Astigma-what? That was probably your first thought when your eye doctor told you that your blurry vision is due to an astigmatism. Maybe you were expecting to hear something more along the lines of nearsighted or farsighted.
While you may not be familiar with astigmatism, don’t worry — it’s very common and affects 1 out of every 3 people in the United States. Astigmatism can also be diagnosed in combination with nearsightedness or farsightedness.
Due to the effects astigmatism may have on your vision, our experienced team at the Beverly HIlls Institute of Ophthalmology wants you to know how a diagnosis may change your eye health needs.
Your imperfect eye
When you look out at the view from your window, your cornea — which is the clear surface of your eye — focuses the light directly onto your retina at the back of your eye. Your retina converts the light into an electric signal that travels along your optic nerve to the visual cortex of your brain to register the images. All of this happens almost instantaneously.
For clear, crisp vision, all the parts of your eye must be perfectly aligned so that when the light enters, it hits the center of your retina. Astigmatism is a type of refractive error that occurs due to imperfections in the shape of your cornea, which alters the direction of the light and affects the clarity of your vision.
Ideally, your cornea should be round like a baseball. But if you have astigmatism, it may be more egg- or football-shaped.
How astigmatism develops
Your astigmatism may be an inherited trait you were born with. It doesn’t always cause significant vision changes and therefore can go undiagnosed if you don’t get regular, comprehensive eye exams.
You can also develop astigmatism as an adult due to an injury to your eye, or from an underlying eye disease such as keratoconus, which occurs when your cornea tissue thins out and bulges outward. The shape and size of your eyelids can also cause astigmatism.
While you may not always experience vision changes with astigmatism, common symptoms include:
- Blurry vision
- Eye fatigue
- Poor night vision
Astigmatism can be easily diagnosed during a comprehensive eye exam. If you’re experiencing any vision changes, we can identify the cause and provide the best treatment.
Your eye health needs
We can easily correct any of your vision changes with prescription eyeglasses or special contact lenses. However, this doesn’t really correct the imperfections in your eye. At Beverly Hills Institute of Ophthalmology, we offer additional solutions to help correct your astigmatism including:
Orthokeratology is a type of physical therapy for your eye. During treatment, you wear specially designed contact lenses that help correct the shape of your eye to improve vision. You may be able to see improvements in your vision after about two weeks of therapy.
While we offer orthokeratology as an option for correcting astigmatism, it’s not always a permanent solution. Your eyes may return to their imperfect shape after therapy.
Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis, or LASIK surgery, is a long-term solution that corrects your astigmatism and your vision. During the procedure, we use a laser to sculpt and perfect your cornea for better vision. In addition to your astigmatism, we can also correct any other vision issues you may have, such as nearsightedness or farsightedness.
Regular comprehensive eye exams are as important as your annual physical. We not only test your vision, but assess your overall eye health to identify issues like astigmatism. To schedule an appointment with the eyecare experts at the Beverly Hills Institute of Ophthalmology, call the office or request an appointment online now.