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Early signs of astigmatism and how to treat it

Astigmatism is a common eye condition occurring due to the imperfect curvature of the cornea of the eye. The condition develops when either cornea or the eye lens has curvatures that are not adequate to focus light on the retina. Ideally, the curvature should be round, when it becomes oval or egg-shaped, both near and far away objects appear blurred. Cases of astigmatism in both eyes are seen more commonly than the ones where only one eye is affected. The condition is likely to develop only in one eye as a result of an injury or trauma.

There are three types of astigmatism:

  • Myopic astigmatism
  • Hyperopic astigmatism
  • Mixed astigmatism

Generally, astigmatism is hereditary, i.e. genetic trait passed on to you from the biological parents. The secondary reason can be your eyelids exerting excessive pressure on the cornea. Eye injuries, post-surgery complications of eye surgery, and keratoconus (outward bulging of the cornea) can also lead to astigmatism. The condition may not be very noticeable initially and grows gradually. The sooner you detect astigmatism, the better you can take care of your eyes.

Common signs and symptoms of astigmatism include the following:

  • Blurred visionokEyestrain; squinting to see or read clearlyokkDifficulty with night vision
  • Seeing halos around light
  • Headaches and fatigue

If you identify with most of these early signs of astigmatism, visit an eye specialist for a thorough check-up and get proper treatment. However, one of the most commonly asked questions to many eye doctors is whether astigmatism goes away on its own or not.

Many times, an infant is born with astigmatism and the condition goes away as the child gets to one year of age. However, if the condition persists, the child may face difficulty in studying and playing. As children cannot assess quickly if there is a vision difficulty, ensuring regular eye check-ups every 6 months.

Astigmatism treatment options

Doctors advise corrective lenses for people with astigmatism. You can choose spectacles or contact lenses at your convenience and your doctor’s recommendation. In case astigmatism is mild, not affecting the quality of vision, the doctor may not suggest contacts or eyeglasses. The ophthalmologist will evaluate the progression of astigmatism at future visits at regular intervals. Astigmatism carries the chance of worsening with time, thus going to eye check-ups and maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet play a crucial role.

  • Eyeglasses for astigmatism: Eyeglass lenses prescribed for astigmatism have a curve that counterbalances the corneal or lens shape that is creating blurred vision. Usually, the eyeglass lenses work fine while looking straight ahead. However, based on the degree of correction that the eyes need, you may sometimes feel that walls or the floor appear tilted. As you continue wearing glasses, this effect goes away as your vision adjusts accordingly. If you still face an issue in adjusting even after a week or so, get in touch with your doctor and get it checked. Sometimes, the central cornea keeps on thinning and weakening, making it bulge out and assume a cone-like shape. Such a condition is known as keratoconus, where the cornea loses its normal dome shape. It is called irregular or increasing astigmatism. In such a case, you need to get eye checkups frequently.
  • Contact lenses: Doctors often recommend toric lenses for mild astigmatism. These are a special type of soft lenses. When you blink, toric lenses rotate but come back to their original position. However, if astigmatism is severe, rigid contacts, also known as gas-permeable contact lenses work better.
  • Eye surgery for astigmatism: Eye surgery reshapes the cornea to focus light rays properly. Depending upon the patient’s needs, the doctor recommends either LASIK (Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis), PRK (photorefractive keratectomy), or any other laser procedure. The right procedure is determined after conducting a thorough work-up and carefully assessing the cornea and lens. However, LASIK for astigmatism is preferred if the patient’s cornea is healthy

There is no sure-shot way to prevent astigmatism. One can only manage and get the treatment through a timely diagnosis.

Take Away

Astigmatism is a prevailing eye problem that arises when the cornea is more curved than its natural shape. The hazy or blurred vision can be extremely irritating in going about routine life.

Astigmatism correction is necessary to prevent injuries or accidents that can occur due to blurred vision. Not every individual with astigmatism requires surgery, many people see clearly with eyeglasses or contacts. It is also necessary to rule out the possibility of keratoconus or increasing astigmatism to be able to get proper treatment. If you or someone in your family is struggling with astigmatism, visit an eye specialist. Choose Centre for Sight to consult experienced eye doctors and surgeons who offer personalized treatment. We have a trusted team of doctors and staff members who ensure that your entire treatment journey goes seamlessly.

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