More Info: According to the American Optometric Association, slight degrees of astigmatism don’t require treatment and generally don’t affect vision, but larger degrees of astigmatism can caused distorted and blurred vision, eye discomfort, and headaches.
What Is Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is a refractive error of the eye. Individuals with astigmatism have an irregularly shaped cornea or irregular curvature of the lens. In either case, the light entering the eye does not reflect properly on the retina, the portion of the eye responsible for sending impulses through to the optic nerve and brain. This refractive error can cause blurred vision, eye discomfort, and headaches.
What Causes Astigmatism?
Though there is some debate over the cause of astigmatism, it appears that it may be hereditary as it is most often present at birth. Because it can worsen over time, it is speculated that astigmatism may also be due to incorrect posture, pressure from the eyelids on the cornea, and overuse of eyes for close work.
How Is Astigmatism Treated?
Mild astigmatism does not generally affect vision and therefore requires no treatment.
Corrective lenses, either eyeglasses or contact lenses, can correct astigmatism.
Refractive corneal surgery is also an option for more severe degrees of astigmatism. This surgery works to change the shape of the corneal surface with lasers.
Uncorrected astigmatism occurring in only one eye can cause a condition called amblyopia, which is the medical term for lazy eye.
“Astigmatism | American Optometric Association.” American Optometric Association – Serving Doctors of Optometry & their Patients. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Mar. 2011. http://www.aoa.org/Astigmatism.xml.
“Astigmatism – PubMed Health.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Mar. 2011. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002010/.
“Amblyopia – PubMed Health.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Mar. 2011. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002009/.
“Astigmatism: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment.” WebMD – Better information. Better health.. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Mar. 2011. http://www.webmd.com/eye-health/astigmatism-eyes.