What is High Astigmatism?

by admin on June 12, 2011

When astigmatism is considered to be severe, it is commonly referred to as a high astigmatism. Astigmatism is a condition where the eye is misshapen, which causes uniform blurred vision at all distances. Similar to the shape of an American football, the astigmatic eye cannot properly focus light on the retina which can cause blurred vision and headaches. Sufferers of high astigmatism commonly seek relief from an optometrist or ophthalmologist, who can diagnose astigmatism and offer the best course of action to correct it.

A high astigmatism can pose significant problems for the sufferer, especially in regards to treating the condition and restoring vision. The vision of someone with a high astigmatism is extremely blurred and can cause lines to appear wavy. Headaches are a common complaint among those who have untreated high astigmatism. Without proper treatment, high astigmatism sufferers are unable to drive a car, read a book or function normally due to their inability to see properly.

In order to properly assess the severity of astigmatism, an optometrist will measure the diopter or curvature of the eye. In the eye’s structure, the cornea is the clear lens that covers the pupil. In a normal eye, with perfect vision, the cornea is perfectly round. In an astigmatic eye, the cornea is oblong shaped like an American football. Measuring the diopter aids the optometrist in determining the amount of curvature present in the cornea, which in turn diagnoses the severity of the astigmatism. If the curvature of the cornea measures more than four diopters, it is considered to be classified as a high astigmatism. Additionally, if the curvature of the cornea measures less than 1 diopter then the astigmatism is considered to be low, or unremarkable.

Treating high astigmatism is slightly more challenging then treating a moderate or mild astigmatism. While most astigmatism can be corrected using eyeglasses or contact lenses, the options are commonly less for those with high astigmatism. For those who have astigmatism with a diopter higher than four, there are some contact lenses to choose from. The most common astigmatism contact lenses available typically treat astigmatism with diopters of one to three. Lenses with strengths of four diopters or more are available, but selection is very limited. While those with high astigmatism may be able to find a contact lens that fits their prescription, finding lenses with specialty options like disposables, colored contact lenses or multifocal lenses is less probable.

Many of those who suffer from high astigmatism choose to correct their vision through the application of surgical intervention. LASIK surgery and astigmatic keratotomy are two viable options to correct a high astigmatism. While these options are popular methods of correcting high astigmatism, they may not always be completely effective. While surgery may correct some of the curvature associated with high astigmatism, some patients require a second surgery or the use of contact lenses to achieve perfect vision.

High astigmatism is a challenging condition that requires immediate medical intervention. Due to the sufferer’s inability to see properly, corrective measures should be instituted in order to correct vision and improve their lifestyle.

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