When you look at letters and numbers do they all appear to be blurry around the edges? Are sports scores, Netflix titles, and the TV guide channel difficult to read? Do car lights at night have a halo effect around them making it difficult to see? Do your eyes feel tired after computer use at the end of the day. Any or all of these may indicate you may have Astigmatism.
What is Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is a refractive error where the light is not focused directly on the retina with one point; instead, due to an irregular shape of either the cornea or lens, the light is focused at two points. This creates eye strain, blurry vision, and even headaches. Most people have astigmatism it just depends on the amount on whether it should be corrected to improve vision. Astigmatism can occur in both people who are near-sighted or far-sighted.
The exact cause of astigmatism is unknown, but both genetics and environmental factors are present. Genetics, dry eyes, over-wear of contact lens wear, or eye conditions such as Keratoconus are reasons for increased Astigmatism.
Correcting Astigmatism can give a patient crisp, HD vision. Astigmatism takes the fuzziness off off the borders of letters and the halo off of lights. I always tell my patients its similar to when cable channels made the switch to HD; we were all suddenly aware of how blurry the images were that we had previously watched.
In today's digital world, many of us look at digital devices all day. By correcting one's astigmatism, eye fatigue and strain can be significantly reduced. It is more comfortable and less stressful on the eyes to look at computer monitors and phones all day.
How can Astigmatism be corrected?
Astigmatism can be corrected with glasses, contacts, or surgery depending on the amount. There are pros and cons to each and a doctor's evaluation can help determine the best solution for you. The higher amounts of astigmatism may be better corrected with contacts then glasses allowing for easier adaptation by the patient and clearer vision.
Glasses lenses can be an easy fix for astigmatism, and depending upon the amount of astigmatism, may be the most clear options. Glasses lenses do not move in a frame so the vision is always stable versus contacts that move on the eye.
Toric contact lenses are used to correct patients with astigmatism depending upon the amount of astigmatism you may have. Toric lenses are similar to putting football lenses on your football shaped eye. Regular sphercial lenses like a baseball will not give sharp, visual clarity. The technology in toric contacts is ever-evolving, and we have more contact lens options and brands today then ever before. Toric lenses years ago were thick, uncomfortable, and dried out. The vision would fluctuate significantly. Today, we have crisp, comfortable daily lenses for patients with astigmatism. If you have tried contact lenses for astigmatism in the past without success, it is time to try them again.
Those with higher amounts of astigmatism or with Keratoconus can be fit in speciality lenses such as Scleral lenses. These lenses provide the best vision and comfort for patients who do not have clear vision with soft toric contact lenses.