Understanding Astigmatism Progression - SightMD Skip to main content

May 17, 2024

By: Alex Shin, OD

Understanding Astigmatism Progression

Can Astigmatism Get Worse?

Astigmatism is a common vision condition that affects the curvature of the cornea or lens, leading to blurred or distorted vision. Many individuals with astigmatism wonder if their condition can worsen over time, impacting their vision further.

Understanding Astigmatism

Before delving into whether astigmatism can worsen, let’s first understand what astigmatism is. Astigmatism occurs when the cornea or lens of the eye has an irregular shape, causing light to focus unevenly on the retina. Instead of being perfectly round like a basketball, the cornea or lens may have a more oval or football-like shape, resulting in blurred or distorted vision.

Factors Affecting Astigmatism Progression

While astigmatism is typically stable for many individuals, several factors can influence its progression, including:

  1. Age: Astigmatism may change over time, particularly during childhood and adolescence when the eye is still developing. It’s not uncommon for astigmatism to stabilize in adulthood, but changes can occur later in life, especially after the age of 40.
  2. Eye Health: Certain eye conditions, such as keratoconus or progressive myopia, can cause changes in corneal shape and worsen astigmatism. Additionally, conditions like dry eye syndrome or eye injuries may exacerbate existing astigmatism.
  3. Hormonal Changes: Hormonal fluctuations, such as those experienced during pregnancy or menopause, can affect the shape and flexibility of the cornea and lens, potentially worsening astigmatism.
  4. Environmental Factors: Prolonged exposure to digital screens, excessive near work, or environmental allergens can contribute to eye strain and exacerbate astigmatism symptoms.

Symptoms of Worsening Astigmatism

If astigmatism worsens, individuals may experience the following symptoms:

  1. Blurred or distorted vision, both near and far
  2. Eye strain or discomfort, especially after prolonged periods of reading or screen time
  3. Headaches, particularly around the temples or forehead
  4. Difficulty seeing at night or in low-light conditions
  5. Squinting to see clearly

Importance of Regular Eye Exams

Given the potential for astigmatism to change over time, it’s essential for individuals with astigmatism to undergo regular eye exams with an experienced ophthalmologist or optometrist. Comprehensive eye exams allow for early detection of changes in astigmatism and other vision conditions, enabling timely intervention and treatment.

At SightMD, we recommend scheduling annual eye exams for individuals with astigmatism to monitor their vision health and address any changes or concerns promptly. During an eye exam, your eye care provider will assess your vision, measure the degree of astigmatism, and evaluate the overall health of your eyes. Depending on the findings, they may recommend adjustments to your eyeglass or contact lens prescription or discuss alternative treatment options such as refractive surgery.

Contact us Today to Schedule an Appointment Today!

While astigmatism is typically stable for many individuals, it’s important to understand that it can worsen over time due to various factors such as age, eye health, hormonal changes, and environmental factors. Recognizing the symptoms of worsening astigmatism and undergoing regular eye exams are crucial steps in maintaining optimal vision health and addressing any changes in astigmatism promptly.

If you have astigmatism or are experiencing symptoms of worsening astigmatism, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced eye care professionals at SightMD. Our team is dedicated to providing comprehensive eye care and personalized treatment plans to help you achieve clear and comfortable vision. Don’t wait until your vision worsens—book your appointment today and take proactive steps towards preserving your vision health for years to come.