Astigmatism

Definition

Astigmatism is a condition that results in blurred, unfocused, or fuzzy vision. The cornea (the front surface of the eye) or lens (located behind the cornea) has an abnormal or irregular curve.There are two common types of astigmatism:
  • Corneal astigmatism—misshapen cornea
  • Lenticular astigmatism—misshapen lens
Normal Anatomy of the Eye
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Causes

The precise cause of astigmatism is unknown. It is often present at birth and may coexist with nearsightedness or farsightedness . Sometimes, it may occur after an injury or eye surgery.

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of astigmatism include:
  • Heredity—a family history of astigmatism, eye disease, or disorders such as keratoconus
  • Eye surgery—certain types of eye surgery, such as cataract removal
  • A history of corneal scarring or thinning
  • A history of excessive nearsightedness or farsightedness

Symptoms

Some people with astigmatism may have no symptoms. In those that have symptoms, astigmatism may cause:
  • Blurred or distorted vision, which may cause you to squint
  • Headaches
  • Lightheadedness
Symptoms vary depending on the extent of the astigmatism.

Diagnosis

Your eye doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. An examination of your eyes will be done.Tests to evaluate your eyes may include:
  • Visual acuity assessment test (VAT)—to assess distant vision
  • Refractor test
  • Keratoscope—to detect and measure the presence of corneal surface curvature

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