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Astigmatism is a common eye condition that impacts as much as 30% of the population. It causes blurry vision and can often be uncomfortable.  Fortunately, astigmatism is typically easy to diagnose and treat with a quick visit to the eye doctor. Continue reading below for more information on astigmatism.

Table of Contents:

  1. What is astigmatism?
  2. What causes astigmatism?
  3. What are the symptoms of astigmatism?
  4. How is astigmatism diagnosed?
  5. How is astigmatism treated?

If you think astigmatism may be impacting your vision, come see the experts at Louisiana Eye & Laser.  Just call, contact us online, or stop by any of our 14 convenient locations to schedule an appointment.

What is astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a common condition that causes blurred vision.  Astigmatism may be caused by either an irregularly shaped cornea (the very front cover of your eye) or curvature of the lens (a clear structure behind your pupil).  When either of these problems occurs, your eyes are no longer able to properly focus light, which leads to blurred vision.  

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What causes astigmatism?

Astigmatism is often hereditary and can become better or worse over time.  Sometimes astigmatism is the result of an eye injury or another eye condition that changes the shape of the lens or cornea.  Many patients with nearsightedness or farsightedness may also have astigmatism. This combination is known as a refractive error, changing the way the eyes bend (refract) light.  

What are the symptoms of astigmatism?

The main symptom associated with astigmatism is blurry vision.  Patients with astigmatism will experience blurry vision at any distance.  This may cause pain in the eyes or even headaches, as the individual is unable to focus clearly.  Onset of astigmatism can be very gradual, so many patients may not realize that they are having difficulty at first.

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How is astigmatism diagnosed?

Eye doctors can diagnose astigmatism with a comprehensive eye exam.  The simplest test is a visual acuity test – reading from a chart. To check more specifically for issues with the cornea shape, your doctor may use a keratometer to measure the curvature of the cornea.  Doctors can also measure refractive error by shining light into your eyes with a retinoscope as you look into a phoropter (the metal contraption you look into while your doctor asks which images appear more clearly).  This last process can help your doctor determine how to best treat your astigmatism.

How is astigmatism treated?

Astigmatism is usually treated with a prescription for glasses or contact lenses.  In some cases, or if a patient prefers, LASIK surgery can be used to reshape the cornea.  There is also a procedure called orthokeratology in which a patient wears special contact lenses that reshape the cornea over time.  In some instances, it may not be possible to correct astigmatism with glasses. In patients with a rare condition called keratoconus, the cornea becomes increasingly cone shaped over time, requiring special contact lenses or even a corneal transplant.  

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Visit Louisiana Eye & Laser

Don’t let astigmatism prevent you from having the clear, healthy vision you deserve!  Visit Louisiana Eye & Laser, where we treat patients like you every day. Astigmatism can have a very gradual progression, so whether you’re having trouble seeing or if it’s been a while since your last comprehensive eye exam, don’t wait!  Simply call, go online or stop by one of our offices to schedule an eye exam.