Astigmatism

Astigmatism is just one of the many eye conditions we diagnose and treat at Ryczek Eye associates. Though early detection and proper treatment can help you maintain clear vision even with astigmatism, it can have serious consequences if left untreated, particularly for young children. Annual eye exams can help prevent more serious visual problems from occurring.

Understanding Astigmatism

Astigmatism is a relatively common condition of the eye that occurs when the shape of the cornea in an oval instead of a sphere. Astigmatism causes blurry vision at all distances, but the degree of severity can vary greatly for each individual.

Astigmatism generally develops in children early on, usually between the ages of 5 and 17 years, which is why it’s important to begin scheduling regular eye exams from childhood onward.

Symptoms of Astigmatism

Some of the most common symptoms of astigmatism include:

  • Eye strain
  • Headaches, especially after reading or prolonged visual tasks
  • Frequent squinting

Because the symptoms of astigmatism are somewhat general, it’s important to seek a professional diagnosis from an experienced optometrist who can perform the appropriate exams and recommend treatment accordingly.

Astigmatism Diagnosis & Treatment

During every comprehensive eye exam, Dr. Ryczek performs various tests that can detect the presence of astigmatism. The instruments and tests performed are the same ones used to diagnosis nearsightedness and farsightedness, though additional tests, such as retinoscopy, may also be performed.

Types of Astigmatism

Astigmatism diagnoses generally fall under one of three primary types:

  • Myopic astigmatism, when one or both of the eye’s principal meridians are nearsighted.
  • Hyperopic astigmatism, when one or both of the eye’s principal meridians are farsighted.
  • Mixed astigmatism, when one principal meridian is nearsighted and the other is farsighted.

Additionally, your astigmatism will also be categorized as regular or irregular. Irregular astigmatism is far less common and generally occurs when there are problems with your cornea, such keratoconus.

Treatment Options

Almost all cases of regular astigmatism can be corrected with prescription eyeglasses or contacts. In some cases, if the degree of your astigmatism is minimal and you don’t have any other existing vision problems, you might not even need a corrective solution.

If your astigmatism does require treatment, there are two main options:

  • Corrective lenses – In many cases, prescription glasses or contacts can be used to correct vision that is distorted by astigmatism. Depending on your unique condition, Dr. Ryczek may fit you with a special type of soft contact lenses called toric, or if your case is more severe, he may suggest a gas-permeable rigid contact lens.
  • Refractive surgery – There are a variety of refractive surgery procedures that can be used to correct astigmatism. Based on your evaluation, Dr. Ryczek can help you determine how to best move forward with a surgical option.

To learn more about the affects of astigmatism or to schedule a comprehensive eye exam with Dr. Ryczek, call our St. Petersburg optometry practice at 727-327-8855 today.

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