Understanding Astigmatism

By Tom Pierson posted 10-11-2019 14:48


Astigmatism is one of the most misunderstood eye conditions because most people believe that it is caused by improper lighting. It is crucial to understand the very basics of the condition. The condition causes blurry vision because the lens, or cornea, or both are not smooth and do not focus on light properly. 

The condition is usually genetic, often beginning in childhood. There is no known cause of the condition, however, there is a range of corrective treatments one can undergo. 

Symptoms and Treatment

This is probably one of the most common eye conditions which affect various properties of sight, such as 20/20 vision and seeing objects from afar. Each case of astigmatism usually varies in severity depending on the main cause and how long it has gone untreated. The disease is quite common and people experience it at different levels. Some of the symptoms of astigmatism are as follows: 

  • Trouble focusing on a single object
  • Blurry vision
  • Eyestrain leading to headaches and migraines

Despite the common symptoms, professionals need to treat each case as a unique one and provide care tailored to the specific complication of each patient. This also translates to each case varying in severity and each case requires different types of treatment. These include: 

  • Eyeglasses
  • Surgery
  • Contact lenses

Each form of treatment should be administered by a qualified surgeon who is registered with the relevant legislative bodies in the medical fraternity. 

LASIK Surgery

With innovation in the medical fraternity, new and varied ways of treatment have come about and the most talked about has to be LASIK for astigmatism. LASIK is said to have permanent results as opposed to temp fixes like lenses or glasses which get broken or lost. 

LASIK reshapes the cornea to create a symmetrical shape that eliminates vision issues caused by astigmatism. LASIK also takes care of the problem within one procedure, meaning that you don’t need to come back for eye surgery again and again as a patient. 

Typically, LASIK cures up 3.0 diopters in magnitude, but higher amounts can also be corrected through the surgery. However, this may require follow-up surgery.

Once diagnosed, it is important to commit to the prescribed treatment, especially glasses, to control the problem. In certain instances, surgery for your eyes may not be advisable if you are: 

  • Under 18, because your vision is still in development and may normalize with time. 
  • If you have diabetes due to the abnormalities that may occur
  • If a woman is pregnant, her fluctuating hormones may cause the results to be incorrect
  • If the person has an immune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or HIV because they affect recovery
  • Someone with another existing eye condition because they may need to be treated first. 

No surgery is without its risks, and the same goes for treating astigmatism. Some of the issues that may occur after surgery include regression, visual loss, and dry eyes. In most countries, risks are quite low and patients need to ensure that their surgeon is qualified and experienced. 

Is it Preventable? 

Unfortunately, astigmatism is not preventable because you are either born with it or it develops as you grow older. This is a genetic condition meaning that there is very little an individual can do besides treated. 

However, astigmatism can also develop when a person injures their eye, so it is important to prevent eye injuries. Despite not being preventable, it is curable (to a certain degree) and there are new innovations that assist in easing symptoms of the condition.

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