What is astigmatism?
- Astigmatism is when the clear, outer covering of your eye (the cornea) is ovular rather than round. The cornea directs light into the back of the eye onto the retina, which results in clear vision. Due to the curvature irregularities in the cornea, light does not focus properly on the retina, causing blurred vision. Astigmatism is very common, as it is rare that someone’s eye is perfectly round. However, the intensity of the effects of the astigmatism the person experiences depends on the severity.
How can astigmatism be corrected?
- Eyeglasses and contact lenses can help correct astigmatism by bending the light into the correct position on the retina before it enters your eye; Contact lenses that correct astigmatism are called toric lenses, and may need to be custom made for your specific prescription
- Several types of surgery, such as LASIK and HDSA, can also correct astigmatism by bending the incoming light; Unlike glasses or contact lenses, this is done by using a precise laser to reshape the cornea to bend the light as it enters your eye
How can you reduce eye strain at home?
- Wear your eyeglasses or contact lenses as prescribed
- Provide yourself with good light for reading; A soft background light with a direct light on your book, phone, crossword, &c. works well
- Take frequent breaks when reading, watching TV, or working on a computer; blink often and close your eyes to rest when they feel tired
- Avoid glare on television and computer screens; place your electronics where lights do not reflect on the screen
- Wear sunglasses to block out harmful sunlight; buy sunglasses that block ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B (UVA and UVB) rays
- You may choose large-print books or adjust the font size on your computer for easier reading
When should you call for help?
- Sudden decrease in vision
- Problems wearing contact lenses
- If you see flashes of light or new floaters, or if you see a “curtain” over your vision
- If you need help adjusting to reduced vision
- If you do not see as well as you think you should wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses
- If your child complains of blurred vision