What You Don’t Know About Astigmatism

Posted by: Missouri Eye Institute in Blog on September 19, 2021

Woman holding up glasses

More than a third of Americans are affected by astigmatism, which occurs when the corneal surface of the eye is misshapen, causing light to focus incorrectly on the retina. Although most cases are so mild that no corrective action is necessary, others cause blurry vision, poor depth perception, distortion, eye strain, and sometimes headaches.

There are many things the average person may not understand about astigmatism. What follows are some of the issues eye patients bring up with their doctors, and how you can address them.

Astigmatism affects children too.

In most cases, astigmatism is inherited. Unlike “over 40” vision (presbyopia), astigmatism can occur in children, who may not realize their vision is distorted or may be unable to describe their discomfort. 

What you can do: Stay ahead of changes in your child’s eyes. Annual eye exams are so important for youngsters, particularly in the era of the coronavirus when many of them are spending more time in front of computer screens.

Yes, you can wear contact lenses.

At one time, people with astigmatism were told they could not wear contact lenses; however, newer lens types, such as toric lenses and gas permeable contact lenses, stabilize and/or hold the natural lens to the correct shape for proper light refraction for astigmatism. 

Depending on your prescription, your corrective lenses could be a pricier proposition for you than your standard nearsighted individuals, and possibly less comfortable. In the case of gas permeable (GP) lenses, the stiffer lens can be uncomfortable for some users. 

What you can do: If you are wearing hard GP contact lenses that are causing you discomfort, discuss options with your eye doctor.

Eye rubbing makes astigmatism worse.

It may feel good for a second or two, but rubbing your eyes puts pressure on the cornea, and the entire eyeball, which can cause damage and changes in shape. 

What you can do: Keep soothing eyedrops at hand to relieve dryness and irritation that may tempt you to rub. If you suffer from dry eye, it may also help to gently swipe or dab your eyes with a cool, wet washcloth to remove grit and discharge from the eye.

LASIK is a great option.

There’s a common myth that LASIK is not an option for those with astigmatism. To be 100% clear: Yes, we can correct astigmatism with the modern LASIK procedures we perform. With our surgeons’ vast experience paired with our advanced technology, we are able to correct not just astigmatism but also nearsightedness or farsightedness that may accompany it.

Once eyes heal after LASIK surgery, many people with astigmatism experience fewer headaches and depth-perception problems than ever before. You may even find that over the years your LASIK procedure actually saves you money compared to a lifetime of glasses and contact lenses, making LASIK a good choice for people with astigmatism.

Missouri Eye Institute has helped thousands of patients attain freedom from glasses and contact lenses. Contact us at (800) 383-3831 to schedule a thorough eye exam or visit MissouriEye.com to learn more about our services.


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