Have you ever felt annoyed and frustrated by ‘double vision’? According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 4 people suffer from this eye condition - astigmatism. Fortunately, this is easily treatable and corrected by wearing eyeglasses.
How can I tell if I have astigmatism?
Astigmatism is a defect in the eye’s spherical curvature, resulting in a distorted ‘double’ vision, as light rays through the eye cannot reach a common focus. Astigmatism can cause blurred vision in both distance and near vision and is often accompanied by varying degrees of hyperopia or myopia. Other symptoms include eyestrain or discomfort, headaches, squinting, and deteriorating vision at night. Even though astigmatism affects our daily life just as much as myopia or hyperopia, it is often neglected or not given enough attention in corrective action.
If you experience these symptoms, you may wish to undergo a comprehensive eye exam which can diagnose if your symptoms are caused by astigmatism or any other eye disease.
What are the main causes of astigmatism?Most forms of astigmatism are present at birth, but it can also be caused by external factors such as irregular corneal shape, eye disease, or eye trauma; or in combination with the progression of myopia or hyperopia. Regardless of the type of astigmatism, it can lead to refractive errors, which can cause a variety of vision problems.
How can I treat astigmatism?
Most people with astigmatism will need corrective eyeglasses, which can be tailored to your astigmatism prescription. Prescription lenses help to correctly refract light onto the retina to produce a clear image and make it easier for you to perform everyday tasks such as reading or driving. Another way to correct astigmatism is using contact lenses, which some brands do hold, but you should have your full prescription and ‘axis’ reading when choosing your power.
Do I have to wear glasses for astigmatism?If your astigmatism is mild or doesn’t affect your daily life, you may not need to do so. Whichever way you choose, it is recommended that you get your vision and eyes checked regularly by an optometrist or specialist, to follow up on your progressing eyesight and identify any new problems that may occur.
How to Read Your Astigmatism Correction Prescription?An astigmatism prescription usually contains the following key elements:
Spherical lens prescription (SPH): Spherical lens prescription indicates how nearsighted or farsighted you are. If the prescription has a negative sphere reading (e.g. -2.00), you have myopia; if it has a positive reading (e.g. +2.00), you have hyperopia.
Columnar Lens Degree (CYL): Columnar Lens Degree indicates the degree of astigmatism, which can be positive or negative. It will always be supplemented by an axis reading, indicating the direction of astigmatism, expressed in degrees.
Pupillary Distance (PD): Pupillary distance is the horizontal distance between the centers of the pupils of the two eyes. It is usually expressed in millimeters and is used to determine the optical center of a spectacle lens.
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