For a condition that affects roughly one-third of the United States population to a significant degree, it is surprising how many people do not have much of an understanding of astigmatism. Below, top Bay Area LASIK and cornea specialist Mark Mandel, MD, of Optima Eye, answers some of the most frequent questions about astigmatism.
What Is Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is a refractive error in which the curvature of either the cornea or lens is abnormal. Due to this irregularity, light rays entering the eye do not bend at the proper angles, in turn leading to blurry vision. While other refractive conditions like nearsightedness and farsightedness cause your sight to be hazy at certain distances, astigmatism makes your vision blurry at all distances.
What Are the Symptoms of Astigmatism?
The most telling symptom is blurry vision. If you have persistently blurry vision, regardless of whether it ends up being astigmatism, you should talk to your eye doctor about this issue.
Other symptoms you may notice include having to squint or strain your eyes to see, which is likely to leave your eyes feeling tired and increase the frequency with which you experience migraines. You also may have extra trouble seeing at night.
A mild astigmatism (which may get worse over time) may be hard to diagnose on your own, which is why it is important to undergo regular eye examinations to check for these types of conditions.
How Do I Get Tested for Astigmatism?
Most comprehensive eye exams will include multiple tests for astigmatism. In fact, you likely have already undergone these tests, even if you were not fully aware of their purpose.
The first test is for acuity and involves reading letters on a chart from a distance. During a second test called keratometry, your doctor uses an ophthalmometer to measure your cornea’s precise curvature. The third such test is the refraction test, which evaluates how light bends through your cornea. This test is the one where the doctor switches between lenses with different strengths to determine what prescription will resolve the astigmatism.
Is It Possible to Fix Astigmatism?
Yes, fortunately there are many ways to address astigmatism. Common interventions allow most people to attain 20/20 vision in spite of astigmatism. Eyeglasses and contact lenses fitted with the proper prescription can usually do the trick.
For patients who would rather not have to rely on eyewear indefinitely, LASIK and cornea specialist Mark Mandel MD offers other solutions like LASIK and PRK, astigmatic keratotomy, toric ICL and toric IOLs. After confirming your astigmatism with your optometrist, if you are interested in one of these refractive surgeries to permanently resolve your blurry vision, then schedule a personal consultation with Bay Area LASIK and cornea specialist Mark Mandel, MD.
You may contact Optima Eye by emailing us or calling 877-210-2020 ext. 3 today.