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What is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a common condition that causes blurred vision. It occurs when light is bent differently depending on when it strikes the cornea (the clear front cover of your eye) and passes through your eye.

Think of your cornea as a ball. If it is normal, it is shaped like a basketball and has the same degree of roundness in all areas. An eye with astigmatism, would be shaped more like a football with some areas that are steeper or more rounded than others. This causes images to appear blurry or stretched out.

How is Astigmatism Diagnosed?

An optometrist can diagnose astigmatism through a comprehensive eye exam. For example:

ÔÇó Reading letters off of a chart to measure your eye-sight (also known as visual acuity)
ÔÇó Using an instrument called a keratometer to measure the curvature of the cornea, or
ÔÇó Using an instrument called a phoropter to measure how your eyes focus light

You should always tell your doctor if you experience any of the following as they can be symptoms of astigmatism:

ÔÇó Headaches
ÔÇó Eye strain
ÔÇó Squinting
ÔÇó Distorted or blurred vision at all distances
ÔÇó Difficulty driving at night

How is Astigmatism Treated?

There are several options to correct astigmatism including eyeglasses, contact lenses or surgery.

Eyeglasses: People with astigmatism primarily choose eyeglasses as itÔÇÖs the simplest and safest way to improve vision. The eyeglasses contain a special prescription that compensates for the condition and provides more power in specific parts of the lens.

Contact Lenses: In many cases, contact lenses provide clearer vision and a wider field of vision. They are a safe and effective option if used properly and treated with proper care. Patients can consider special soft lenses or rigid gas-permeable contact lenses, which help shape the cornea to improve vision.

Refractive Surgery: This procedure focuses on re-shaping the cornea permanently to correct your vision. It can be corrected through LASIK or PRK (photorefractive keratectomy), which can be discussed with your eye care professional.

For more information on astigmatism and the best options for you, reach out to Compton Eye Associates.