Like hyperopia, commonly known as farsightedness, and myopia, commonly called near-sightedness, astigmatism is also a refractive eye error. This means that it is not really an eyesight problem or disease — the issue lies in how a person’s eyes focuses on light in that light cannot focus properly on the retina making it incapable of generating clear vision. This results in several focus points either in front or behind the retina sometimes both.
What Are the Different Types?
Astigmatism comes in three different types, all of which can be further categorised as irregular or regular astigmatism. The first type is myopic astigmatism wherein only one or both the eyes’ principal meridians are short-sighted or myopic. Meridians however typically have differing levels of myopia in cases where both are near-sighted.
The second type is hyperopic astigmatism wherein only one or both the eyes’ principal meridians are hyperopic or farsighted. As in myopic astigmatism, medians normally exhibit different levels of farsightedness or hyperopia when both are farsighted. With mixed astigmatism however, one of the meridians is hyperopic, while one is myopic.
What are the Common Causes?
The most common cause of corneal astigmatism is an abnormally shaped cornea. Rather than having a round, symmetrical shape, the cornea of an eye with astigmatism is shaped similar to a football, with one of the principal meridians having a more significantly curve than the other one. The flattest and steepest meridians of people suffering from astigmatism are principal meridians. Astigmatism can also develop due to the eye lens’ shape and resulting to lenticular astigmatism.
What to Do If You Have Astigmatism?
While only professional diagnosis can tell you if you have astigmatism, there are signs and symptoms you should watch out for. These include distorted or blurry vision at varying distances, headaches, and eyestrain. According to an eye specialist in Tauranga, if you wear prescription glasses, astigmatism may still cause eyestrain most especially after doing extensive visual tasks like reading or using the computer. Squinting is likewise a common astigmatism symptom.
If you experience the above mentioned symptoms, schedule a visit to an eye specialist to confirm if you have astigmatism or other eye problems as soon as possible.