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Myopia and hyperopia are both visual conditions that cause blurred vision at different distances, astigmatism is blurred or disoriented vision at all distances. Millions of people across the world are affected by astigmatism, Europe and Asia showing the highest percentages of up to 60% in adults.  However, blurred and distorted vision are not the only symptoms you endure when you suffer from an astigmatism. More about that in a minute.
First, what causes astigmatisms? This is a type of refractive error where the light isn’t focused evenly across the retina. Though the cause of astigmatism is currently unclear, many experts believe it to be genetic related. There is an irregular curvature in the cornea or other abnormalities on the lens of the eye. This condition is diagnosed via eye exam.
There are treatment options available for those who are affected and wish to remedy their vision, and the risks of these options are minimal if any are there at all.
The most basic sign that you may have an astigmatism is the blurred or distorted vision at all ranges of distance. However, there are other symptoms that you may pick up on or experience on occasion that can be troublesome and sometimes debilitating.
Eyestrain is a common symptom. Over straining the eye while trying to focus or perform tasks that require visual focus can leave you with eyestrain. This can lead to irritation of the eye, soreness, and difficulty reading, writing, and working on projects that require a solid visual aid.
Headaches are never fun, but when you are affected by this condition, you may find yourself experiencing a great deal of headaches that can cause you to have trouble following through with daily tasks and responsibilities.
Another common side effect of this condition is trouble driving at night. Or in general. Though the symptom of this condition is trouble driving at night, the blurred and distorted vision can cause major issues with your morning, nightly, or mid-day commutes to work or to run errands.
If occurring early in life, it could lead to amblyopia. This is a condition that is more commonly known as ‘lazy eye’. This is a disorder that’s a result of the brain and eye not functioning well together as they should. This causes bad vision in the lazy eye and can be troublesome for younger children and teenagers going through school and trying to adjust to the sight.
While it is possible to live with an astigmatism, it is also possible to correct the visual defect. How, you may ask? There are multiple options available to correct this condition, the most common and simple way being corrective glasses.
Corrective glasses offer clear vision at both near and far distances. Though you are limited to clear vision in the range of the frames, you will be able to see more clearly and preform your daily tasks much easier. Contact lenses are another great option for correction. They offer a greater range of view with clear vision. Though many chose not to use glasses for aesthetic purposes, it is the most common and simplest option for correction.
The last option for correction is surgery. Though surgery sounds scary, it is actually a very commonly performed procedure that has been helping people see clearly without visual aids for years. Refractive surgery is a method used to completely reshape the eye in order to allow light to properly reflect and vision to focus correctly. Though it sounds scary, it is a basic procedure that is commonly performed.
It is important to find out if you have an astigmatic eye or not. While you may be able to fully preform your daily tasks and run errands, you may be putting yourself in harm’s way with blurry vision clouding your eyes.  As stated before, astigmatism is easily diagnosed through the process of eye examinations. During this exam, the amount and axis of the astigmatism is determined in order to pick the correct treatment plan for the individual.
There are several tests that are used during these exams; Snellen Charts (or other charts) may aid in diagnosing of reduced visual acuity. These charts will determine which level of astigmatism you have, helping better the treatment that you receive.
A keratometer is used to measure the meridians in the cornea surface. It measures the curvature and steepest points as well as the flattest meridians. Another test is the corneal topography. This is occasionally used to obtain a better and more accurate representation of the shape of the cornea.
Many other tests are used to determine the depth that the condition goes and how badly if affects you as an individual. These tests are important to undergo in order to get the treatment you need to better see.
There are different types of this condition, more like different factors of your visual impairment. The astigmatism can be caused by external issues with the corneal surface, or internal. Internal is the posterior of the corneal surface, the lens, fluids, eye-brain dysfunction, and retina. Whether regular, or irregular, this condition will be afflicted by one or more of these causing issues.
The solutions to the problem are always different, however. For example, while glasses may increase the vision better for some people, contacts or surgery might be the better option for others.
To summarize, an astigmatism is the blurred or distorted vision of all distances. There are treatments available to help remedy this issue and millions of people are affected by this condition. The treatments include glasses, contacts, and surgery. Though the exact cause of the condition is unknown, there are some leading ideas that experts have suggested, and in the future with further research maybe they will fully understand the cause.
If you feel you have an astigmatic eye, if is suggested to get a thorough eye exam done to determine what level of astigmatism you are and find the perfect remedy to fix it.