What IS Astigmatism? - Wink Family Eye Care
Has a doctor ever told you that your eye is shaped like a football and you really wanted to know what that means?
We eye doctors throw around the word astigmatism as if everyone understands it. The Greek word “stigma” translates to point. The “a” prefix implies not or without. So “astigmatism” loosely translates to “not a point.” In an eye with astigmatism, light does not focus on 1 point of the eye, but rather multiple points. Some people are born with astigmatism, but many develop astigmatism later in life. Importantly, astigmatism is a type of refractive error like nearsightedness (myopia) and farsightedness (hyperopia) as opposed to an eye disease. Also, most of us have some amount of astigmatism in our eyes.
How do I know if I have astigmatism?
Symptoms of astigmatism include blurred/distorted vision, eye strain, headaches and difficulty with night vision. Note that myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and presbyopia (loss of ability to focus) also cause most of these symptoms. During the Wink Exam, we use an auto-refractor and automated digital phoropter to measure your astigmatism. We can also use a topographer to take a map of the front of the eye (cornea).
How do we correct Astigmatism?
1. Glasses can easily correct most types of astigmatism.
2. Modern contacts give us many options to correct astigmatism. Soft contacts for astigmatism are often referred to as toric lenses. Toric lenses come in monthly, 2-week, or even daily disposable options. Some eye diseases such as keratoconus make astigmatism hard to correct. In those instances, we can use gas permeable contacts, hybrid lenses, or even scleral lenses.
3. Laser surgery such as LASIK, PRK, or SMILE can correct mild-high regular astigmatism. This can be a great option for many patients.
Have further questions about astigmatism?
Contact us or schedule an appointment today! At Wink Family Eye Care in Chanhassen & St. Louis Park, we are passionate about our patients and your eyes! We have the latest in eye care technology and prescribe the best available products for your entire family.