Astigmatism, sometimes incorrectly referred to as stigmatism is a scary word. Though what it really means is that the eyeball is not perfectly round. This is a common condition. For many, the eye is shaped more oblong almost like a football. This can be to differing degrees from person to person and even from eye to eye.
There are a few different common types of astigmatism. Hyperopic astigmatism is farsightedness in one or both principal meridians. Must be to varying degrees if present in both. Myopic astigmatism likewise is nearsightedness in both or one principal meridians. Just like with hyperopic this only applies if the nearsightedness is to different degrees in both eyes. The third main type of astigmatism is mixed astigmatism where one eye is farsighted and the other nearsighted.
Though, it is more complicated than just that as astigmatism is then diagnosed more specifically as irregular or regular. If the meridians are not perpendicular then it is irregular astigmatism. But in most cases, regular astigmatism it is the front lens of the eye being abnormally shaped.
Most often, astigmatism occurs in children making it important to take kids for an eye exam before starting school or reading activities. However, in some cases an eye injury can also cause astigmatism.
This condition is most commonly accompanied by fuzzy or blurry vision. Sometimes also headaches can be a side effect. If you are wondering how common astigmatism is, a little under one third of the population will have it to some degree or another. So far, scientists are unsure why it is such a common abnormality. Hopefully in the future we will have better insight into the cause behind it.
Fortunately, it is typically easily treated through the use of contact lenses, glasses, or surgery. There are simple tests that your eye doctor can perform to determine if you have astigmatism or not. If you have any doubt, it is best to see a doctor as soon as possible. Regular visits to your ophthalmologist are important to ensure your vision stays strong or is corrected. Please keep in mind there is no replacement for your vision or health!