Astigmatism

       Have you ever been to the eye doctor and they tell you your eye is shaped like a football?  If that phrase has confused you, don’t worry, you’re not alone.  Hopefully we can offer a very basic explanation to help you understand.

Understanding Astigmatism

       Without an understanding of the scientific properties of light or geometrics, describing an astigmatism can be challenging.  In simple terms, astigmatism means that your cornea does not have the same shape and curvature all the way around (kind of like a basketball or baseball does).  Instead, there is a steep curvature in one meridian, and a flatter curvature in the other meridian (hence the comparison to a football).  This causes light to enter into the eye and focus in separate areas.  The way this affects your vision depends on where the light rays are focusing.  That is why some people with an astigmatism can ‘get by’ without glasses…one light ray might be focused right on the retina, with the other light ray in front or behind the retina. Astigmatism can develop at any stage of life, and sometimes may increase or even decrease with age.

Symptoms of Astigmatism

       Common complaints of people with an astigmatism usually include:

  • Blurry vision at various distances
  • Shadow/ghost imaging, or double vision
  • Eye strain
  • Headaches - especially when reading or computer use

Treatment for Astigmatism

       Back in the day, the only way to correct your vision was with either glasses or hard contact lenses.  Fortunately, today several options are available to correct an astigmatism.  These options include: glasses, soft toric contact lenses, hybrid lenses, and of course rigid gas permeable lenses are still used.  LASIK surgery is even an optionfor certain amounts of astigmatism.  We will recommend what we feel is best for you during your exam.