Astigmatism causes blurred vision at all distances, and usually occurs when the corneas are ‘rugby ball shaped’.
Astigmatism is a very common eye problem that affects your ability to see things close up and further away. Astigmatism, and particularly severe astigmatism, was previously untreatable with laser eye surgery. But thanks to the advanced iLASIK surgery available at Eye Institute, many people with astigmatism can now enjoy freedom from glasses and contact lenses.
Unlike short sightedness (which only affects distance vision) and long sightedness (which only affects close-up vision), astigmatism affects both distance and close vision. If you notice objects at all distances seem blurry, it may be because of astigmatism.
Astigmatism can make a multitude of tasks more difficult – from close work like reading, to distance vision tasks like driving or watching television. Because of this, many people with astigmatism suffer sore or tired eyes from over-straining them. Headaches are also a common symptom of astigmatism.
Causes of astigmatism
To understand astigmatism, it first helps to understand how the eye works.
Astigmatism is a refractive error caused by an imperfection in the eye – usually in the cornea (the clear front ‘window’ of the eye), but sometimes in the lens. The imperfection changes the way your eye focuses the light rays that pass into it. This can happen when:
- The cornea is an oval ‘rugby ball shape’, rather than a round ‘soccer ball shape’
- The lens is an oval ‘rugby ball shape’, rather than a round ‘soccer ball shape’
When either of these imperfections occur, it causes the light that enters your eye to focus in two places, instead of one. This makes objects at all distances look blurry.
Astigmatism, is thought to be an inherited condition, so you’re more likely to be astigmatic if one or both of your parents has the condition. Astigmatism can also occur as a result of an eye injury that causes scarring on the cornea, and may come about as a result of the eye condition keratoconus too.
Treatment for astigmatism
Refractive errors like astigmatism were traditionally corrected with glasses and contacts. In the case of astigmatism, and particularly severe astigmatism, there used to be no other option, as laser eye surgery was generally unsuitable.
However, thanks to the advanced laser eye surgery at Eye Institute – called iLASIK – many people with astigmatism can now enjoy permanent vision correction and freedom from the hassles of glasses and contacts.