Many people have astigmatism without actually knowing what it is. Astigmatism is a very common condition, and in fact, most people have some degree of astigmatism. It often occurs with other vision conditions such as myopia, or nearsightedness, or hyperopia, or farsightedness. These conditions are referred to as refractive errors because they affect how the eye bends (refracts) the light as it enters the eye.
Astigmatism is characterized by an abnormal shape, or curvature, of the cornea. The human eye is naturally spherical in shape, so when light enters the eye, it is refracted normally. An astigmatic eye is shaped like a football, or the back of a spoon, which causes light entering the eye to refract more in one direction or the other. Because of this, objects appear blurry.
Astigmatism can be corrected with glasses, contact lenses or Laser Eye Surgery for Laser Vision Correction such as LASIK. Eyeglasses used to correct astigmatism have a cylindrical lens prescription in them that provides for additional lens power in certain areas of the lens. Contact lenses that correct astigmatism are called toric contact lenses and are made of the same material as regular contact lenses but have added correction for cylindrical aberration. They can be more difficult for the wearer as well, as they have a top and a bottom and are not symmetrical. Because of this, toric lenses cannot be rotated. Laser Eye Surgery for Laser Vision Correction such as LASIK or PRK can correct for astigmatism by reshaping the cornea through the use of a laser.
If you or someone you know has astigmatism and would like to learn more about it and how to correct it, please call Eyecare Medical Group at 1-888-374-2020 to set up an appointment!