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Understanding Astigmatism

Breaking Down One Common Eye Condition

Diagram of the Eye Condition: AstigmatismAstigmatism is a condition of the eye that results in blurred vision for those who are impaired. Astigmatism is due to one of several conditions wherein a part of the eye is irregularly shaped, including either the cornea, the front cover of the eye itself (clear), or the curvature of the lens (inside the eye).

What Is Astigmatism?

When one of these parts of the eye is irregularly shaped, such as the cornea or lens, light is prevented from focusing properly where it should, on the retina.This is the light sensitive surface that exists behind and at the rear of the eye. For those suffering from astigmatism, the experience is that of blurred vision at any distance. This is, of course, a very common eye condition, with most people experiencing astigmatism to varying degrees.

For those with extremely minor versions of the condition, no corrective procedure is typically required. With more severe cases of astigmatism, however, severely distorted or blurry areas of vision can result, which can also lead to headaches or pain around the eyes, and treatment is both required and recommended.

Astigmatism will often appear in conjunction with other conditions of the eye such as hyperopia or myopia. When this occurs in tandem, doctors refer to the constellation of conditions as refractive errors. In these cases, the patient’s eyes have a compromised ability to bend (refract) light; thus, the name.

While doctors and researchers have not pinpointed the exact cause of the eye condition, they do know that it is often hereditary. While it may be present from a very early age, as the eye strengthens through age, astigmatism can also become worse, or in some cases better, with time. When the condition persists through to adult age, optometrists can provide corrective lenses in the form of eye glasses or contacts. These corrective lenses shift the way that light enters the patient’s eyes, thereby alleviating the condition.

For some cases, there are laser surgeries available as a possible treatment. Further, other procedures which tend to be non-invasive in nature (such as orthokeratology) have been proven to deliver positive results when dealing with astigmatism.

 

[Diagram Via: WedMD]

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