Finding out you have astigmatism explains why you have frequent headaches, tired eyes, and distorted vision, but it also generates a lot of questions, such as: How did I get astigmatism? Can it be cured? What do I do next?
The first step is to establish care with an optometrist you can trust. In Houston, Texas, that means Sophia Barnes, OD, our board-certified optometrist at Vision Corner. She’s been caring for our community’s eye health for more than 30 years, using the most advanced technology and offering a unique experience — the luxury of unrushed, personal attention.
If you have astigmatism, you want to work with an optometrist who understands your condition and customizes your treatment to suit your specific symptoms and your personal preferences. Here’s what Dr. Barnes wants you to know about astigmatism and your options.
As light enters your eyes, your cornea bends or refracts the rays, focusing them with pinpoint precision onto the retina at the back of your eye. Anything that interferes with that process — like astigmatism — distorts your vision.
Corneal astigmatism refers to an oddly shaped cornea. Instead of being round, it’s elongated. Lenticular astigmatism refers to a distorted lens, which sits behind your cornea.
Both conditions jumble light rays as they pass through, causing them to target multiple focal points on your retina rather than just one. The result is blurred vision that makes you feel like you’re looking into a fun house mirror — objects are too wide or too narrow, too short or too tall.
To complicate matters, astigmatism often accompanies other refractive conditions, such as nearsightedness or farsightedness.
But in most cases, the direct cause is unknown, and researchers chalk it up to genetics. If your eyes are otherwise healthy and you haven’t had any injuries or surgeries, you can likely blame your family genes.
About one-third of American adults have astigmatism. If you just found out you’re one of them, don’t panic. Dr. Barnes has years of experience treating astigmatism and helping patients see clearly.
The first step is determining the severity of your condition. Dr. Barnes runs a series of tests to evaluate the shape of your cornea and lens and to find out how your eye refracts light. She then recommends treatment based on those results.
If you have mild-to-moderate astigmatism, she may recommend eyeglasses with a cylindrical lens prescription that corrects astigmatism distortion.
For many years, hard contact lenses, also called rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses, were the go-to type of contact lens for people with astigmatism. These rigid lenses hug your cornea and force the light to refract onto a single point on your retina.
RGP lenses are still a popular and effective option. However, some people find RGP lenses a little uncomfortable, so they opt for a hybrid contact lens with a hard center portion and softer edges.
Lasik is a quick, painless, and proven procedure that uses laser light energy to carefully reshape your cornea. It only takes about 5-10 minutes for each eye, and you can even drive yourself home afterward. If you’re a good candidate for Lasik surgery, Dr. Barnes refers you to one of her trusted colleagues who specialize in this treatment.
Do you have questions or concerns about astigmatism? Call us today or book an appointment online to discover which astigmatism treatment is right for you.