One of the most common and misunderstood vision problems is astigmatism. Similar to both nearsightedness and farsightedness, astigmatism is a refractive problem with the eye, not a disease or health problem. Individuals who have been diagnosed with astigmatism have difficulty focusing on light.

What is Astigmatism?

Understanding astigmatism and what is happening with the eye is the first step. Refraction is the bending of light as it passes through one object to another, and then into the eye. We are able to see clearly when the light rays are refracted as they pass through the cornea and lens. The retina then focuses the light and converts it into messages sent through the optic nerve straight to the brain. At this point, the brain interprets these messages, turning them into the images we see.

For those with astigmatism, the cornea is shaped like a football rather than a basketball. This curvature creates a slightly distorted image. Astigmatism ranges in severity, with some people seeing images that are blurry or stretched out. Both children and adults are at risk of developing astigmatism. In some cases, people do not even realize they have astigmatism until they go in for a comprehensive eye exam.

Common Symptoms of Astigmatism

Early detection is very important when it comes to treating astigmatism. Not only will your eye doctor be able to monitor the development of the eyes and how they react to astigmatism, but a customized treatment plan specific to your needs may also be developed. Corrective contact lenses and eyeglasses have proven to be quite useful in treating those with a slight astigmatism, but refractive surgery may be necessary for some.

A comprehensive dilated eye exam on an annual basis is your number one key to diagnosing astigmatism. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of astigmatism include:

  • Headaches
  • Eyestrain
  • Squinting
  • Distorted or blurred vision, regardless of whether you are looking at an object near or far
  • Difficulty driving at night because of poor vision
If you notice any of the above symptoms on a regular basis, there’s a good chance you have astigmatism. To learn more about the symptoms, signs, causes, and treatment of astigmatism, please do not hesitate to contact one of our three convenient locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area: Hurst, Keller, and Roanoke. We are here to answer any questions you may have and correct an astigmatism before it becomes a problem.