Astigmatism is a condition when the cornea, the clear front surface of your eye containing the iris and pupil, is deformed or not curved correctly, distorting your vision. As the light entering your eye is deflected away from the retina, focus at all ranges can be affected.
It is not uncommon for nearly everyone to have some form of astigmatism. In some rare cases, astigmatism may become a serious vision impairment, and require extensive management and treatment. Those at higher risk of developing astigmatism are children of one or two parents that have had or currently suffer from astigmatism, as there is evidence of genetic predisposition, as well as those that compete in contact sports such as football or hockey during their teenage years.
Symptoms of Astigmatism
The most common complaint heard in conjunction with astigmatism is that focus as multiple distances can be very difficult to obtain, but otherwise vision is normal. As well, irregular eye strain and/or eye fatigue with no other obvious symptoms may be caused by your eye working harder than normal to keep focus on objects at different ranges. Headaches are also not uncommon among those that suffer from astigmatism.
Athletes especially should pay careful attention to their vision. Eye strain and pain after eye trauma or head impact, such as during contact sports, can be an early symptom of astigmatism or other, more serious, issues.
Treatment of Astigmatism
Most commonly, astigmatism is treated through corrective eyewear with multifocal lenses. In some cases, vision correction alongside vision therapy, which is much like physical therapy, can help strengthen the eye to focus easier. In more severe cases, including direct eye trauma, surgery may be the only resolution, including invasive lens reshaping surgery, or LASIK laser eye surgery. The difficulty of treatment of severe astigmatism lies in that it is not a condition of myopia or hyperopia, but a combination of both. Consultation with a specialist may also be required to find the best resolution.