Astigmatism is typically confused with being far-sighted or short-sighted. However, that is not entirely accurate. It is more accurate to say that you will develop astigmatism along with myopia (near-sightedness) or hyperopia (far-sightedness).
Astigmatism occurs when your eyes lose the capacity to focus on the light, resulting in uneven distribution on your retina. Instead of focusing on a single point, it splits into two foci. In simple terms, your eyes’ ability to refract light is defective, and this explains why your vision gets blurry.
It is easy to diagnose astigmatism using a simple eye exam. Typically, the condition can be corrected using prescription glasses that you can purchase from the sites like 1001 Optical.
Sometimes, however, the solution is not that simple.
According to the Sydney Myopia Study, which surveyed more than 3,000 Australian kids in a median age of 12, about 25% of children have mild astigmatism, while short-sightedness was prevalent in 12% of the respondents.
Meanwhile, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare noticed an increasing prevalence of short-sightedness and long-sightedness in ten years between 2007-2008 and 2017-2018. To date, according to the data, there are over 1.4 million Australians with astigmatism.
Regular astigmatism occurs when the principal meridians are 90-degrees apart from each other. They are perpendicular. So, they perceive light differently and in varying moments. Most people with astigmatism will fall into this type. The common symptoms include blurry vision, headache, nausea, eyestrain, and sensitivity to light.
There are three types of regular astigmatism:
- Oblique — This occurs when the principal meridians are not at 90 degrees or 180 degrees. Typically, the principal meridians would be at the 30-60-degree range or 120-150-degree range.
- With-the-rule — The principal meridian is at 90 degrees or close to that number. The vertical meridian is also at its steepest. This type of astigmatism is typical in children.
- Against-the-rule — In this type, the horizontal meridian is at 180 degrees or close to that number. The horizontal meridian is at its steepest. This type of astigmatism is typical in the elderly.
Regular astigmatism can be easily corrected using prescription glasses and contact lenses. If you are thinking about LASIK surgery, you must understand that not everybody is a candidate. Not all astigmatism can be corrected with this invasive procedure also. You need to consult your eye doctor for the appropriate recommendation.
Judging by its name, irregular astigmatism is rare. In this case, the principal meridians are not perpendicular to each other. So, the angle is different from the standard 90 degrees.
The irregular nature of the corneal surface might be genetic or caused by trauma, such as surgery or an accident. For instance, a person who underwent a cataract removal operation might develop irregular astigmatism as a result. LASIK can also cause irregular astigmatism.
Unfortunately, with irregular astigmatism, corrective spectacles are not the answer. Correct diagnosis is crucial to treatment. Surgery can be an option for addressing irregular astigmatism.
Contact lenses have proven to be an effective countermeasure to give you the clarity of vision. But you must temper your expectations as it will only improve your condition and does not treat it. Nevertheless, the right diagnosis is the key to resolving your problem.