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What is astigmatism? Understanding, recognising and treatment

Astigmatism, commonly known as astigmatism, is a common vision disorder that occurs when the cornea of the eye or the lens has an irregular shape. Instead of being perfectly round, the cornea has an oval shape with astigmatism. This uneven curvature means that light rays are not focussed correctly on the retina, causing blurred near and far vision. Astigmatism can occur alone or be combined with other visual defects such as short-sightedness or long-sightedness.

Astigmatism is a widespread phenomenon. A significant proportion of the population is affected in some way, with varying degrees of severity. Many people have a mild form of astigmatism that may not require treatment. However, more severe degrees of astigmatism may require specially fitted glasses or contact lenses to ensure clear vision.

Our advice:* Astigmatism is a condition that can affect people of all ages. There are both genetic and external causes that lead to astigmatism*.

Astigmatism and its effects on your vision - A Mister Spex guide

The cornea is the clear, front part of the eye that plays a crucial role in focussing light onto the retina. It works like the lens of a camera by focussing light rays to create a sharp image on the retina. In a normal eye, the cornea is evenly curved, allowing for clear vision.

In a corneal curvature, also known as astigmatism, the cornea is unevenly curved. This irregularity means that light rays do not hit the retina evenly, resulting in distorted or blurred vision. Astigmatism can cause blurred vision both near and far and is often combined with other visual defects.

The irregular curvature of the cornea in astigmatism can vary in severity. The corneal curvature values, measured in dioptres, indicate the degree of irregularity. At Mister Spex, we offer eye tests that help to determine these values precisely and select the right glasses or contact lenses.

Astigmatism differs from other refractive errors that occur in combination with myopia or hyperopia, which requires customised vision correction. At Mister Spex, we help you to understand these differences and find the best possible solution for your vision problem.

Causes of astigmatism: an overview

Astigmatism can have various causes. It is often genetic and already present at birth. In some cases, however, it only develops in the course of life. An uneven curvature of the cornea means that light rays are not focussed correctly on the retina, resulting in astigmatism.

Genetic factors and heredity in astigmatism

Genetics plays an important role in the development of astigmatism. If one or both parents have astigmatism, it is more likely that their children will also be affected. Genetic predisposition often determines the shape and texture of the cornea, which in turn influences the degree of astigmatism.

External causes: The influence of injuries and eye surgery

In addition to genetic factors, external influences can also cause or worsen astigmatism. These include eye injuries that damage the cornea and certain types of eye surgery. Such external factors can change the shape of the cornea and lead to astigmatism. At Mister Spex, we recommend regular eye examinations in order to recognise such changes at an early stage and treat them accordingly. In such cases, a rigid contact lens is often required to provide the best possible correction.

Typical symptoms of astigmatism

Astigmatism is characterised by blurred or distorted vision at all distances, with lines and edges appearing blurred. These visual impairments can occur at both near and far distances.

In addition to blurred vision, headaches and eye strain can occur, especially after long periods of focussing, such as when working at a computer screen. Vision tests to measure the curvature and shape of the cornea are used for diagnosis. Eye examinations include detailed measurements of the cornea to determine the degree and type of astigmatism.

Diagnosis in children may differ from that in adults, as children may not clearly articulate blurring or distortion. Regular eye examinations are important for both groups in order to recognise and treat astigmatism at an early stage.

Treatment methods for astigmatism

There are different approaches that are used to treat astigmatism. These include

  • Glasses and contact lenses in general

  • Varifocal glasses with simultaneous presbyopia

  • Non-surgical treatments

  • Surgical treatments

Non-surgical treatments for astigmatism mainly include spectacles and toric contact lenses, which are customised to the specific curvature and refractive power of the patient's cornea. These visual aids are designed to correct the uneven curvature of the cornea for clearer vision. Varifocals offer an additional solution for patients who have age-related vision problems such as presbyopia as well as astigmatism by combining different visual acuities in one lens. In contrast, surgical methods such as LASIK represent a permanent correction, but involve risks and are not suitable for everyone, which is why a comprehensive preliminary examination and consultation with a specialist is essential.

Living with astigmatism: tips and tricks

Mister Spex offers comprehensive advice and support to make life with astigmatism as comfortable and problem-free as possible. However, it is important to emphasise that normal astigmatism does not require any special precautions with glasses or contact lenses, so life is not negatively affected.

Costs for glasses and treatments for astigmatism

The cost of treating astigmatism can vary depending on the method chosen. Glasses and contact lenses that are specially adapted for astigmatism can vary in price, depending on the type of contact lenses and the frame.

At Mister Spex you will find a wide range of suitable glasses and contact lenses tailored to different budgets and needs. Surgical procedures such as LASIK can represent a higher investment, but usually offer a satisfactory solution.

Understanding and diagnosing astigmatism

Early detection and treatment of astigmatism is crucial to minimise vision problems and maintain quality of life. Proper treatment, whether through glasses, contact lenses or surgery, can lead to a significant improvement in vision. Mister Spex helps you find the right glasses and contact lenses and offers professional advice to ensure your vision needs are optimally met.


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