Many of you have heard of the word Astigmatism or have been diagnosed with this eye condition, but are you sure what it means? In this article, we will answer the most important questions regarding the most common symptoms, diagnosis, and how patients see such a problem. Last but not least, our readers will also get answers to the questions – how is it treated and what are the best methods for treating and correcting Astigmatism?
What is Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is a condition that usually begins in childhood and lasts throughout a person’s life. This is a defect in the curvature of the cornea and its shape is not spherical but oval or ovate. The cornea is a transparent, smooth, and glossy lining of the eye covering the iris and pupil. The best analogy is to imagine that the front of the eye is shaped like lemon instead of an orange, or like a rugby ball instead of a soccer ball.
Another cause of astigmatism is related to the shape of the lens of the eye. Usually, the cornea and lens are smooth and rounded in all directions to help focus the light rays right on the retina located in the back of the eye. If the cornea or lens is not smooth and evenly curved, the light rays do not break properly. This is called refractive error or refractive error. In this refractive mode, several focus points are obtained and often this results in blurred vision at all distances – far and near.
When the cornea has an irregular shape, then the astigmatism is called – corneal astigmatism of the eyes.
When the shape of the lens is distorted, you have lens astigmatism of the eyes.
The symptoms of both types of astigmatism are blurred or distorted vision at near and far distances, the result being the same – the need for vision correction – whether by wearing diopter glasses, eye contact lenses, laser vision correction in patients from 18 up to 45 years of age or implantation of intraocular lenses in patients over 45 years of age.
People can be born with astigmatism. In fact, most people are probably born with some degree of astigmatism, but their parents did not pay attention to the symptoms. It is often found to be combined with other refractive abnormalities such as myopia (myopia) or hyperopia (hypermetropia).
The signs and symptoms of astigmatism may include:
- Blurred or distorted vision
- Eye fatigue or discomfort
- Difficulty with night vision
- Curving or closing your gaze
When to see an ophthalmologist?
There are a number of astigmatism tests on the Internet, but they are rather informative and may not be an accurate way to diagnose. Although they are easily done in the comfort of home in front of your computer, do not trust them too much. Contact an eye doctor if the symptoms listed above, or the discomfort you experience, making it difficult or hindering your daily activities and tasks. Your eye doctor can determine if you have a diopter per degree and, if so, to what extent and whether your symptoms are due to an eye condition. Your doctor may also advise you on appropriate options for correcting your vision.
Astigmatism in Children and Adolescents – Symptoms and Treatment
Astigmatism in Children – Diagnosis and Treatment Early diagnosis in children and adolescents is crucial for their proper development in school and in sports and all extracurricular activities.
While adults with a higher degree of astigmatism may understand that their eyesight is not as good as it should be by observing a range of symptoms in their daily lives, children who have symptoms of astigmatism may not be aware and unaware, that they have this disease.
Children are unlikely to complain of blurred or distorted vision.
Unadjusted children’s eye astigmatism can seriously affect a child’s ability to develop in school and in sports.
Children may not be aware of this problem or share the symptoms that bother them, so they should be examined for eye disease and have an eye exam by an ophthalmologist.
Child examinations take longer and it is important that the child is prepared for the on-going examination.
If the child is nervous, hungry or awake, the examination with an eye doctor may not be possible due to the child’s non-assistance.
There are three important points for eye examination and vision diagnosis in children and adolescents regarding astigmatism:
- from 6 months to 2 years of age.
- Between the ages of 3 and 4, most eye problems, if any, are detected.
- it is mandatory to have an eye exam before the child goes to school.
During the school years, one to two years in the child’s well-being to see an ophthalmologist.
How do patients with astigmatism see it?
In patients with -3.00D (“minus three diopters”) astigmatism may need to be adjusted regardless of whether glasses or lenses are worn relatively constantly to achieve greater clarity and comfort at all distances.
In patients with 1.00D (“one diopter”) age-related astigmatism, this person may be able to live and see quite normally with such astigmatism, but will most likely benefit from adjustment for specific tasks that require a lot of good focus.
Causes of astigmatism
The human eye has two structures with curved surfaces that refract light so that the images focus on the retina and produce a clear picture.
- Cornea – the transparent front surface of your eye, along with the tear film
- lens – a structure in the eye that changes shape to help focus on close objects
In a perfectly shaped human eye, each of these elements has a circular curved shape, such as the surface of a smooth ball. The cornea and lens with such a correct spherical curvature (break) all the incoming rays to achieve a precisely focused image directly on the retina, in the back of the eye.
What is a refractive anomaly – or a refractive error?
If the cornea or lens is ovate with two inconsistent curves, the light rays are not broken correctly, resulting in a refractive error of the light or a so-called refractive anomaly and make the image more blurry. Astigmatism is just such a refractive anomania or a refractive error.
Astigmatism occurs when the cornea or lens is bent sharper and steeper in one direction than in the other. Depending on the type, astigmatism is – corneal astigmatism – the cornea has a mismatch of curves. You have lens astigmatism if the lens has inconsistent curves.
Both types of astigmatism can cause blurred vision. Blurred vision can appear more in one direction, either horizontally or vertically or diagonally.
Astigmatism can be present from birth, or it can develop after an eye injury, illness or surgery.
MYTH is the claim that astigmatism is caused or may be aggravated by reading in a dimly lit room, blinking or watching television from too close a distance.
Other refractive errors
Astigmatism can occur in combination with other refractive errors that include:
Myopia (near-sightedness) – This happens when the cornea is curved too much or the eye is longer than normal. Instead of focusing precisely on the retina, light focuses in front of the retina, which makes distant objects appear blurred.
Hyperopia (Farsightedness) – This happens when the cornea is curved too little or the eye is shorter than normal. The effect is the opposite of myopia. When your eye is in a relaxed state, light never focuses on the retina on the inside of the eye, making nearby objects appear blurred.
Diagnosis and test for astigmatism
Astigmatism is diagnosed by an eye examination with an ophthalmologist. An in-depth eye examination includes a series of tests to check eye health and light refraction. Your eye doctor may use different apparatus, use bright light directly in your eyes and ask you to look through several lenses. Your doctor uses these tests to check different parts of your eyes and vision and to determine the correct diopters that provide clear vision with glasses or contact lenses.
Check online quickly for Astigmatism. What are the symptoms and treatment options?
3 of the best and accurate Astigmatism tests.
Treatment of Astigmatism
The purpose of the treatment of astigmatism is to improve the clarity of vision and overall comfort of your vision. There are different types of treatment depending on your age, such as intraocular correction lenses or refractive surgery.
Astigmatism corrective lenses
Wearing corrective lenses treats astigmatism by counteracting the uneven curvatures of the cornea and lens and enhances the focus of the images directly on the retina. The effect of multiple focal points is avoided and the images and pictures are clear.
Types of corrections include:
Eyeglasses are made with glasses / lenses that help offset the uneven shape of your eye. The glasses help to refract light properly. Glasses can also correct other refractive abnormalities, such as myopia (myopia) or hyperopia (hypermetropia).
2. Contact lenses
Like eyeglasses, contact lenses can correct most of astigmatism. They come in a variety of types and styles, including soft disposables; long-wearing astigmatism lenses; solid lenses for astigmatism, gas permeable and bifocal lenses.
Contact lenses are also used in a procedure for treating astigmatism called orthokeratology. In orthokeratology, solid contact lenses are worn for several hours a day, until the curve of the eye is straightened and has a spherical shape. Then, wear the lenses less often just to maintain the new shape. If this treatment is discontinued, your cornea will regain its previous shape.
The disadvantage of wearing contact lenses for extended periods of time is the increased risk of infection in the eye as well as the difficult process of putting, removing and maintaining the lenses and eyes.
Ask your eye doctor about the pros and cons and risks of contact lenses and what might be best for you.
Refractive surgery – laser correction
Refractive surgery improves vision and reduces or eliminates the need for glasses or contact lenses. Your ophthalmic surgeon (ophthalmic surgeon) uses a laser and a laser beam to reshape / modify corneal curves, which corrects for light refraction errors. Prior to surgery, doctors will do a thorough review to evaluate and determine if you are a suitable candidate for refractive surgery.
Types of refractive surgery – laser correction of astigmatism include:
Laser-assisted in situ keratomileuses (LASIK).
During this procedure, the ophthalmic surgeon makes a thin flap in the cornea. The doctor uses an excimer laser to sculpt the corneal shape so that you have good vision and then put the cap back in place.
Laser-assisted subepithelial keratectomy (LASEK).
Instead of creating a flap in the cornea, the surgeon loosens the thin corneal protective layer (epithelium) with special alcohol. The eye doctor uses an excimer laser to change the corneal curve and then re-loosen the thin, protective epithelial layer.
Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK).
This procedure is similar to LASEK except that the surgeon removes the epithelium. The epithelium will come back naturally, corresponding to the new shape of the cornea. In this procedure, you may need to wear special therapeutic lenses and a bandage to hold the lenses. This may continue for several days after surgery. This procedure is appropriate for patients with smaller diopters Myopia (Myopia) or Hyperopia (Hypermetropia) and Astigmatism (Astigmatism)
This is a variant of LASEK. Your doctor uses a specially mechanized knife – instead of alcohol – to separate a very thin layer that looks like a sheet of epithelium. The ophthalmologist then uses an excimer laser to reconstruct the cornea and reposition the epithelium.
There is no one best method for refractive surgery – laser vision correction for astigmatism, so the decision should only be made after a thorough evaluation of your vision and a thorough discussion with your doctor. Your lifestyle, work, sports and fun are crucial in deciding what procedure to choose from your diopters.
And what are the options in older patients with astigmatism?
Elderly people who are about to undergo cataract surgery should discuss the results after surgery. An ophthalmic surgeon may suggest options for correcting this astigmatism with special lenses. High technology now allows toric implant implantation to be possible, which means it may be possible to reduce the amount of astigmatism during cataract surgery and should be discussed with your doctor before proceeding with cataract surgery and implantation of an intraocular lens.