Astigmatism very common and it occurs early in life. A recent study in America has found 28% of children have some level of astigmatism. Astigmatism is an error caused by the eye when it is refracting light. This means light fails to focus to a single point on the retina, but multiple focal points occur.
What does it look like?
Astigmatism causes blur in different directions, meaning images appear distorted, or sometimes even double. Certain letters may be more difficult to read than others, depending on the orientation of the lines within them.
What causes astigmatism?
Most astigmatism is caused by the shape of the front surface of the eye (the cornea). A normal eyeball is shaped like a perfectly round ball, however people suffering from astigmatism have an eye shaped more like a football. This means light travels irregularly through the eye. It may be an inherited characteristic or a normal variation accompanying growth.
How does astigmatism affect me?
Objects at all distances are indistinct or blurred and the eye cannot focus. Even slight degrees may encourage headaches, fatigue and reduce concentration. This is because the eyes may try, without success, to correct the blur, and because there is a tendency to screw up the eyes to try to see better, producing discomfort in the muscles of the eyelid and face.
How is astigmatism corrected?
Spectacles and contacts can correct astigmatism. Sometimes correction of astigmatism can cause change in the apparent size and shape of objects and may affect judgement of distance. A patient may feel taller or shorter, or walls may appear to slope and floors curve.
In most cases, adjustment to these side effects takes only a week or so.
How is astigmatism detected?
An eye examination will detect the presence of astigmatism and it can be treated with the help of eye care professionals. Book an appointment at Young Eyes today for you or your child to be assessed.