Astigmatism is a very common eye problem. Astigmatism occurs in about one out of every three people in the U.S. Although astigmatism is common, people often wonder what having an eye or eyes with astigmatism actually means. We will give a general overview that will help you better understand the symptoms, types, and facts about astigmatism.
Astigmatism has to do with an imperfection in the curvature of the eye. Light rays enter the eye through the curved cornea and lens. When these eye surfaces are curved correctly, they refract light rays and focus them on the retina. The eye’s retina can then convert those light patterns into the electrical signals that our optic nerves send to our brain. The brain’s interpretation of these electrical signals is how we see. The improper transmission of light patterns at the beginning of the seeing process, due to an unusually curved lens or cornea, is astigmatism.
Astigmatism is very common. In fact, a lot of people who are nearsighted and farsighted have some level of astigmatism. Very often, astigmatism goes undetected as it is easily confused for eye fatigue or eye strain. The effects of astigmatism increase over time as you age. Here are common astigmatism symptoms:
People with very mild astigmatism may not notice any symptoms. If you experience any of these symptoms, it may be astigmatism, or it could also mean you have other eye problems. Your eye doctor can help determine if you have astigmatism and will help take the steps to correct it.
There are five types of astigmatism. These astigmatism types are determined by the abnormalities in the way the cornea focuses the light on the retina. In a normal eye, the meridians focus the light directly and evenly, both vertically and horizontally, onto the retina. With the different types of astigmatism, either or both of the two principal meridians focus light indirectly or unequally onto the retina. Here are the five different types of astigmatisms
1) Simple myopic astigmatism: This is a combination of astigmatism and myopia, or nearsightedness, where one of the principal meridians is focused in front of the retina and the other meridian is focused on the retina. This usually results in the person seeing the vertical image out of focus.
2) Simple hyperopic astigmatism: This is a combination of astigmatism and hyperopia, or farsightedness, where one of the principal meridians is focused in behind the retina and the other meridian is focused on the retina. This usually results in a person seeing the horizontal image out of focus.
3) Compound myopic astigmatism: This is a combination of astigmatism and myopia, or nearsightedness, where both of the principal meridians are focused in front of the retina.
4) Compound hyperopic astigmatism: This is a combination of astigmatism and hyperopia, or farsightedness, where both of the principal meridians are focused behind the retina.
5) Mixed astigmatism: This is when one of the principal meridians is focused in front of the retina and the other meridian is focused behind the retina.
The best treatment for astigmatism depends on the severity of your condition and your lifestyle. If you have mild astigmatism, you may not need any treatment. However, if your astigmatism is causing blurred vision, headaches, or eye strain, then any of these treatments may be necessary.
If you are experiencing any or all of the symptoms listed above, you may want to make an eye exam appointment with your eye doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
Your eye doctor or optometrist will conduct a comprehensive eye exam. With the information from these tests, your eye doctor will be able to determine if you have astigmatism. If you do have astigmatism, your optometrist can discuss the best treatment options for you.
Over time, your eyes and vision change. Visiting your eye doctor regularly can help keep your vision as accurate as possible. Having an affordable vision insurance plan can help you save on your eye exam and corrective vision options. If you don’t have vision insurance, we recommend that you get an individual or family vision insurance plan quote today.
Disclaimer: Information received through VSP Individual Vision Plans’ social media channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
Healthy vision association discounts
Some plans can only be accessed through membership in the Healthy Vision Association (HVA), which helps its members see well and stay healthy.
For $1.50/mo, your membership will give you access to exclusive discount programs* on everyday goods and services including:
Plus, your membership supports vision-related charities too.
*All rebates and special offers are subject to change