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What is Astigmatism?

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Astigmatisms are the most common eye condition affecting roughly 30% of the U.S. population. While a large number of people are affected by this eye problem, astigmatisms are still misunderstood by many. So, what is astigmatism and how do you deal with it? Take a look below to learn more!

Astigmatism is caused by an irregular curvature of your eye’s cornea or lens. Usually, an unaffected eye will have a cornea and lens that are smooth and curved equally in all directions. This helps your eyes focus light rays onto the retina at the back of your eye which then produces a visible image. Having an imperfection in the curvature of your eye’s cornea or lens could cause blurred or distorted vision and will usually need to be corrected in order to see properly.

Causes of Astigmatism

​There are two types of astigmatism; corneal astigmatism and lenticular astigmatism. In either case, your vision for both near and far objects is blurred or distorted. This often makes completing tasks difficult and can affect other aspects of your life such as playing sports. Now that you know what an astigmatism is, it’s important to understand what causes it. Astigmatisms are most commonly inherited from your family and are usually found in your family’s genetics. However, astigmatisms may also be caused by a pre-developed eye problem, an eye injury, or eye surgery. There is no real way of preventing astigmatism, especially if it was inherently passed on from generation to generation. And, those myths you heard as a child about reading in low light or sitting too close to the television don’t actually cause astigmatisms.

Symptoms of Astigmatism

Some of the symptoms of astigmatism are similar to those of other eye problems, but if you notice any of the following, be sure to contact your Reno eye doctor:

  • Eyestrain
  • Eye irritation or discomfort
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Blurred or distorted vision
  • Squinting in an effort to see more clearly

Treatment Options

Some mild cases might not require treatment, and each treatment method will depend on the severity of your case and your personal needs/wants. With that said, there are three primary approaches to treatment which are using corrective lenses, eye surgery, or Orthokeratology treatment.

  • Corrective lenses: are eyeglasses that you wear on the bridge of your nose in order to see more clearly. This is the most common method of treatment and is also the least invasive.
  • Orthokeratology (Ortho-K): is a treatment that uses rigid contact lenses that are designed to temporarily correct the irregular curvature of your cornea or lens.
  • Surgery: is typically reserved for more serious cases of astigmatism, however, your doctor may recommend refractive surgery if your condition is more severe. During this treatment, a laser or knife will be used to physically reshape your cornea.

Connect with Your Reno Eye Doctor!

There are a number of different ways you can practice good eye health, but visiting your Northern Nevada optometrist will fully ensure you’re getting the necessary care you need to see more clearly than ever. Connect with EyeZone Nevada to schedule your next eye appointment with a Reno eye doctor!

Written by Daniel Rowan

Reno optometrist, Dr. Daniel Rowan, was raised in Western Canada and attended Norwich University in Vermont on a hockey scholarship. After obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in both biology and sports medicine, he received his Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree from the New York College of Optometry in 2001. He performed rotations in a Queens VA hospital, specializing in glaucoma care, and an outpatient eye clinic in the Bronx. Immediately after graduating, he moved to Nevada and is now considered a top Reno optometrist. He is a member of the American Optometric Association and is board-certified by the National Board of Examiners in Optometry for the treatment and management of ocular diseases.
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