What is Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is a common condition caused by an imperfection
in the curvature of the cornea or lens of the eye. The cornea is the clear,
round dome covering the eye’s iris and pupil. The lens of the eye is a
transparent structure behind the cornea. Normally, the cornea and lens are
smooth and curved equally in all directions, helping to focus light rays
sharply onto the retina at the back of your eye. However, if your cornea or
lens isn’t smooth and evenly curved, light rays aren’t refracted properly. This
is called a refractive error.
When the cornea has an irregular shape, it is called corneal
astigmatism. When the shape of the lens is distorted, you have lenticular
astigmatism. As a result of either type of astigmatism, your vision for both
near and far objects appear blurry or distorted.
Astigmatism can affect both children and adults. It is
usually congenital, present at birth, but it can develop after an eye operation
or an injury to the eye. Most people are born with some degree of astigmatism, and
they may have it along with other refractive errors: nearsightedness (myopia)
or farsightedness (hyperopia).
While adults with a higher degree of astigmatism may realize
their vision isn’t as good as it should be, children who have astigmatism
symptoms may not be aware they have this condition and are unlikely to complain
about blurred or distorted vision. But uncorrected astigmatism can seriously
impact a child’s ability to achieve in school and sports. And some forms of
astigmatism can be a sign of keratoconus, a cone-like bulge of the cornea,
which can distort vision. Because of this, it is important that children have
regular vision checks to detect astigmatism or other vision problems as early
The following are common signs and symptoms of astigmatism:
- Blurred or distorted vision at all distances
- Excessive squinting
- Eye strain, especially when the eye must focus
for long periods, such as using a computer monitor
- Difficulty driving at night
A person with these symptoms may not have astigmatism, but if these symptoms are experienced, it is recommended that they schedule an eye examination. Astigmatism is easily corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses or refractive surgery such as LASIK. To learn more about astigmatism or to schedule an examination with one of our doctors in Pembroke Pines, contact Correct Vision Laser Institute at 954-442-1133 or correctvision.com today.