The Clearview Blog

What is Astigmatism?

June 11, 2015

What is Astigmatism

What is astigmatism? Most likely you have heard of nearsightedness, also called myopia. No doubt you are familiar with farsightedness or hyperopia. These issues are common eye problems which require some form of corrective lenses or they can be corrected with laser vision correction.

It turns out all three of these eye issues are quite common and can easily be corrected. Let’s review what each is and how they affect our vision.

Nearsighted vs Farsighted

When you are nearsighted you are clearly able to see object close to you, but you have difficulty seeing in the distance. So you could read a book, but would have difficulty reading highway signs or even seeing clearly across the street.

When you are farsighted things in the distance are clearer, but objects up close are blurry for you.

Astigmatism is another issue altogether. Everything seems blurry and out of focus regardless of the distance. Usually astigmatism is present along with either myopia or hyperopia.

What Causes Astigmatism?

The actual cause of this condition is unknown, but it may be hereditary and is usually present at birth. It is identified as a refractive error, just like nearsightedness and farsightedness, because it affects the way light is refracted or bends as it enters the eye. When you have the most common form of astigmatism, called corneal astigmatism, your cornea is shaped more like an oval or football instead of a round shape.

With clear vision the light focuses on one point on the retina. With astigmatism it can focus on multiple points in front of or behind the retina and sometimes both. This causes distorted and blurry vision.

A second type occurs when the lens of your eye is likewise not smooth or curved properly. This is known as lenticular astigmatism. The same type of refractive error is present.

Astigmatism Symptoms & Signs

Children and adults can have astigmatism so young children should be evaluated if you suspect they may be having this problem. Astigmatism has some obvious symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Squinting
  • Blurred vision at all distances
  • Difficulty driving at night

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule a comprehensive eye exam at Clearview Vision Institute.

How to Treat Astigmatism

There are a variety of ways to treat and correct this common refractive error. Eyeglasses and contact lenses can both correct astigmatism.

Laser vision correction is another way to get the clear vision you want. There are many patients who still do not know that LASIK will correct astigmatism. At Clearview Vision Institute you will be able to choose from custom bladeless LASIK, custom PRK and other surgical treatments available. The eye care professionals at Clearview Vision Institute will be able to evaluate your level of astigmatism and recommend which treatment is best for your age and your lifestyle.

Whether you are nearsighted, farsighted or have astigmatism, there is a treatment available at Clearview Vision Institute to deliver the crystal clear vision you have always wanted.