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Astigmatism: A Common Vision Problem

Posted on May 29, 2015

What is astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a refractive error that occurs when the front surface of your eye or the lens inside the eye is slightly irregular or cylindrical in shape, resulting in vision being blurred or distorted at all distances. Astigmatism is not a disease, but a common visual condition and occurs in nearly everybody to some degree. Astigmatism may occur with other vision problems such as nearsightedness and farsightedness. Because astigmatism may increase slowly, you should visit your Edmonton optometrist at Londonderry Eye Care whenever you notice changes in your vision.

What causes astigmatism?

When the front surface of your eye (the cornea) or the lens inside the eye is more oval or cylindrical than round, light does not focus properly on the back inside surface of your eye (retina). Astigmatism is caused by small differences in the growth and alignment of the components of the eye. In some cases, it may be hereditary or it may result from such factors as pressure of the eyelids on the cornea.

What are the signs and symptoms of astigmatism?

Even people with mild to moderate astigmatism will usually have blurred or distorted vision. Signs and symptoms of astigmatism may include:

  • Blurred or distorted vision
  • Eyestrain
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue

If your quality of vision detracts from your enjoyment of activities or interferes with your ability to perform everyday tasks, see an eye doctor. For further guidelines on frequency of eye examinations, please follow the Canadian Association of Optometrists. Adults aged 20 to 39 years should undergo an eye examination every two to three years. Adults aged 40 to 64 should undergo an eye examination every two years. Adults 65 years or older should undergo an eye examination annually.

How is astigmatism treated?

Treatments include corrective lenses and refractive surgery. Wearing corrective lenses treats astigmatism by counteracting the uneven curvature of your cornea. Astigmatism correction can usually be easily incorporated into eye glasses. Alternatively, special soft contact lenses called toric lenses can be prescribed. Soft toric lenses have greater light-bending power in one direction than the other.

In preparing for your eye doctor (ophthalmologist).appointment, it's a good idea to be well prepared for your appointment:

  • Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
  • Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
  • Bring a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you're taking.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

For further assistance, contact our caring staff and expert optometrists to answer all of your questions to provide you the clear vision you deserve. To book eye exam in Edmonton call Londonderry Eye Care today at 780–476–7631.