What Is an Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a common condition that often occurs along with other vision problems such as nearsightedness or farsightedness. 

Despite all the many myths, astigmatism isn’t caused by reading in dim light or sitting too close to the television. Rather, it tends to run in families and is related to an abnormal curvature at the front of your eye.

Mitchell C. Latter, MD is a board-certified ophthalmologist at his self-titled practice Mitchell C. Latter, MD, Inc. with offices in Bellflower and South Pasadena, California. He is committed to helping you achieve and maintain the best sight possible and offers a variety of effective solutions for astigmatism.

Read on to learn what Dr. Latter has to say about astigmatism and your treatment options.

What is astigmatism?

When the front part of your eye (cornea) and the lens within your eye are smooth and equally curved, incoming light rays bend or “refract” equally and focus sharply on your retina. This allows for clear and crisp vision.

Astigmatism is a refractive error that occurs when an abnormally shaped cornea or lens causes incoming light to refract at different angles. This results in two images that overlap just enough to blur or distort your vision.

Unlike other refractive errors, blurred vision associated with astigmatism doesn’t improve with moving closer (nearsightedness) or farther away (farsightedness) from an object. Neither does it cause enough distortion to make you see double.

Are there different kinds of astigmatism?

If your cornea is abnormally curved, it’s identified as corneal astigmatism. When your lens has mismatched curves, we call it lenticular astigmatism. Either form causes blurred vision or distorted vision that may make an object appear wavy or bent when it’s not.

Other symptoms of astigmatism include:

Children with astigmatism are often born with the condition but may not realize their vision isn’t normal. This reinforces the need for childhood eye exams, especially if other family members have been diagnosed with astigmatism. Dr. Latter sees children as young as three years for child-friendly, comprehensive exams.

How do you treat astigmatism?

Perhaps the most familiar solution for astigmatism is eyeglasses with prescription lenses that are designed to balance light refraction. Careful measurements taken during a comprehensive eye exam provide the extent of correction your glasses require to restore clear vision.

Contact lenses are another convenient solution for astigmatism. Depending on your level of astigmatism, Dr. Latter may recommend soft or toric lenses. For more severe astigmatism, you may require gas permeable lenses, which are more rigid than their softer counterparts.

For a permanent fix, you can also consider surgery to correct astigmatism. Regardless of your choice, Dr. Latter takes the time to discuss your options and the benefits of each.

For comprehensive eye care, including treatment for astigmatism, schedule a visit with Dr. Latter today. Call the office or request an appointment online.

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