Why the Stigma with Astigmatism

It is estimated that 33% of the population has an astigmatism and 70% of glasses prescriptions has the correction for it in the prescription. So, what is an astigmatism, what will you notice, what causes it, and what can be done to fix it? These are questions that most eye doctors or optometrists field on a daily basis. I am going to go over several aspects and help shed some light on the stigma of astigmatism. After all a condition this common in society should not be something that strikes fear into most patients when they hear they have one.

What is an Astigmatism?

An astigmatism is when the front part of the eye, the cornea, is not shaped perfectly round. Instead of the cornea being round it is more like a football in shape. Being shaped this way causes light to come into focus in two spots instead of one. Not a big deal perfectly “normal”, but not the ideal situation for clear vision. That is all that it is. Simply the front part of the eye being shaped “improperly. This is why there is no reason to stress if your Eye Doctor tells you that you have one.

Symptoms of Astigmatism

Some of the symptoms of astigmatism can be as follows. You might notice lights, such as street lights, which should have a circle of glare around them instead have an area of glare that is longer than others. You also might notice images are slightly out of focus or have a slight shadow or ghost image to them. An uncorrected astigmatism can also frequently cause low grade dull type daily headaches. If you would like to read more about other ways the eyes can cause a headache check out my other post about headaches.

What causes an astigmatism?

There is a genetic component to astigmatism, so you have your ancestors to partially blame for it. Injury to the eye can sometimes cause it as well. As a medical community we aren’t 100% certain of the causes, but we do know those things can play a role in someone having one. However, it is a myth that reading in low light environments can cause one. Reading in low light can give you a headache or exhaust your vision, but it can’t cause an astigmatism.

Types of Astigmatism

While there are technically multiple types of astigmatism there really aren’t. The different types of astigmatism are classified as compound hyperopic astigmatism, compound myopic astigmatism, and mixed astigmatism. All these mean is that both points of focus of light are behind the retina, in front of the retina, or one in front and one behind.

How to Correct Astigmatism

Glasses, contacts, or refractive surgery like LASIK can easily correct it and rid the things you might notice from it. When it comes to the glasses it is an extremely easy fix. Depending on how high the astigmatism is will determine if certain eyeglass frame styles are an option for you. Most contact lens companies will make a topic or astigmatism version of contact lenses.

Having this added to your glasses or contact lenses is a simple fix. The glasses won’t cost more because of it, but sometimes the contact lenses do cost more. Having one is not the worst thing because again almost a third of the population has one. So, know that you are in good company if you have one because if you are in a room of more than 5 people someone else probably has one.

If you still have questions or want to know if you have one come by our Collinsville Doctor Office for an eye examination. If you ever have a topic you would like me to talk about please send us an email and I will gladly talk about any topic. I am adding more topics every month, so make sure to check beak monthly to see what other topics I have covered. You can also give us a call! I know there are tons of articles you could have read, and I appreciate you taking the time to read my article. I hope you have a great day and thanks for reading.

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Dr. Thirion

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