Understanding Astigmatism - SightMD Skip to main content

May 04, 2024

By: Jeffrey Martin, MD

Understanding Astigmatism

Astigmatism vs. normal vision

What is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a refractive error that occurs when the cornea or lens of the eye has an irregular shape. Instead of being perfectly round like a basketball, the cornea or lens may be shaped more like a football, causing light to focus unevenly on the retina. This results in blurred or distorted vision at various distances. Despite its prevalence, many individuals may not fully understand what astigmatism is and how it can impact vision.

Symptoms of Astigmatism

  • Blurred or distorted vision, both near and far
  • Eyestrain or discomfort
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Squinting to see clearly

Causes of Astigmatism

Astigmatism can be present at birth (known as congenital astigmatism) or develop later in life due to various factors, including:

  1. Irregular corneal shape: An irregularly shaped cornea is the most common cause of astigmatism. Instead of being spherical, the cornea may have a more oval or football-like shape.
  2. Irregular lens shape: In some cases, astigmatism may result from an irregular shape of the eye’s lens.
  3. Eye injury or surgery: Trauma to the eye or certain eye surgeries may cause changes in the corneal shape, leading to astigmatism.

Treatment Options for Astigmatism

Fortunately, astigmatism can be effectively corrected with various treatment options, including:

  1. Eyeglasses or contact lenses: Prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses can compensate for the irregular shape of the cornea or lens, providing clear and comfortable vision.
  2. Orthokeratology (Ortho-K): Ortho-K involves wearing specially designed rigid contact lenses overnight to temporarily reshape the cornea and correct astigmatism.
  3. Refractive surgery: Procedures such as LASIK or PRK can permanently reshape the cornea to correct astigmatism and other refractive errors.

Contact SightMD Today

Understanding astigmatism and its impact on vision is crucial for maintaining optimal eye health. If you experience symptoms of astigmatism or have concerns about your vision, it’s essential to schedule an appointment with an eye care professional. At SightMD, our team of experienced ophthalmologists and optometrists is dedicated to providing personalized care and comprehensive eye exams to address your vision needs. Don’t hesitate to book an appointment today to ensure clear and comfortable vision for years to come.