Not many Americans can define what astigmatism is, even though this refractive error affects nearly one in three Americans. To help our patients in Georgia understand more about astigmatism, the doctors at Atlanta Vision Laser and Cataract Center have decided to answer several of the most frequently asked questions about astigmatism in this blog.
What Is Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is a common refractive error where either the cornea or the lens has an atypical curvature. Incoming light rays do not bend at the correct angles, which causes blurry vision. Unlike nearsightedness (myopia) and farsightedness (hyperopia), which make vision unclear at certain distances, astigmatism affects vision at all distances.
What Clues Indicate That I May Have Astigmatism?
The most obvious symptom is blurry vision. Anytime you have continuous blurry vision, you should speak to an eye doctor about this problem, even if astigmatism turns out not to be the culprit.
Seeing at night can be especially challenging with astigmatism. You may also discover that you regularly squint or strain your eyes to see better. This not only makes your eyes feel tired, but also can elevate your risk for migraines.
If your astigmatism is mild, you may not notice many symptoms. This makes it important to undergo regular eye exams since astigmatism often gets worse over time.
Can Astigmatism Be Fixed?
The good news is that eye doctors have developed multiple ways to treat astigmatism. Most patients choose to attain clear vision with eyeglasses or contact lenses. With a correct prescription, this can help many people with astigmatism to achieve close to 20/20 vision.
However, you may not enjoy or want to wear prescription lenses the rest of your life. In that case, you may be a good candidate for LASIK, a popular refractive surgery. LASIK has proven to be very effective at helping patients to overcome astigmatism without requiring eyewear.
Should I Get Tested for Astigmatism?
All people should undergo regular eye examinations. Most comprehensive eye exams measure for astigmatism in a variety of ways — it is likely that you have already taken some of these tests at a previous eye appointment, even if you were not aware that it was looking for signs of astigmatism.
Keratometry uses an ophthalmometer to examine the precise curvature of your cornea. The refraction test evaluates how light bends as it passes through the cornea. (This is the test where your eye doctor flicks between lenses of different strengths to determine which prescription is suited for you.) One additional test checks how well you can read letters of various sizes on a chart to measure acuity.
Make an Appointment
If you are overdue for an eye exam, or if you are considering LASIK to help correct your previously diagnosed astigmatism, please plan to meet with the talented doctors at Atlanta Vision Laser & Cataract Center. Email or call (404) 765-2020 to arrange an appointment at your convenience.