Blurry vision, visual fatigue, glare… You can have astigmatism, a very common refractive error. That is? Why does it occur?
The astigmatism is a visual problem that affects a large part of the population, both children and adults. Therefore, knowing what it consists of, as well as the causes and symptoms that identify it, can help us recognize it and find a solution.
The doctor José Ángel Cristóbal Bescós, medical director of the Cristóbal Institute in Zaragoza and member of the Spanish Society of Ophthalmologyexplains to EFEsalut what this very common problem consists of.
What is astigmatism?
The astigmatism it is a refractive error able to produce a decrease in both distant and near vision.
According to the ophthalmologist, this disorder is usually caused by an abnormal curvature in the cornea, although sometimes it also affects the lens, resulting in blurred vision.
In addition to astigmatism, they exist other refractive errors fundamentals:
- myopia: difficulty seeing objects that are far away.
- hypermetropia: difficulty seeing objects that are close.
The specialist points out that astigmatism can be alone or accompanied by myopia or hypermetropia, since it is the only refractive error that is combined. However, myopia and hypermetropia cannot be combined because they are different refractive defects.
“It is more common to find astigmatism together with myopia and hypermetropia than simple astigmatism,” he points out.
How does it arise?
The congenital astigmatism it is the most common, since in most cases we are born with it, so you usually have one hereditary character.
According to Dr. Cristóbal Bescós, most of the time we are born with this visual problem and, although it is true that throughout life there may be small changes, they are not very important.
“There can also be another type caused by diseases, trauma, accidents…that affect the anterior segment of the eyeball, mainly the cornea, but the percentage is much smaller”, he explains.
What are the symptoms?
Among the symptoms most common of astigmatism, the expert points out:
- bad visionboth far and near.
- More distorted images.
- Fatigue or eye strain due to the visual effort.
It also indicates that in some extreme cases other alterations could occur, such as a diplopiathat is, a double vision.
When to go to the specialist?
In order to see a specialist, the expert recommends that in the case of children whose parents have a refractive defect and who therefore wear glasses, visit the ophthalmologist doctor at the age of three or even earlier.
“It is necessary to do an examination with drops, because there are defects that can go unnoticed without this test. We must try to avoid amblyopia, commonly known as lazy eye“clarifies the doctor.
For people who already wear glasses, it is recommended that they attend annual check-ups for a check-up and follow-up.
“It is necessary to keep a close eye on the retina to rule out detachments or other diseases”, mentions EFEsalut.
Diagnosis and treatment of astigmatism
As the specialist points out, astigmatism is a vision problem that has a good solution, whether surgical or not.
It all depends on the level of astigmatism, as there are different degrees and forms. But for common astigmatism, generally a good correction provides excellent vision”, he explains.
Astigmatism is usually corrected with glasses or contact lenses.
But if you undergo surgery…
By Dr. Cristóbal Bescós, la surgery of astigmatism is quite a challenge.
Each surgeon must and can customize the treatments for each patient, in addition to choosing the time when the operation will be performed. It is necessary to individualize each of the cases”, he points out.
Currently, surgery has progressed exponentially and “with lasers the results are more accurate”, he concludes.