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What Is Astigmatism and How Does It Affect Vision?

During a comprehensive eye exam, our vision professionals at Nevada Eye Physicians can detect eye problems, including astigmatism. When light enters the eye, it refracts and creates a view of the object. When the sphere changes shape, it can result in blurry or wavy vision. This refractive error isn’t an eye disease and it can happen to almost anyone. When the eye fails to focus on the light equally, it leads to distorted vision.

The curvature of the eye changes through adulthood, whether with an increase or decrease in astigmatism. Sometimes astigmatism develops after an eye injury or eye surgery. To learn about astigmatism correction, schedule an eye exam at one of our seven locations including Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, Mesquite, and Pahrump, NV.

Symptoms of astigmatism

Some symptoms of astigmatism include:

  • Eyestrain

  • Blurry or wavy vision

  • Headaches

  • Trouble seeing at night

  • Squinting

  • Irritation in the eyes

The symptoms of astigmatism will differ in each patient. Some patients don’t have any symptoms at all, which makes it important to have regular eye exams with our vision professionals at Nevada Eye Physicians for proper diagnosis.

Types of astigmatism

There are three main astigmatism types:

  1. Myopia: One or both meridians of the eye are nearsighted.

  2. Hyperopia: One or both meridians are farsighted.

  3. Mixed astigmatism: One is meridian is nearsighted and the other is farsighted.

Astigmatism is also regular or irregular, meaning that the meridians are 90 degrees apart (perpendicular) or they are not. Irregular astigmatism can result from an eye injury that can cause scarring, such as keratoconus.

Who is most at risk for astigmatisms?

Astigmatism can occur in both children and adults. However, your risk for developing astigmatism is higher if you have:

  • A family history of astigmatism or other eye disorders

  • Excessive nearsightedness

  • Excessive farsightedness

  • Scarring or thinning of your cornea

  • A history of eye surgery, such as cataract surgery

How do I know if I have astigmatism?

One of our vision professionals at Nevada Eye Physicians can diagnose astigmatism during a comprehensive eye exam. Testing for astigmatism measures how your eyes focus on light and determine the power of the lenses needed to improve vision. This eye exam will include:

  1. Visual acuity: When you read letters on a distance chart, this is measuring your visual acuity. This is given as a fraction with the top number as the standardized testing distance and the bottom number, the smallest letter size read.

  2. Keratometry: A keratometer is an instrument used to measure the curvature of the cornea. When light is focused on the cornea, its reflection is measured. This measurement is important in determining the proper fit for contact lenses.

  3. Refraction: A phoropter is used to measure how your eyes focus on light. Based on your response, the power is refined to determine the lenses that allow you the clearest vision.

The information from these tests will enable our vision professional to determine if you have astigmatism.

How to correct astigmatism

All degrees of astigmatism can be corrected. The treatment used to correct your astigmatism will depend on the degree of your astigmatism. Eyeglasses can be used to improve vision by providing additional power in specific parts of the lens. Contact lenses are also used to provide clear vision and a wider field of view for our patients. While standard soft lenses may not be effective in astigmatism correction, special toric soft contact lenses can be used. They have a better bending power, which improves refraction. Refractive surgery can also be used to change the cornea’s shape with laser eye surgery. These refractive surgeries require healthy eyes that are free of corneal scars, retinal problems, and other eye diseases.

Learn more on what causes astigmatism and how to correct it

At Nevada Eye Physicians, we perform comprehensive eye exams that detect errors, such as astigmatism. After a series of visual testing, we can determine if you have astigmatism and what treatment can be used to correct it. To schedule an appointment today for an eye exam, contact one of our seven locations including Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, Mesquite, and Pahrump, NV.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.