Warning Signs of Astigmatism

Warning Signs of Astigmatism

Refractive errors, which include astigmatism, nearsightedness, and farsightedness, are what send millions of people in the United States searching for solutions to improve their vision. Of the three, astigmatism is the most common, affecting 1 in 3 Americans.

To help you figure out whether you might have astigmatismDr. Curtis Frank and the team of optometry specialists here at Vision and Ortho-K Center pulled together a few of the more common warning signs.

Behind astigmatism

Before we take a closer look at the symptoms of astigmatism, let’s quickly review what’s happening in your eye to create the problem.

Under normal circumstances, your cornea and lens are perfectly round, which helps these areas to receive and then refract light onto your retina correctly. With astigmatism, either your lens or your cornea (or both) aren’t perfectly round, which means that light isn’t being focused properly onto your retina.

In layman's terms, instead of a round ping-pong ball, your eye may be shaped more like an egg.

Signs of astigmatism

Since astigmatism is a refractive error, the primary sign of a problem is distorted or blurry vision. There are many different ways in which this symptom presents itself—you may have spots of blurry vision or everything at a distance may be hard to make out. As well, the degree of the blurriness or distortion depends upon the degree of abnormal curvature in your cornea or lens.

It’s important to point out that when children have astigmatism, they may not be able to tell you that their vision is blurry, as they may assume that’s how their vision is supposed to be. This makes it important to look out for warning signs, such as your child needing to be closer to the TV or squinting a lot to focus.

In both kids and adults, there are other potential side effects of astigmatism, including:

These side effects generally arise as a result of making your eyes work harder in order to see clearly.

Confirming and treating astigmatism

The best way to determine whether you or a loved one has astigmatism is to come see us for an eye exam. We have a specialized instrument called a keratometer that measures the curvature of your cornea. 

If we find astigmatism, we can use other instruments, including a phoropter and an autorefractor, to determine how to restore clear vision.

Depending on the degree of astigmatism we find, we can recommend lenses that will best suit your needs. As our name suggests, we’re specialists in a technique called orthokeratology, or ortho-k, which involves rigid gas-permeable lenses that you wear at night to reshape your cornea. Come morning, you remove the lenses and your cornea should hold the improved shape throughout the day, eliminating your need for daytime corrective lenses.

If you suspect that you or a family member might be struggling with astigmatism, please contact our office in Boston, Massachusetts, so we can help you see clearly again.

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