Astigmatism

Astigmatism is a common eye problem that causes blurry or distorted vision at all viewing distances. 19.44% of school-aged children have astigmatism alone and this prevalence increases to 25% among adults aged 20 to 59 years old.

Last Updated: February 26, 2024

Astigmatism happens when the lens or cornea of the eye develops abnormally and takes on an imperfect curvature. The change in the cornea’s shape makes light bend differently as it enters the eye and thus causes refractive errors and blurred vision. The risk factors related to developing astigmatism remain unknown but scientists suggest that they may be related to genetic and/or developmental factors.

Mild astigmatism may not be noticed by a patient but the following are symptoms to look out for if you suspect that you have an eye disorder:

  • Blurry vision
  • Needing to squint to see clearly
  • Headaches
  • Eye strain
  • Trouble seeing at night

Astigmatism may be diagnosed through a dilated eye exam that includes tests for visual acuity, visual field, pupil response, and other eye function tests. These will check eye health and how it refracts light to determine the prescription needed to provide clear vision with eyeglasses or contact lenses. 

 

Prescription glasses and contact lenses are used to assist the eye in bending light properly to fix blurry vision and reduce eye strain and headaches. Refractive surgery is also an option for severe cases of astigmatism and other eye disorders. Here, a laser beam is used to reshape the curves of the cornea of candidate patients to correct the refractive error and remove the need of prescription glasses or contact lenses. 

Since the cause of astigmatism is unknown, there is currently no way to prevent it from happening. It would be best to get regular eye checkups with a physician or optometrist to track the development of the eye and catch early signs of this disorder so proper treatment could be given immediately. 

Since the cause of astigmatism is unknown, there is currently no way to prevent it from happening. It would be best to get regular eye checkups with a physician or optometrist to track the development of the eye and catch early signs of this disorder so proper treatment could be given immediately. 




References:

Coats, D., & Paysse, E. (2022). Refractive errors in children. UpToDate.https://www.uptodate.com/contents/refractive-errors-in-children

Espenilla, A., Lim, E., Lim, B., & Galindez, G. (2008). The prevalence of refractive error and visual impairment among Filipino children aged 4-13 years at a private school. Journal of the Philippine Medical Association, 87(1), 55-60.

Mian, S. (2022). Visual impairment in adults: Refractive disorders and presbyopia. UpToDate. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/visual-impairment-in-adults-refractive-disorders-and-presbyopia




References:

Coats, D., & Paysse, E. (2022). Refractive errors in children. UpToDate.https://www.uptodate.com/contents/refractive-errors-in-children

Espenilla, A., Lim, E., Lim, B., & Galindez, G. (2008). The prevalence of refractive error and visual impairment among Filipino children aged 4-13 years at a private school. Journal of the Philippine Medical Association, 87(1), 55-60.

Mian, S. (2022). Visual impairment in adults: Refractive disorders and presbyopia. UpToDate. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/visual-impairment-in-adults-refractive-disorders-and-presbyopia

Last Updated: February 26, 2024