Astigmatism

Description:
The definition of astigmatism is “a defect in the eye or in a lens caused by a deviation from spherical curvature. This results in distorted images, as light rays are prevented from meeting at one common focus.”

In other words, vision problems that result from an astigmatism are due to a “refractive error,” or how light hits the eye. Astigmatism is not an eye disease, such as glaucoma, because the affected eye itself can be perfectly “healthy.” It’s also not usually age-related, as it can affect younger people who otherwise have no nerve damage, such as neuropathy due to diabetes, which often damages the eyes.

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An astigmatism is due to nerve damage or other causes. Light reflects and focuses abnormally, so images are not as crisp or clear as they could be.

Symptoms:
Although astigmatism may be asymptomatic, higher degrees of astigmatism may cause symptoms.The most common signs and symptoms of astigmatism include:

*Blurred vision, especially around the edges of an object. Blurred vision can affect both near and distant vision.

*Double images or distorted images. When an astigmatism is bad, some people describe seeing as if they are viewing image through glass that has an irregular surface.

*Headaches, especially when squinting often.

*Eye strain or eye fatigue.

*Inability to see both near and distant objects without squinting. This can cause pain in the head or near the eyes after reading, being on a computer, or trying to focus.

*Blurring and pain usually become worse when reading small print and towards the end of the day, after trying to focus for many hours.

*Letters or shapes can appear thin or thinner than normal, compressed, stretched, or tilted. You might see better in some directions than others (vertically, horizontally or diagonally) or recognize some letters or shapes more easily than others (O versus X).

Causes:
It’s totally natural and most people are born with it. The exact cause is not very clear. One can also get it after an eye injury, eye disease, or surgery. There’s a myth that you can get it if you read in low light or sit too close to the TV, but that may not be true.

Light entering the eye is not focused on a single point on the retina, so objects both near and far become blurred or distorted producing an effect similar to looking through a pane of wavy glass.

Risk factors & Complications:

Certain risk factors may increase the likelihood of developing nearsightedness, such as:

*Family history. Nearsightedness tends to run in families. If one of  the parents is nearsighted, then risk of developing the condition is increased. The risk is even higher if both parents are nearsighted.

*Reading. People who do a lot of reading may be at increased risk of myopia.

*Environmental conditions. Some studies support the idea that a lack of time spent outdoors may increase the chances of developing myopia.

Nearsightedness may be associated with several complications, such as:

*Reduced quality of life. Uncorrected nearsightedness can affect   quality of life. One might not be able to perform a task as well as one’s wish. And his or her limited vision may detract from  enjoyment of day-to-day activities.

*Eyestrain. Uncorrected nearsightedness may cause the patient  to squint or strain his or her  eyes to maintain focus. This can lead to eyestrain and headaches.

*Impaired safety. One’s  own safety and that of others may be jeopardized if  one has  an uncorrected vision problem. This could be especially serious if he or she  is  driving a car or operating heavy equipment.

*Other eye problems. Severe nearsightedness puts one  at a slightly increased risk of retinal detachment, glaucoma and cataracts.

Diagnosis:
To dianose one need to have a thorough eye exam. The doctor may also find another problem — he or she could be nearsighted or farsighted. Because astigmatism symptoms come on slowly, one should go to an eye doctor if he or she notices changes in his or her vision.

Treatment:
Almost all cases can be corrected with glasses or contacts. But if you only have a slight astigmatism — the doctor may refer to it as a degree — and the patient don’t have another vision problem, he or she may not need them.

Irregular astigmatism is far less common and is linked to problems with our cornea, the front part of the eye. A common one is keratoconus, in which your normally round cornea becomes cone-shaped.

There are two treatments for the common levels of astigmatism:

Corrective lenses. That means glasses or contacts. If one has astigmatism, the doctor will probably prescribe a special type of soft contact lenses called toric. They can be made to bend light more in one direction than the other. If the case is more severe,then he or she might go with a gas-permeable rigid contact lens. The eye doctor will figure out which one is best for the patient.

Refractive surgery. This laser surgery changes the shape of the cornea. There’s more than one type, so the doctor will help the patient to pick the one that’s right for he or she. The patient needs to have healthy eyes with no retina problems or corneal scars.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astigmatism
https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/astigmatism-eyes

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/nearsightedness/symptoms-causes/syc-20375556

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