Astigmatism can occur at any age, both children and adults. Astigmatism can be inherited, so many babies are born with this refractive error. Some cases of astigmatism develop after an eye injury, eye disease, or eye surgery.

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What is astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a very common refractive error, which occurs when the image observed after entering the eye cannot be focused on the retina, causing the eye to become blurred. The cornea is the transparent, spherical part of the eye that is located in front of the eyeball, allowing light to enter the eye.

When the cornea no longer maintains a perfect curvature, it becomes irregularly distorted, causing light rays entering the eye to focus at different points (maybe in front or behind the retina), causing astigmatism. In addition to astigmatism, which can also be caused by an abnormal curvature of the lens, astigmatism is at high risk in people who:

– A family history of astigmatism or eye disorders, especially people with both parents having astigmatism, are at high risk of astigmatism.

Eye damage such as corneal scarring.

– Severe nearsightedness or farsightedness.

History of eye surgery, such as cataract surgery.

Age is also one of the factors that increase the risk of astigmatism. In fact, the elderly are often at a higher risk of astigmatism than the young.

Symptoms of astigmatism

People with astigmatism often experience the following early symptoms:

– Blurred vision, blurred, blurred or distorted images.

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– Double vision, seeing an object with two or three shadows.

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Difficulty seeing at all distances.

– Some other accompanying signs such as eye strain, watery eyes, headache, neck pain, shoulder pain… may also occur.

Diagnosis of astigmatism

A thorough and comprehensive eye exam will help doctors identify astigmatism as well as detect other problems. A number of tests can be performed such as visual acuity test with an optometry table, corneal curvature, refraction test, corneal map, etc.

Because astigmatism often develops slowly over a long period of time, patients often ignore its symptoms. Or go to the hospital for an eye exam right away if the patient feels any change in vision.

Treatment of astigmatism

In mild cases, astigmatism may not require treatment. But if it is severe, it is necessary to apply treatment measures to avoid severe disease or cause amblyopia. Common treatments:

Glasses: Most cases of astigmatism can be corrected with prescription glasses. This is a simple measure, widely applied, highly effective, with few complications. Patients should find out and visit an ophthalmologist for advice on the right type of glasses for their level and needs.

– Surgery: In some cases of severe astigmatism and the method of correcting with glasses is not successful, the patient must undergo surgery. This is a method that uses a laser or a microsurgery knife to permanently reshape the cornea. The most common include refractive changes in corneal parenchyma (LASIK), refractive changes in corneal resection (PRK), and refractive changes in subepithelial flap (LASEK). .

Ortho-K (Orthokeratology) customize: This is a treatment method that uses hard contact lenses, specially designed to be worn at night to temporarily change the shape of the cornea during sleep, so that the eyes can be opened. see clearly the next morning and maintain this condition throughout the day. Just like that, repeat the process of mounting Ortho-K customize at night for good vision the next day.

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Prevention of astigmatism

Hereditary astigmatism is not preventable. However, according to experts at the eye hospital, the remaining causes can be prevented and limited by:

– Avoid possible eye damage;

– Work in a place with adequate light, avoid places that are too dark or wear eye protection when working with too strong and bright light sources;

– Take time to rest your eyes when working in front of the computer, reading a book or other meticulous work;

Treatment of eye diseases (if any), early and thorough treatment, to avoid complications of astigmatism;

– Once you have astigmatism, you must go to the doctor and get treatment early to avoid serious complications;

Eat properly to provide adequate vitamins and essential nutrients for the eyes such as fish or foods rich in vitamin A found in red fruits (gac, carrots, tomatoes, …).

Saigon Eye Hospital

Doctor of CKII Nguyen Do Thanh Lam