Astigmatism is a common vision condition that causes blurred vision. It occurs when the cornea (the clear, round dome cover of the eye) is irregularly shaped or sometimes because of the curvature of the lens inside the eye. Usually, the cornea and lens are smooth and curved equally, this helps to focus light rays onto the retina in the back of the eye. However, if your cornea or lens is not smooth and curved evenly, light rays are not refracted properly. This is when your vision for both near and far objects appears blurry or distorted.
The specific cause of astigmatism is unknown. It can be hereditary and is usually present from birth. It can decrease or increase over time. Most people have some degree of astigmatism. People may have it along with other vision conditions like myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness).
Together these vision conditions are referred to as refractive errors because they affect how the eyes bend or “refract” light. It can be easy for adults with a higher degree of astigmatism to realize their vision isn’t as good as it should be and can seek assistance. Their blurred vision can lead to eye discomfort and headaches.
Children who have astigmatism symptoms may not be aware they have this condition and are unlikely to complain about blurred or distorted vision. But uncorrected astigmatism can seriously impact a child’s ability to achieve in sports and school. This is why it is imperative that children have regular eye exams to detect astigmatism or other vision problems as early as possible
A comprehensive optometric exam will include testing for astigmatism. There are several options available for correction of astigmatism besides eyeglasses or contact lenses. Your board certified ophthalmologist will know the best options for you.