Astigmatism is a condition that causes problems with focusing the light as it comes into the eye. Due to this, the vision is blurred both nearby and at a distance. Astigmatism is a fairly common condition, and in fact, most people have at least some degree of astigmatism. Astigmatism is often seen at the same time as nearsightedness or farsightedness.
Astigmatism is most often seen in people who have oval corneas, as opposed to round corneas. When the cornea has an oval shape, it can't focus light on the retina correctly. The reason that the retina develops in an oval shape rather than a round shape can vary. Sometimes, it is hereditary and is present from the time of birth. In other cases, the cornea can grow in an oval shape due to pressure from corneal scars, eyelid pressure, or a vision disorder called keratoconus.
The signs of mild astigmatism include chronic headaches, blurry vision either close up or at distances, and eye strain. The signs of serious astigmatism include blurry vision at all distances, along with headaches and eye strain.
The eye doctor will check for astigmatism during a regular eye check-up.
One of the most common ways to manage astigmatism is to wear specific eyeglasses or specially designed contact lenses. There is also a surgical option. In LASIK surgery, the eye surgeon can use lasers to essentially reshape the cornea to make it round rather than oval shaped. This will help restore normal vision. Astigmatism only needs major treatment like surgery in some cases, so patients must work with their eye doctor to determine the treatment path that works best for them.