Tuesday, April 9, 2024

How Does An Astigmatism Affect Vision

Extreme Astigmatism: > 300 Diopter

Astigmatism Explained

Extreme astigmatism will require treatment so that you can see objects both near and far with ease. If you do not treat extreme astigmatism, you will not be able to see clearly at all.


There are five types of astigmatism: simple myopic, simple hyperopic, compound myopic, compound hyperopic, and mixed. They are categorized into different levels of severity: mild, moderate, severe, and extreme.

Economic Costs Of Astigmatism

A study published in 2018 that aimed to understand the economic burden of refractive errors in Iran reported that astigmatism incurred the highest burden to the Iranian economy at US$ 5.5 billion each year . Global estimates of the direct and indirect costs of astigmatism are still emerging, however uncorrected refractive errors can result in substantial economic costs due to loss of productivity. The global potential loss of productivity due to uncorrected refractive errors has been estimated to be US$ 244 billion per year .

Why Do I Have Astigmatism

If you have astigmatism, your corneas the front part of your eye are oval instead of round. The oval shape interferes with light focusing on your retina the light-sensitive cells at the back of your eyes.

There are many possible causes of irregular cornea shape, including genetics, eye trauma, eye disease, and eye surgery.

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Orthokeratology Or Corneal Refractive Therapy

Orthokeratology involves wearing a specially fitted, rigid contact lens during sleep to reshape the cornea. This does not permanently improve vision, but the person may find that they can see better for at least several hours after wearing it.

Some people with astigmatism may wish to undergo laser eye surgery to correct their vision. The most common procedure is laser in situ keratomileusis .

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Could Astigmatism Be to Blame for Your Blurry Vision?

Everything looks a little blurry when you have astigmatism. The refractive error blurs both far and near vision, making it difficult to read a book or see a road sign in the distance. Fortunately, squinting isnt the only option if you have astigmatism. Your optometrist can make a simple change to your eyeglass or contact lens prescription that will improve the sharpness of your vision.

All About Astigmatism

Do you know these astigmatism facts?

How Your Eye Doctor Treats Astigmatism

Blurry vision due to astigmatism can be easily corrected with a contact lens or eyeglass prescription in most cases. A treatment called orthokeratology can also be helpful. Orthokeratology involves reshaping your corneas by wearing special contact lenses while you sleep.

LASIK surgery may be a good option if you dont want to wear contacts or glasses. The procedure corrects astigmatism and can also improve your vision if youre nearsighted or farsighted. During LASIK surgery, your eye doctor makes a flap in your cornea with a laser, then uses a different laser to reshape your cornea.

If youre not a candidate for laser surgery, your eye doctor may recommend photorefractive keratotomy . PRK involves removing the top layer of the cornea and reshaping the tissue underneath with a laser. The outer layer of the cornea grows back as your eye heals.

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Adjusting To Glasses For Astigmatism

Wearing glasses for astigmatism for the first time may feel strange. New wearers can experience side effects such as dizziness or a distortion called the fishbowl effect, which makes the edges of your vision appear slightly curved. Your eyes might need a few days or so to adjust, and if youve never worn glasses at all before, it can take a bit longer to get used to them.

Give yourself some time and talk with your optometrist if you notice any new or worsening symptoms. Other people may not need much of an adjustment period at all. Either way, for most people with astigmatism, glasses will provide a new and improved way of seeing the world.

How Do Lights Look With Astigmatism

Astigmatism may distort the appearance of lights. This can make driving at night difficult.

Visual distortions caused by astigmatism include:

Here are some examples of how lights may look with astigmatism:

Glares or a halo appearance around lights do not necessarily indicate astigmatism. This can also be caused by other vision conditions like nearsightedness or cataracts.

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How Do You Know If You Need Glasses For Astigmatism

Astigmatism often presents with the following symptoms:

  • Blurry vision at all distances
  • Squinting to make vision clearer
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Eye strain or eye fatigue

If youre experiencing any of those symptoms, schedule an eye exam. They dont necessarily mean you have astigmatism, but your optometrist will be able to tell you for certain.

Astigmatism Is Caused By An Irregularly

ASTIGMATISM vision vs NORMAL vision

If you have astigmatism, then youve surely experienced out-of-focus eyesight from any distance. This is due to the fact that your cornea is football-shaped instead of the more normally-spherical structure of an emmetropic eye . With a rounder shape, the eye can properly control the amount of light that enters, making it easier to see clearly. An irregularly-shaped eye, however, means that the light that enters is unevenly distributed, thus resulting in blurred vision.

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Who Is At Risk Of Getting Astigmatism

Astigmatism can occur in adults and children of varying ages. But factors that can increase the risk of developing astigmatism include:

  • A family history of eye disorders or vision problems
  • Trauma or injury to the eye
  • Thinning of the cornea
  • Refractive errors, like farsightedness and nearsightedness
  • Eye surgery, resulting in scarring

Can Children Have Astigmatism

According to Dr. Taressa G. Haney, a pediatric ophthalmologist who sees patients out of our Blakeney office, Children of all ages can have astigmatism even babies. A small amount of astigmatism will not cause blurred vision. Glasses are needed if astigmatism is out of a normal range for your childs eyes. Many pediatricians have a vision screening device that they will use at your babys or toddlers well visit. This device screens for astigmatism. If an abnormal amount of astigmatism is detected your child will be referred to a pediatric ophthalmologist for a complete eye exam to determine if glasses are needed. A school age child can also be screened on the vision screener, but they can also read the eye chart. If they are unable to read the eye chart, they will be referred to a pediatric ophthalmologist for a complete eye exam which includes checking for astigmatism.

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How Does Astigmatism Affect Your Vision

Astigmatism can impact both children and adults. Some patients with minor astigmatism will not discover much changes in their vision. It is important to have eye examinations at routine intervals in order to spot any astigmatism early on for children.

An irregularly shaped cornea or lens prevents light from focusing correctly on the retina, the light-sensitive surface area at the back of the eye. As an outcome, vision becomes blurred at any distance. This can lead to eye pain and headaches.

Most people have some degree of astigmatism. Small astigmatism usually does not affect vision or need treatment.

Astigmatism frequently occurs with other vision conditions like myopia and hyperopia . Together these vision conditions are described as refractive errors due to the fact that they affect how the eyes flex or refract light.

The specific cause of astigmatism is unidentified. It can be genetic and is typically present from birth. It can reduce or increase with time.

An extensive optometric examination will include testing for astigmatism. If required, your optometrist can provide spectacles or contact lenses that correct the astigmatism by changing the way light enters the eyes.

Another alternative for treating astigmatism is a corneal procedure called orthokeratology . In this painless, noninvasive procedure, the patient wears a series of specially designed rigid contact lenses to slowly improve the curvature of the cornea.

How Do You Correct Astigmatism

Impaired Vision with Astigmatism. As Astigmatism Stock Vector ...

It can be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses or refractive surgery. In addition to the spherical lens power, astigmatism requires an additional cylinder lens power to correct the difference between the powers of the two principal meridians of the eye. Meridians are like the lines of a clock but on the eye.

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What Are Astigmatism Prescription Measurements

Astigmatism is measured in diopters, which is the optical power of a lens. If your eye doesnt have astigmatism, you have a diopter of 0. If you have one, though, youll likely have a diopter greater than 0.5. Treatment isnt usually necessary for a slight astigmatism, but you might need contacts or glasses for a diopter measurement of 1.5 or higher.

The only part of an optical prescription associated with astigmatism are the cylinder and axis. The cylinder part of the prescription measures the degree or extent of the irregularity. Doctors use the axis measurements to determine the location of an eye astigmatism on the cornea.

Mild cases of astigmatism may not require treatment. Your doctor may treat astigmatism that causes vision problems by using one of the following methods.

What Are The Complications Associated With Astigmatism

If left untreated, astigmatism can cause complications. For example, a lazy eye can occur when a person has astigmatism in only one eye, or the astigmatism in one eye is worse than the other, and the condition isnt corrected. Additionally, astigmatism can sometimes cause eye strain and headaches.

Surgery to treat astigmatism also has risks. Side effects of surgery are often temporary and improve within a few weeks. These include dry eyes, sensitivity to light, and night vision problems.

But other complications can occur, too, such as vision loss or vision reverting to pre-surgery state.

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The Symptoms Of Astigmatism

Although the key symptom of astigmatism is blurry vision, this can lead to other symptoms as well. Signs of astigmatism include all of the following:

  • Difficulty with night vision
  • Squinting to try to see clearly

The only way to know if you suffer from astigmatism is to visit an eye doctor and have your eyes checked. If you experience any of the symptoms above and they impact your ability to perform everyday tasks or your enjoyment of life, schedule an appointment when an eye care professional. They can determine whether you have astigmatism, assess the severity of your astigmatism, and offer advice regarding treatment. With their help, you can correct the issue and enjoy clear vision!

Keep in mind that children often arent aware that their vision is blurry, which is why its important that they have their vision tested regularly by a pediatrician, eye doctor, school nurse, or other trained screener.

How Is Astigmatism Treated

Astigmatism: A Demo of How it Affects Vision

Eyeglasses are the primary choice for persons with astigmatism. People with astigmatism have numerous options to restore clear vision. They include:

  • Glasses. People with astigmatism primarily pick glasses to improve their vision. The spectacles contain a special round lens prescription that compensates for the astigmatism. This provides additional power in specific parts of the lens.

Typically, a single-vision lens is recommended to provide clear vision at all distances. Nevertheless, patients over age 40 who have presbyopia may require a bifocal or progressive addition lens.

  • Contact lenses. Some people will have much better vision with contact lenses instead of eyeglasses. Contact lenses might provide clearer vision and a larger field of view. Nevertheless, given that contact lenses are used directly on the eyes, they require routine cleaning and care to protect eye health.

Basic soft lenses may not be effective in correcting astigmatism. Nevertheless, unique toric soft contact lenses can fix for many types of astigmatism. Because stiff gas-permeable contact lenses keep their regular shape while on the cornea, they can compensate for the corneas irregular shape and enhance vision for people with astigmatism.

Laser and other refractive surgery procedures. Astigmatism can likewise be fixed by reshaping the cornea through LASIK or PRK . PRK gets rid of tissue from the superficial and inner layers of the cornea. LASIK removes tissue only from the inner layer of the cornea.

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What Can Help With Lights And Night Driving

If youre having trouble seeing lights and objects clearly, especially at night, the first step is to see an eye doctor. They can test your vision and determine if you have astigmatism, and to what degree. Or, they may determine that you have a different eye condition that affects your vision.

If you have mild to moderate astigmatism, your eye doctor may prescribe corrective lenses for you. Options for corrective lenses include:

  • Eyeglasses. These will have lenses that help correct the way light bends into your eye. The lenses in eyeglasses can also correct other vision issues, like nearsightedness or farsightedness.
  • Contact lenses. Contact lenses can also correct the way that light bends into your eye, allowing you to see more clearly. There are many different types to choose from, including soft disposable lenses, hard gas permeable, extended wear, or bifocal contact lenses.
  • Orthokeratology. With this treatment, you wear rigid contact lenses, typically while youre sleeping, to temporarily correct the shape of your cornea. Once you stop wearing the lenses, your eye will return to its former irregular shape.
  • Toric lens implant. An option for people with astigmatism and cataracts, this surgical procedure involves replacing your eyes misshapen lens with a special type of lens that corrects the shape of your eye.

The Different Types Of Astigmatism

Astigmatism can affect your vision in many ways. This condition could lead to myopic, hyperopic, and even mixed vision the latter meaning there are different levels of visual acuity in each eye. The two main types of astigmatism are regular and irregular astigmatism:

  • Regular astigmatism: Regular astigmatism is the most common form of astigmatism and it can occur from early childhood. This is when the cornea tends to curve more in one direction than in the other. Luckily, this form of the condition is easily treatable and can be corrected by wearing glasses, contact lenses, or by having laser eye surgery.
  • Irregular astigmatism: Irregular astigmatism is the less common form of the condition, and it tends to develop later in life. It can be caused by scarring on the cornea from an eye injury, or Keratoconus, an eye disease that affects the structure of the cornea resulting in a loss of vision. The curvature of the cornea with irregular astigmatism also tends to be more uneven, unlike regular astigmatism where only one part curves more than the other. While regular astigmatism can easily be corrected with glasses, irregular astigmatism may require specialist contact lenses for treatment.

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Your Blurry Vision Could Be Caused By Astigmatism

Your Blurry Vision Could Be Caused by Astigmatism

Does everything look blurry, whether youre reading a book or watching the sun set in the distance? Your blurry vision could be caused by astigmatism, a refractive error that affects 1 in 3 people, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

When Everything Is Blurry

Myopia makes distant objects look fuzzy, while hyperopia affects your ability to see close objects clearly. Astigmatism, another type of refractive error, causes blurry vision at both near and far distances. Refractive errors happen when light rays entering the eye arent properly bent and focused on the retina, the light-sensing cells that line the back of the eye.

Astigmatism can occur on its own or can happen in combination with myopia or hyperopia.

Astigmatism Symptoms and Causes

Blurry vision isnt the only symptom of astigmatism. The refractive error may also cause headaches and eyestrain, particularly after reading or spending time using your laptop or tablet.

Astigmatism may also make it difficult to see well at night or in dimly lit rooms and can cause halos around lights.

Astigmatism can be occur due to an issue with:

Although astigmatism often occurs for unknown reasons, you may be more likely to develop it if you had eye surgery, an eye injury or keratoconus, according to the American Optometric Association. Keratoconus is a condition that causes the cornea to become thinner and cone shaped.

What You Can Do to Improve Your Vision

What Glasses Are Best For Astigmatism

Impaired Vision With Astigmatism. As Astigmatism Stock Vector ...

When shopping for astigmatism glasses, youll want flatter frames and lenses with anti-reflective coating. Here are some of the factors to consider:

Lens Type

If you have astigmatism, nearsightedness, or farsightedness, then your glasses will likely need single-vision lenses.

If you need vision correction for additional conditions, such as presbyopia, then progressive lenses may be the best option for you. These lenses have different zones for each kind of distance viewing and can treat astigmatism simultaneously.

Given that eye strain is a common astigmatism symptom, you might also look at anti-fatigue lenses. In addition to your prescription, these lenses include a boost in magnification at the bottom that makes for easier screen- and book-reading.

Lens Material

The severity of your astigmatism may influence the lens material you choose for your glasses. For mild or moderate astigmatism, polycarbonate lenses are a great option.

But if your astigmatism is more severe , high-index lenses will give you the vision correction you need while maintaining a thin profile.

Lens Coating

An anti-reflective coating is a must for glasses for astigmatism. Astigmatism can cause bothersome distortions around lights, especially at night, and an anti-reflective coating reduces glare and distracting reflections that can contribute to these symptoms.

Frame Style

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Does Astigmatism Affect Night Driving

Driving at night is difficult enough for those with perfect vision but for people with astigmatism, it can be even more difficult. In low light conditions, the blurry vision associated with astigmatism can become worse. Thats because when the lighting dims, your pupil dilates to let in more light. As the pupil dilates, more peripheral light rays enter the eye, which can cause drivers to experience even more blurry vision, as well as halos around bright lights and even night blindness.

Furthermore, bright headlights from oncoming and rear traffic can become particularly distorted, creating what appears like lines of light around the headlight. Light reflections from cars and street lamps can also cause drivers with astigmatism to squint, making it more difficult to concentrate on the road ahead.

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