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What is Astigmatism and How is it Treated?

Wed 11th Mar 2009 - 5:27 pm - Back to Article Selection

Astigmatism is a very common form of visual impairment, where part of an image is blurred, because the cornea is unable to correctly focus images onto the retina. This is because of a curve of the cornea. Normally it would be shaped as a common circle, but because of the astigmatism, it is shaped more like an oval.

Almost everyone has some degree of astigmatism, though sometimes it does not have to be treated, depending on the severity of the condition. Some of the most serious forms of astigmatism cause headaches, blurred vision, and eye strain.

Astigmatism is broken down into two main types: regular and irregular. Regular astigmatism refers to the problem coming from the cornea or lens. This is a common problem and can be corrected by contact lenses or glasses. An irregular astigmatism is caused by a scar on the cornea. Unlike regular astigmatism, irregular cannot be treated with glasses, but can be treated with contact lenses.

There are a number of causes of astigmatism. One of the most probable causes is that it is hereditary. Many people who have this condition had it from birth because one or both of their parents had the same condition. Some of the other causes of astigmatism are from bad posture, pressure on the cornea from the eyelid, or a greater usage of your eyes for close work. If headaches, tiredness, and blurred vision become more regular, then it would be wise to schedule an appointment with an Optometrist.

If the Optometrist were to detect a moderate to severe case of astigmatism, they would then want to prescribe some sort of corrective lens. There are two types of corrective lenses, eyeglasses (spectacles) and contact lenses. For people who donít like putting something in their eye, then eyeglasses are the way to go. Both eyeglasses and contacts are prescribed with a special type of lens, called a toric lens. Toric lenses have better light bending power on one side than on the other. The type of toric lens prescribed is due to the exact shape of the astigmatism.

There is also another form of treatment called Refractive surgery. Through this method, the shape of the cornea is corrected by refractive or laser eye surgery, to a point where you may never need eyeglasses or contacts. There are various types of refractive surgery, depending again on the type of astigmatism. Though before becoming set on refractive surgery, there are some requirements. You cannot have any eye disease, corneal scar, or retinal damage to the eye. If this is the case, then refractive surgery is not an option.

Whether by glasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery astigmatism is very easy to diagnose and treat to a point where it does not bother you again.

Disclaimer: The author is not a medical doctor, optician, ophthalmologist or any other medical professional, this article has been compiled using a variety of internet reference sources and while every effort has been made to ensure accuracy this cannot be guaranteed. No preference for product or brand is inferred or intended and the contents of this article are not to be used in whole or in part to inform a decision regarding any aspect of contact lens use.

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