Astigmatism occurs in about one out of every three people in the United States. It is one of the most common conditions seen in eye doctors' offices. Dr. Wernick describes it as if you were to take a perfect tennis ball, and imagine that your eye was this tennis ball and you scrunched it down, so that it had a flatter Y axis, but now had a steeper X axis, and that is basically what is happening with your cornea. Your cornea just grows that way over time, no pressure is involved. The front clear portion of your eye, which is not perfectly spherical, creates two different focus points.

What are the symptoms of astigmatism?

When someone has two different focus points, what they will experience is that things are not quite clear at a distance or up close. Other symptoms of astigmatism include:

  • Blurry or distorted vision
  • Eyestrain
  • Headaches
  • Squinting
  • Tired eyes
  • Small letters appear to be deformed
  • Difficulty seeing in low light conditions
  • Trouble seeing at night

Why treating astigmatism can be a little challenging?

Correcting astigmatism can be tricky, because if you have a lot of it, you may feel nauseous when correcting it because you are changing the way you perceive the world when you put on glasses, you are restoring it to a more normal dimension. Astigmatism, however, causes the world to appear elongated and a little blurry. It may seem a little tricky at first, but it's a very common problem and can be easily corrected with contact lenses or glasses.

What contact lenses are a good option for treating high astigmatism?

A patient with high degrees of astigmatism will usually benefit from hard contact lenses, such as rigid gas permeable and scleral lenses. These lenses work better because of their hardness and the fact that they cover most of the eye surface.

In particular, scleral lenses provide better vision and more comfort because they are more customized to the eye, sit on the less sensitive white part of the eye, and have a saline reservoir to ensure comfort.

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