Blurred or distorted vision is a common complaint among those who need glasses, and is often caused by astigmatism, a minor condition resulting from an irregularly shaped eye.
Alongside blurred vision, other symptoms of astigmatism include headaches, eye strain and fatigue, particularly when focusing for a long time for example, when using a computer or reading.
The transparent layer of tissue at the front of the eye, the cornea, should be shaped like a football, however, it can sometimes be slightly more curved and resemble a rugby ball. This curve means that when light rays enter the eye, they are not focused properly on the retina, causing blurred vision.
While many people with astigmatism are born with the condition, in certain cases, it can develop later on, for example, after eye surgery or injury.
Astigmatism is one of a group of eye conditions which also include short and long-sightedness, known as refractive conditions. If you have astigmatism, it is possible to also have one of these other conditions. Astigmatism can be diagnosed during routine eye examinations by using simple tests such as a visual acuity test, which checks on your ability to judge objects at different distances. Opticians can also use a Keratometer to help measure how light is being focused by the cornea.
The symptoms of astigmatism can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses, which compensate for the irregular curve of the cornea, allowing light to enter the eye correctly and result in clearer vision.
Importance of regular eye examinations
Regular eye examinations are important for both you and your children. Children with astigmatism may not be able to describe their symptoms but may find it difficult reading or concentrating in school. It is important to take your child for regular eye checks or when you suspect something is wrong.
Undiagnosed astigmatism can cause lazy eye which means one eye is stronger than the other and takes time to correct. Having regular sight examinations will help diagnose problems like astigmatism as early as possible.