If you have less than perfect vision, chances are you have some degree of astigmatism, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. It’s a natural and common eye condition, as astigmatism occurs in 33% of adults.

How do you know if you have astigmatism or need an eye exam to update your prescription? If you’ve recently been diagnosed with astigmatism, what are your treatment options? The vision experts at Carson Optical have the answers to your astigmatism questions.

What is astigmatism?

Astigmatism occurs when the eyeball isn’t perfectly round, caused by an irregularly shaped cornea or an unequal curvature in the lens of your eye. This imperfection prevents light from properly focusing on the retina, the light-sensitive area at the back of your eye. Because your eye is unable to focus rays of light on a single point, your vision can become blurry or distorted at both near and far distances.

Astigmatism can be found with other vision conditions such as nearsightedness (myopia) and farsightedness (hyperopia). These conditions are referred to as refractive errors as they affect how your eyes “retract” or bend light.

What causes astigmatism?

The exact cause of this condition is unknown, but it is usually diagnosed during adulthood, although some level of astigmatism may be present at birth. Astigmatism can increase or decrease over the years, based on changes in the curvature of your lens inside the eye. The condition can occur due to disease, the result of an injury, or after eye surgery.

What are the symptoms of astigmatism?

Everyone’s vision is different, and symptoms will vary from person to person. However, the most common symptoms include:

  • Blurry or distorted vision

  • Eyestrain

  • Frequent headaches

  • Squinting to see clearly

  • Eye discomfort

However, having any of these symptoms doesn’t mean you have astigmatism. The only way to effectively diagnose the condition is by scheduling a comprehensive eye exam.

What are my treatment options?

Mild or moderate astigmatism is correctable with eyeglasses or contact lenses. The corrective lenses help correct astigmatism by compensating for the irregularities in your cornea or eye lens.

  • Eyeglasses. This is the primary choice for vision improvement. Your glasses will include a special cylindrical prescription, which provides additional power in specific areas of the lens to refract light properly. Your eyeglasses will allow you to have a clear vision at all distances.

  • Contact lenses. Other people with astigmatism prefer contact lenses because they provide clearer vision and expanded peripheral vision. Toric soft contacts have been effective in correcting astigmatism; however, they tend to be more expensive than standard soft contact lenses. A better contact lens choice is rigid gas-permeable, as they compensate for the cornea’s irregularities, thus improving vision. If you choose contacts as an option, keep in mind they require regular cleaning and care to protect your eye health.

At Carson Optical, our focus is on you. Our knowledge and expertise allow us to blend personal communication with precision eyewear fitting techniques. Family-owned and -operated since 1972, we maintain the highest standards in customer service year after year. To schedule an appointment, call 813-681-3863 or fill out our online request form. We look forward to building a relationship with you!