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What does Astigmatism look like | Its Basics & Things to Avoid

July 27th,2023

What does astigmatism look like and what does it do to our eyes? All is explained in this article. 

What is Astigmatism?  

This is a fairly common eye disorder that affects the shape of the eye's cornea or lens. For a normally functioning human eye, the cornea and lens are smooth and evenly curved. This naturally allows light to focus accurately on the retina at the back of the eye. But if someone suffering from Astigmatism gets an irregular shape, resembling more of a football shape than a spherical shape. So, what does astigmatism look like? Generally, this disorder can be classified into corneal astigmatism and lenticular astigmatism. The first one occurs when the cornea has an irregular shape, while lenticular astigmatism is caused by an irregularity in the lens.

Astigmatism is usually treated with surgery. While rare, complications can arise from refractive surgeries used to correct astigmatism, such as LASIK or PRK. These complications may include overcorrection or under-correction of astigmatism, inducing irregular astigmatism, dry eyes, or other visual disturbances. It is essential to choose an experienced surgeon and follow post-operative instructions carefully to minimize the risk of complications.

How does Astigmatism Affect Vision?  

The irregular shaping caused by astigmatism can cause light to be refracted unevenly, leading to blurred or distorted vision at various distances. This happens because the irregular shaping doesn't let the light come inside the corner to be refracted evenly on the retina. This in turn causes visual abnormalities and the result of vision is based on the type of Astigmatism one may be having. 

But in general, blurred vision is the outcome of this eye disorder which it can cause objects to appear stretched or elongated. Straight lines may appear wavy or bent, & shapes may be distorted or asymmetrical. The degree of blurriness can vary from mild to significant, depending on the severity of the astigmatism.

Astigmatism can coexist with other refractive errors in our eyes such as nearsightedness a.k.a myopia or farsightedness. In such cases, the effects of astigmatism on vision may be compounded by the effects of other refractive errors. 

What causes Astigmatism to Worsen?

Apart from the question of what does astigmatism look like, we should also focus on what can make it worse. Certain factors can contribute to the worsening or progression of astigmatism in which old age is the most significant one. This does not mean that this disorder is not associated with younger people. In fact, in many cases, this disorder may worsen during adolescence & early adulthood as the eye continues to grow and change its natural growing internal shape. Also, excessive and frequent eye rubbing is another factor that can contribute to the worsening of astigmatism. 

Many other eye conditions can also lead to the worsening of astigmatism including keratoconus which is a condition in which the cornea becomes thin and bulges outward, causing irregular astigmatism. External eye injuries, traumas, or surgeries can also affect the shape of the cornea and contribute to increased astigmatism. Moreover, changes in hormonal levels can impact the shape of the cornea as well. These imbalances generally occur during pregnancy or menopause and may affect the corneal shape and contribute to changes in astigmatism.

Another common factor that can worsen this disorder is prolonged exposure to certain factors, such as chronic eye strain due to excessive screen time or poor lighting conditions, which can lead to eye fatigue and potentially worsen astigmatism symptoms. The exact cause of this disorder is not fully understood. It is been observed that this disorder can be present from birth and may be hereditary, meaning it can be passed down from parents to their children. 

Some studies have also related the blurry visions with the cornea becoming thin and bulging outward leading due to certain genetic factors. These genetic disorders can appear at an early age or later in life due to certain eye conditions like keratoconus. 

What level of Astigmatism requires Glasses?  

Fortunately, astigmatism can be effectively corrected with prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery. These treatments compensate for the irregular shape of the cornea or lens, allowing light to be properly focused onto the retina and restoring clear vision. But the decision to prescribe glasses for astigmatism is based on several factors, including the severity of the astigmatism which is measured in diopters.

Diopters are a measurement of the reciprocal of the eye's focal length. Normally, a healthy normal eye will have a diopter value of 0 which can range up to 0.75 diopters. These values come under normal vision and don't require correction. But in the case of this disorder, the values go up. As for mild astigmatism, the number will vary from 0.75 to 2 diopters, and between 2 to 4 diopters is termed moderate astigmatism. Above 4 diopters or higher is considered substantial astigmatism. In general, eyes with 1.5 diopters or greater of astigmatism require correction and can be done with eyeglasses.

So, when eyeglasses are used with such disorders, they can significantly correct astigmatism by incorporating a cylindrical lens component. These special glasses come with different powers in different meridians to counteract the uneven refraction caused by the irregular cornea or lens. The lens is customized to address the individual's unique astigmatism measurements, including the axis and magnitude of astigmatism, and can effectively fix the blurry vision problems caused by this disorder. 

We discussed above “what does astigmatism look like”, what it can get worse and different ways to deal with it. And when it comes to buying such special eyeglasses, Myglassmart has one of the best solutions with the world's leading brands providing these special lenses. Moreover, the company also puts a special focus on the latest and trending eye frames designed to make sure that the product customers will buy will not only deal with Astigmatism but also give them a sense of style. 

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