, and headaches. The person may also have difficulty seeing one color or experience distorted images. Moreover, astigmatism often occurs with either long sight or short sight, or age-related long sight.
“What” is the Treatment for Astigmatism?
In most cases, the symptoms of astigmatism are mild that no treatment is needed. But when the vision is significantly affected, contact lenses, eyeglasses, or surgery can correct the vision.
Astigmatism is detected during an eye exam with techniques and instruments used for the detection of farsightedness and nearsightedness. The eye doctor can estimate the amount of astigmatism by shining a light into the eye while manually introducing a series of lenses between the eye and light. This type of test is called as retinoscopy.
Having a routine eye examination is highly important not only in detecting astigmatism, but other visions and eye problems as well. Through such exam, preventive measures can be taken to avoid potential problems and existing problems can be treated immediately.