What is Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is a common vision condition that leads to blurred vision. Astigmatism occurs when the cornea (the clear front cover of the eye) is irregularly shaped or at times due to the curvature of the lens inside the eye. Light fails to focus properly on the retina (the light-sensitive thin tissue at the back of the eye) due to an irregularly shaped cornea. This results in blurred vision, irrespective of the distance at which the viewer is. This can also result in the eye discomfort and headaches.
Causes of Astigmatism
Astigmatism is often known to simultaneously occur with other vision ailments like myopia (near-sightedness) and hyperopia (far-sightedness). These vision ailments together are referred to as refractive errors as they show their effect on the bending or refraction of light.
No specific casual relationship has been found for astigmatism. It is known to be hereditary and is normally found from the time of birth. It can show variation with increased or decreased intensity over time.
There are two types of astigmatism – Regular and Irregular.
In regular astigmatism, cornea is curved more in one direction than the other. It’s more common than irregular astigmatism and can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses.
In irregular astigmatism, the corneal curvature is uneven across the surface of the eye. Instead of being curved mostly in one direction, it could be curved in multiple directions, or the curve could be steeper towards the bottom.
*Irregular astigmatism is many a times is caused due to an eye injury that leaves a scar on the cornea. It can be corrected with contact lenses but not with the glasses.
A relatively rare condition called Keratoconus that involves the cornea becoming progressively thinner and cone-shaped is also one of the causes of astigmatism. It leads to a large amount of astigmatism, which causes poor vision that cannot be clearly corrected with eyeglasses.
Symptoms of Astigmatism
Astigmatism can affect both children and adults. Some patients with slight astigmatism may not experience much change in their vision. It is important to regularly undergo eye examinations so as to detect any astigmatism early on in children.
Some of the symptoms of astigmatism include:
- Distorted or blurred vision at all distances
- Difficulty driving at night
It is important to be aware of any changes in the vision in order to detect any common vision problems and get early treatment.
It is possible to be unaware of mild astigmatism. This is especially true for children, who are not aware of their vision being other than normal. Some adults may also have mild astigmatism without any symptoms.
Treatment for Astigmatism
Astigmatism treatment at Sanjeevan focuses on the improvement of the curvature of the affected cornea or the lens, unlike prescribing eyeglasses or contact lenses to the patients, where only the symptoms are being “corrected”.These are simply external aids that helps one see better, however the condition of the eye remains the same or even worsens in most cases. At Sanjeevan we not only treat the symptoms but also understand the root cause as to why Astigmatism occurred in the first place. This is meant to help the patient suffering from astigmatism to focus better which would result into a sharper image.
In rare cases of irregular astigmatism with our treatment, we induce more oxygenation in the cornea and the lens and improve the flexibility of the lens which ultimately results into improvement of vision.