Types of Astigmatism, Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention Tips
Astigmatism is a condition that affects your cornea and lens. It can cause vision problems if you fail to seek treatment. There are various categories of astigmatism, as you will find out later on this page. You can treat this condition depending on recommendations given by your doctor. The treatments include eyeglasses, contact lenses, and laser eye surgery.
Categories of Astigmatism
There are two primary types of astigmatism. These are corneal astigmatism and lenticular astigmatism. Corneal astigmatism affects the cornea by causing irregularities to its curvature, resulting in improper refraction of light and blurry vision. Lenticular astigmatism is like corneal astigmatism, but it affects the lens. The curvature of the lens becomes abnormal and distorts vision. Myopia and hyperopia are other vision-related conditions that regularly combine with astigmatism and cause refractive errors.
What are some of the symptoms of astigmatism?
Whereas some people who have astigmatism might not show any signs and symptoms, some experience them depending on the type and level of astigmatism. These symptoms include headaches, blurry vision, squinting, eye strain, and eye irritation.
Can you prevent astigmatism?
Except for genetic cases, the following tips can help you prevent astigmatism and maintain a healthy vision.
Eat healthy foods
Eating foods rich in vitamins A, C, and E can help you keep your eyes healthy. Whereas Vitamin A and C improve the immunity of your eye, vitamin E helps with neurological functioning. In addition, fruits such as grapes, blueberries, and acai berry, are anthocyanin-rich fruits that will protect your eyes against inflammation and infections.
Additionally, foods rich in beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, and lutein like sweet potatoes, carrots, egg yolks, kale, and pumpkins, can help prevent astigmatism by improving the focus of your vision. Eat foods containing omega-three fatty acids such as sardines, mackerel, cod, and wild salmon for a healthy retina.
Use the appropriate lighting for reading
Reading under too much or dimmed light makes your eyes strain and affects your vision. Even though your eyes can adjust to any amount of light, beware of the damage it can cause. Use the appropriate amount of lighting when reading to avoid straining your eyes.
Don’t rub your eyes
Your eyes might be feeling itchy, and you probably think a slight rubbing won’t hurt. However, considering that astigmatism affects the cornea by making it abnormal, excessively rubbing your eyes might injure your cornea further. Avoid rubbing your eyes. If the itchiness persists, see a doctor.
Stop straining and stressing your eye
Straining your eyes is the quickest way of inviting refractive errors. Focusing your eyes for long hours on your television screen and reading materials makes your eyes tear and wear fast. Take breaks in between these activities to avoid stressing and straining your eyes.
Apart from LASIK that you might have read about on this site (if not, click on the provided link), a treatment that reshapes the cornea, your doctor might recommend other treatments such as contact lenses, eyeglasses, or orthokeratology.
1. Contact lenses
Contact lenses better your vision by making it clearer and providing a wide field of view. Toric and rigid gas-permeable (RGP) contact lenses are examples of soft and hard contact lenses (respectively) used to treat astigmatism. Your doctor will recommend the appropriate contact lenses depending on how severe or mild your astigmatism is. Below are the dos and don’ts you could apply when using contact lenses.
- Do not clean your lenses or case lenses using tap water.
- Do not use disinfectants not recommended by your doctor to clean your lenses.
- Do not sleep in your lenses after swimming or using a hot tub.
- Do not moisten your contact lenses using saliva, which may have bacteria.
- Do not share your lenses with other people.
- Do not use homemade saline solutions, which might render you blind.
- Take off your contact lenses before getting into a swimming pool.
- Clean your lenses frequently and keenly as recommended by your optometrist.
- Ensure your hands are clean and dry before touching your lenses.
- See your doctor regularly for eye examinations.
- Keep your contact lenses in the correct storage lens case and have a replacement at least after every three months.
- Use only fresh solutions for cleaning and storing your contact lenses. Change your cleaning solution as recommended by your manufacturer.
This treatment involves wearing fitting contact lenses overnight and removing them when you wake up for a recommended period. Orthokeratology is a non-surgical procedure that helps reshape your cornea while asleep and improves your vision by making it clearer the next day. The treatment is not permanent. If you stop wearing them, you might go back to the initial condition.
Eyeglasses improve your vision by reducing the intensity of blurriness and glare that you might be subject to and controlling how the light gets into your eyes. They can also correct myopia and hyperopia. Patients who are above the age of 40 with presbyopia are a special case. They may require progressive addition lenses or bifocal lenses.
If left untreated, astigmatism can cause constant headaches, blurry vision, eyestrain, and much more. Treatments of stigmatism include surgery, contact lenses, eyeglasses, or orthokeratology depending on the severity of the condition. Unfortunately, the condition can happen unnoticeably. Go for regular exams to detect any issues early. You can also prevent it by ensuring that you eat healthy, exercising, and avoiding strain on your eyes. Contact Anaheim Eye for any questions on astigmatism and book an appointment.