Astigmatism is like long- and short-sightedness in that it is a problem with how the eye focuses light; the horizontal and vertical lines of letters do not come into focus at the same time, causing the word to be distorted.
Astigmatism is an eye condition that occurs when the eye is an oval shape, rather than round. This oval shape changes the way how light enters into the eye, causing blurry and distorted vision.
Astigmatism is caused when there is an unusual curve in the cornea or the lens in the eye. This unusual and uneven shaping changes the way that light enters through the eye causing distorted vision for the individual.
Other eye conditions such as keratoconus, hyperopia and myopia have been frequently linked to astigmatism as these are all known as refractive errors as they affect how the eye refracts light. Similar to these conditions, astigmatism is heredity and can be diagnosed from the age of an infant.
Mild astigmatism can be a normal finding in young children. As they grow up, the cornea changes shape and most children will lose their astigmatism. Moderate to severe astigmatism affects the eye's ability to see clearly constantly and is likely to worsen over time, rather than a child 'growing out' of it.
Comparison of eye with astigmatism
Signs of astigmatism in children
- Squinting or straining to see far away or up close
- Red or watering eyes
- Holds books and near materially very close
- Difficulty recognising similar looking letters or words
- Closing or blocking an eye to focus or concentrate
- Eye rubbing
- Blurred vision
There are a variety of treatment options for those who have been diagnosed with astigmatism. Your optometrist will work with you to find the best solution for you or your child's eyes.
If a young child has been diagnosed with astigmatism, it is likely that lenses will be prescribed to correct the distorted vision caused by astigmatism.
The lenses contain what is call a "cyl" referring to a cylindrical lens which works to provide additional power to the affect part of the eye lens. To learn more about Zeiss lens designs click here.
Contact lenses are another great way of treating astigmatism and allow those with the condition to be able to be "glasses free" while they enjoy activities such as sports that glasses may be too uncomfortable for.
Soft toric contact lenses are available for the correction of astigmatism, which are available in both daily lenses and monthly lenses.
Ortho-K is a revolutionary treatment that uses custom made contact lenses to gently mould your eyes whilst you sleep. It is a safe alternative to glasses, contact lenses and even laser eye surgery.
Ortho-K can be used to correct mild astigmatism and is great for those who are wanting to be glasses free and not have to worry about contact lenses in the day. To learn more about Ortho-K click here.
Can astigmatism be cured? It cannot be cured, however through the use of prescription glasses or contact lenses, the symptoms can be treated so that your vision is clear. Regular eye exercises can also help treat the symptoms of astigmatism.
Can astigmatism cause blindness? It does not cause blindness, however it creates distorted and blurred vision which is problematic for those with the condition.
Can disposable contact lenses be worn for astigmatism? Yes, a type of soft contact lens known as "toric" is used to correct astigmatism.
How is astigmatism diagnosed? During a comprehensive eye examination, an optometrist will test for eye conditions such as astigmatism through the use of refractive and visual acuity testing which allows them to identify
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If you are worried that your child may be suffering from astigmatism, or any other vision problem. Book an appointment with one of our specialised optometrists here.