The astigmatism is that causes blurred vision and refractive error occurs in the eye eye problem . The cause of this refractive anomaly occurs when the cornea has a certain irregularity in its curvature along its different areas, which makes the images appear somewhat distorted and blurred, because the light is focused on more than one point.
It can be a hereditary problem. If a close member of the family suffers from it, it is quite likely that it can develop, although it can also be caused by an illness, an operation or a trauma.
What is Astigmatism
This eye problem occurs because the light that objects reflect and that the eye captures in order to interpret them, focuses on more than one point on the retina . In healthy eyes the light is focused on only one point. This type of error causes images to be captured in a distorted way and poorly focused, whether the objects are close or far away.
There is a lot of types:
- Simple astigmatism : affects only one of the axes.
- Compound astigmatism : occurs when it occurs associated with some other pathology such as myopia (myopic astigmatism) or hyperopia (hyperopic astigmatism).
- Mixed astigmatism : occurs when one of the axes is focused on the front of the retina and the other does it from behind.
This problem cannot be prevented, but it can be detected early thanks to an examination carried out by the ophthalmologist and corrected by prescribing glasses, contact lenses or surgical operations to eliminate it.
In Spain, this vision disorder affects at least sixty percent of the population and can occur at any age. In fact, it is the only refraction problem that appears in conjunction with others, which affects young people, under the age of forty-five.
This problem is usually manifested by difficulty in focusing on objects , whether they are at a relatively short distance or far from the eye. It is also common to find that people with astigmatism have great difficulty capturing the small details of what they see.
When a problem of hyperopia is added to astigmatism, the patient may present visual fatigue, itching or stinging in the eyes, redness or headaches due to the effort made to focus on objects.
If the person has noticed that his eyes feel heavy, that it is difficult for him to recognize certain details in the images and that when he is looking at something closely for a long time, then he does not see well from a distance, it may be time to do an ophthalmological examination.
It is important to correct this problem so that it does not get worse, although the good news is that it is a fairly stable vision pathology within refractive problems . It may increase slightly, but by age 25 it is common for graduation not to increase any further.
Causes of astigmatism
The causes of astigmatism are not entirely clear. It is known that there is a certain genetic predisposition to suffer from it and that it is usually present from the moment the person is born.
It is a fairly common problem, which frequently occurs in conjunction with other vision disorders such as myopia or hyperopia . In cases where it increases significantly, it may be a symptom of keratoconus, a rare disease in which the cornea appears thinner than usual and protrudes forward, with a characteristic cone shape.
Sometimes after cataract surgery, astigmatism can develop, as well as after an accident or serious trauma to the eye.
To diagnose this problem and other vision problems, it is necessary to go to the ophthalmology clinic and have a standard review that includes a refraction test . In the case of children, if the aforementioned normal refraction test cannot be performed, it is usual for them to be measured by retinoscopy, a test that uses reflected light.
The professional will also perform a visual acuity test to determine the degree of vision in each eye. It is usually measured with a small device that measures the capacity of each eye while it is focusing images at different distances.
In cases of mild astigmatism, the ophthalmologist may determine that no type of correction is necessary. If the person has to spend long hours reading or focusing their eyes on a screen or the detail of an object, they can prescribe glasses just for this task or recommend periodic breaks and relaxation exercises for the eyes.
If the patient has a higher prescription, the use of glasses or contact lenses will be recommended . Both elements correct vision, but they do not cure the problem.
Astigmatism is corrected using lenses called toric lenses, which have a particular shape, since they have been specifically designed so that they cannot move once they are in place and thus guarantee adequate vision.
If you want to completely eliminate this pathology, there are surgical techniques with which it can be achieved . There are different techniques to permanently eliminate this disorder: Lasik, PRK / Lasek, implanting a lens inside the eye, etc…). Thanks to laser surgery, the shape of the corneal surface can be changed, which could correct astigmatism as well as myopia or hyperopia.
The most common and most widespread technique is called Lasik, and it is an operation that uses a low intensity laser to modify the shape of the cornea, with the aim of improving the focus of objects and reducing or eliminating the need to use glasses. or contact lenses. It is a perfectly safe technique and its effectiveness lies between ninety-two and ninety-eight percent in patients around the world.
It is usually the ophthalmologist who, after an exhaustive review and, through the different preoperative tests, determines which technique will be the most appropriate to correct this vision circumstance. When the patient also presents myopia, the operation can correct both problems at once.
Following the ophthalmologist’s recommendations, whether or not to perform surgery is a patient’s decision, since astigmatism does not present health risks .
Expectations or prognosis when you have astigmatism
Once the ophthalmological examination is done and once the problem is detected, the expectations are usually good. Although this disorder usually varies over time, it does not evolve in a radical way as it happens with other vision problems. Having reached an age, the prescription does not usually vary too much, even so it is necessary to review it and adapt the glasses or contact lenses if necessary.
When it is corrected by a laser surgery operation, the prognosis is very good, since most of the people who have surgery do not develop the problem again throughout their lives and enjoy clear vision for the rest of their days.
Possible complications of astigmatism
It is not very common for astigmatism to present complications , however, in children in whom this disorder is not corrected in only one eye, a problem called amblyopia may occur.
The amblyopia , also called lazy eye or lazy eye, causes a loss of sharpness in the picture, usually in one eye. It is one of the most common causes of visual loss in children and, if it is not corrected before the age of seven, the eye may lose vision permanently. This loss of visual acuity occurs because the brain cells responsible for the vision of that particular eye, stop developing due to the lack of good stimulation.
It is usually detected when it is observed that the child involuntarily moves an eye outwards or inwards, or if it is not able to capture the depth correctly, as well as if it has poor development of fine motor skills.
It can be corrected by using a patch that, placed on the healthy eye , makes the lazy eye have to strain to achieve good vision, thus stimulating its development. There are also remedies based on drugs or surgery.
Due to the ease with which astigmatism can be corrected or cured, it is more than advisable to have the appropriate check-ups to detect it early. Good vision is essential to be able to lead a life to the full. In many cases of school failure, the cause is as simple as a vision problem. If the child does not see well, he may be making a mistake when reading and not understanding what is being proposed to him. For this and for many other reasons, visiting the ophthalmologist regularly can easily save many long-term problems.
Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.