Astigmatism: What is it?
Symptoms You May Experience:
Examination: What Your Eye Doctor Will Look For:
What You Can Do:
When To Call Your M.D.:
Prognosis: Will I See Better?
Astigmatism is an irregular curvature of the corneal surface of the eye. Instead of being round or spherical, like a basketball, the corneal surface is longer in certain axes, like a football. In eyes with astigmatism, light rays are not bent normally as they enter the eye, preventing the formation of one image at a single point. Most people have some degree of astigmatism, but severe cases can be associated with diseases such as keratoconus or corneal scarring.
You might notice that your vision is blurred when looking at objects either near or far without glasses or contact lenses. In some cases, astigmatism can be associated with headaches or eyestrain.
Your doctor looks for blurry vision that is improved by looking through lenses of various powers when the doctor tests for glasses as part of the standard eye exam.
There is no way to prevent astigmatism from occurring.
People with blurry or distorted vision should be seen promptly by an eye doctor to identity the condition and exclude nearsightedness or farsightedness, which can occur in combination with astigmatism.
Astigmatism can usually be corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses, including soft toric, gas-permeable, or hard contact lenses. In some cases, astigmatism can also be corrected by refractive surgery (aka laser eye surgery). Astigmatism caused by advanced deratoconus may require a corneal transplant.
Most astigmatism can be fully corrected with the above treatments.
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