A astigmatism is an optical defect that effects many people in the United States and all over the world. This defect is caused when the optical lens of the eye has become misshapen for variety of reasons. This optical disorder is normally treated with eye-glasses or specifically made astigmatism contacts.
This is one of the most common eye defects. Many of the people you know who wear either contact lenses or eye-glasses likely suffer from an astigmatism. As a long time sufferer of astigmatism I can tell you how miserable this eye defect can be. However, there are many modern methods to deal with it. If you or someone you know suffers from an astigmatism I would suggest you do plenty of research online to find a solution that works for you. I am told there are methods for reversing an astigmatism without correction, however I have never tried any of them. Personally I use astigmatism contacts and I have been very pleased with them.
In an astigmatism vision is blurred because the optics in the eye have an inability to focus on a point or object and keep the image sharp inside of the retina. This is caused by a toric, or unregular curvature of the lens or cornea. These are both transparent parts of the eye that are used to refract light into the retina. Their job is, like the lenses in a pair of binoculars, to keep the object focused for the viewer. There are two kinds of astigmatism.
The first is a regular astigmatism which arises from a misshapen cornea and must be corrected with a toric lens. An irregular astigmatism is a scarring of the cornea. These cannot be corrected with eye glasses but can be corrected with astigmatism contact lenses.
An astigmatism can have many symptoms. A mild astigmatism may show very little, if any, symptoms at all. However a severe astigmatism can show symptoms including blurry vision, heavy squinting, fatigue, headaches, and asthenopia. Asthenopia means eyestrain, but this can include symptoms such as pain around the eyes and redness of the eye as well.
Astigmatism has a few treatment options. The most common is astigmatism contact lenses but eye-glasses, in some cases, and refractive surgery are an option as well. In some cases the patient may be able to wear eye-glasses but contact lenses will provide a better visual acuities. If you are interested in getting contact lenses to treat to your astigmatism, or if you think you may have one, please see your local optometrist.