Paper with “Astigmatism” shown through a pair of glasses

Astigmatism 101

Astigmatism is a big word that affects almost everyone to some degree, but it simply means your eye isn’t completely round. At The Eyewear Place, we understand that your visual health is important and that regular visits to an eye doctor can detect eye issues early on, like an astigmatism.


What is the Cause?

There is no exact cause of astigmatisms, they are totally natural and most people are born with it. Astigmatism isn’t caused or made worse by reading in poor light, sitting too close to the television or squinting. But it is recommended that you see an optometrist if your eye symptoms detract from your enjoyment of these and other activities or interfere with your ability to perform everyday tasks. An eye doctor can determine whether you have astigmatism and, if so, to what degree.

This screening is particularly important during the newborn period, and for school aged for children and adolescents, who may not realize their vision is blurry or blurring. You should visit an optician if you notice changes in your vision or every one to two years for youth as astigmatism symptoms come on slowly. Astigmatism is only diagnosed through routine eye examinations.


Signs & Symptoms
Astigmatism is a type of refractive error caused when either your cornea or lens have mismatched curves. Signs and symptoms of astigmatism may include:

  • Blurred or distorted vision
  • Eyestrain or discomfort
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty with night vision
  • Squinting


Types of Astigmatism
There are three primary types of astigmatism:

  • Myopic astigmatism - one or both principal meridians of the eye are nearsighted.
  • Hyperopic astigmatism - one or both principal meridians are farsighted. 
  • Mixed astigmatism - one principal meridian is nearsighted, and the other is farsighted.


Astigmatism also is classified as regular or irregular: 

  • In regular astigmatism, the principal meridians are 90 degrees apart (perpendicular to each other). Most astigmatism is regular corneal astigmatism, which gives the front surface of the eye a football shape.
  • In irregular astigmatism, the principal meridians are not perpendicular. Irregular astigmatism can result from an eye injury that has caused scarring on the cornea, from certain types of eye surgery, or from keratoconus, a disease that causes a gradual thinning of the cornea.


Corrective Measures

Almost all cases of astigmatism can be corrected with glasses or a special type of soft contact lenses called toric contacts. Your eye doctor may also find another problem - you could be nearsighted or farsighted. 


Visit The Eyewear Place for an Eye Exam

If any of these concerns sound familiar, or if you have questions about your children’s vision health, call The Eyewear Place in Lloydminster at 780-875-6308 and Fort McMurray at 780-791-7247 today to set up an appointment. Walk-ins and new patients are always welcome.

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