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What is astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a visual condition in which light entering the eye is unable to be brought to a single focus, resulting in vision being blurred at both distance and near.  Astigmatism is not a disease, but rather a common visual condition.  It often occurs in conjunction with other refractive errors like nearsightedness or farsightedness.

This image shows two different views of a mountain scenery.  The top view is clear and normal, while the bottom image is blurred and out of focus.

(Top): Normal vision; (Bottom): Simulated vision in a patient with astigmatism

Why does astigmatism occur?

Astigmatism is typically caused by the cornea (the clear front part of the eye) being more oval than round, and not allowing light to focus properly on the retina (at the back of the eye).  Astigmatism may be hereditary or may result from pressure of the eyelids on the cornea.

Who has astigmatism?

Most people have some degree of astigmatism.  However, only individuals with moderate to highly astigmatic eyes usually need corrective lenses.

What are the signs and symptoms?

People with significant amounts of astigmatism will usually have blurred or distorted vision.  Those with mild astigmatism may experience headaches, eye strain, fatigue, or blurred vision.

How is it diagnosed?

A comprehensive eye and vision examination at Vista Eye Care in Thornton, Colorado will include testing for astigmatism.

How is astigmatism treated?

Astigmatism can generally be optically corrected with prescribed eyeglasses or contact lenses.  In recent years, a number of options to surgically alter the shape of the cornea, to correct low or moderate astigmatism, have been developed.  These include procedures called photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) and laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK).  Our eye doctors will help you decide if these procedures are right for you.

Does astigmatism get worse over time?

Astigmatism may change slowly.  Regular eye care can help ensure that proper vision is maintained.  At Vista Eye Care, our optometrists recommend a comprehensive vision exam every year to ensure optimal vision and good eye health.

Can astigmatism be a sign of eye disease?

In certain cases, very high levels of astigmatism may be due to corneal diseases such as keratoconus or pellucid marginal degeneration.  Dr. Abert is accepting new patients for challenging contact lens fittings, including those patients with high astigmatism and difficult to fit eyes.

How will astigmatism affect my lifestyle?

You may have to adjust to wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses if you do not wear them now.  Other than that, astigmatism probably will not significantly affect your lifestyle at all.

Please contact our office today at (303) 450-2020 to schedule a comprehensive eye exam, or use the button below to schedule your exam online:

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Vista Eye Care

13695 Colorado Blvd. Thornton, CO 80602
Phone: (303) 450-2020
Fax: (303) 920-1440

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