Astigmatism is a common condition of the eye, due to which you experience blurred vision. Astigmatism may occur either because of the curvature of the eye lens or when the cornea (the clear, transparent front cover of the eye) is unevenly shaped. Astigmatism may also be caused by eye conditions such as corneal scarring or keratoconus (the cornea becomes cone-shaped and progressively thinner.)
An erratically shaped lens or cornea prevents the light incident on the eye from focusing correctly on the retina, which is the light-sensitive surface, that is located at the back of the eye. Subsequently, your vision may get blurred at any distance and may lead to discomfort in the eye and even headaches.
However, astigmatism is treatable by using eyeglasses and contact lenses. Here’s why you should not be scared of astigmatism
How Is Astigmatism Detected?
Astigmatism may frequently occur with other refractory errors of the eye, such as near-sightedness (or myopia) and far-sightedness) (or hyperopia). Astigmatism is detected through a comprehensive optometric eye examination, which includes a refraction to check visual acuity and keratometry/ topography. If needed, your optometrist may provide contact lenses or eyeglasses and chart a course for treatment.
What are the Different Types of Astigmatism?
There are primarily two types of astigmatism, namely:
Herein, the cornea of the eye is irregular in shape, similar to an egg or rugby ball instead of a perfect sphere. This type of astigmatism occurs more frequently and typically treated with corrective contact lenses and glasses. You may also seek surgical correction in case you wish to do away with external vision aids.
In this type of astigmatism,  the lens located inside the eye is either distorted or has an irregular surface, while the cornea is often regular in shape. Compared to corneal astigmatism, lenticular astigmatism is less common, and it usually takes surgical treatment for vision correction.
Why Does Astigmatism Affect Your Vision?
Since the cornea of the eye has an irregular shape, the power of the eye is not uniform and is distributed across different meridians. Thus, any light which falls on the eye is focused unevenly (at two different points) inside the eye along different meridians, instead of a single point. Subsequently, the image is formed along a line connecting the two points, and the brain is not able to process the image clearly.
You may experience difficulty in performing everyday visual tasks such as watching tv, working on the computer, playing sports, and driving (especially at night). In more advanced cases of astigmatism, you may experience headaches, fatigue, squinting, and eye strain.
How is Astigmatism Treated?
Common vision impairments, including myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism, can be treated effectively with corrective contact lenses and glasses or surgical correction. Here are some standard solutions to treat and correct astigmatism:
1. Contact Lenses
In the case of astigmatism, vision correction can be achieved by wearing prescription contact lenses. For astigmatism, usually, toric contact lenses are used to correct the condition. Compared to eyeglasses, contact lenses provide a wider field of view. Be sure to buy contact lenses from reputable brands such as Bausch+Lomb. They are known to provide superior quality contact lenses for vision correction and ensure that you enjoy a comfortable wear.
2. Prescription Eyeglasses
Primarily, people with astigmatism choose to wear prescription glasses to correct their vision. These prescription glasses are fitted with special cylindrical lenses that help with better vision – as it offers power in particular parts of the lens.
Typically, a single-vision lens is prescribed to offer clear vision at all distances. But for those above 40 years of age and those who have presbyopia may require additional progressive lens or bifocal lenses.
Orthokeratology, also known as Ortho-k, is a non-invasive corneal process, which involves reshaping of cornea by fitting a series of rigid lenses. Subsequently, you may have to wear contact lenses for limited periods only (such as overnight) and then remove them. However, orthokeratology does not help improve vision permanently, and if you stop wearing the retainer lenses, your vision may revert to its original condition.
4. Laser Refractive Surgery Procedures
Treatment for astigmatism can also be done by corneal reshaping through LASIK (or Laser In Situ Keratomileusis), RLE (Refractive Lens Exchange), and PRK (or Photorefractive Keratectomy). Before opting for any surgical treatment for astigmatism; however, you should consult your ophthalmologist and review your options.
Remember to first consult with your eye care specialist to get a thorough eye examination performed and discuss contact lenses options from reputable brands such as Bausch+Lomb, which offers a broad portfolio of different types of contact lenses for treating various eye conditions, including astigmatism and presbyopia.