In the world of eye care, astigmatism tends to have a bad reputation. There are many myths surrounding the condition, such as that having it limits your ability to wear contact lenses, or that you can inherit it because your family member has it. In reality, astigmatism is a harmless condition that can be easily addressed by your optometrist.
What is an Astigmatism?
Just like nearsightedness or farsightedness, astigmatism is a type of refractive error. These conditions occur when the optical system of the eye doesn’t allow light to focus properly, and objects seem distorted or blurry. In the case of astigmatism, it is a result of a slightly irregular curvature to the cornea, which is the front surface of the eye. This imperfect shape causes light to bend abnormally as it travels through the eye, resulting in objects appearing distorted or out of focus.
An Easy Fix
Astigmatism is much more common than people presume; most people have some degree of astigmatism, even if it is a small amount. Astigmatism can be corrected in several different ways, including contact lenses. Special soft contact lenses, called toric lenses, can be used to correct astigmatism and provide clear vision. For individuals with very high amounts of astigmatism, specialty lenses such as scleral lenses may be more effective in providing clear visual correction. Those with astigmatism can also use glasses to correct for the condition. Even refractive surgery, such as LASIK, can be effective in some cases.
For most people, astigmatism stays stable throughout life, and very rarely does it become a progressively worse condition. In some cases, irregular corneal curvature can be caused by injuries or ocular surgeries. In these rare occasions, optometrists are able to address the problem. If you want to know more about your refractive error, or need visual correction for your astigmatism through glasses or contact lenses, your eye doctor at Wilmington Family Eye Care can help.