Do you find yourself squinting to read street signs or having trouble seeing the board at school? Are you constantly rubbing your eyes, experiencing headaches or eye strain?
If so, you may be experiencing the symptoms of myopia or astigmatism. These two eye conditions are more common than you may think.
They’re both refractive errors, which means they’re caused by issues with how the eye bends light. It’s possible to have both myopia and astigmatism simultaneously, which is known as a “mixed” or “compound” refractive error. This can cause even more severe symptoms and make it harder to correct your vision.
Let’s take a closer look at myopia and astigmatism, their symptoms, causes and treatment options.
What Is Myopia?
Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is a common eye condition where a person can see objects up close clearly, but objects far away appear blurry. It’s so common that it’s estimated that about one-third of the world’s population has myopia.
Myopia happens when the eye is too long, or the cornea is too curved, which causes light to focus incorrectly on the retina. Symptoms include:
- Blurred vision when looking at distant objects
- Eye strain
- Difficulty seeing while driving or playing sports
Causes of Myopia
Myopia is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Research has shown that myopia tends to run in families, indicating that there is a genetic component to the condition.
One of the environmental factors that can contribute to myopia is the amount of time spent doing close-up work, such as reading, working on a computer or using a smartphone.
When we focus on things up close for prolonged periods, it can cause the eye’s focusing mechanism to become overworked, leading to the elongation of the eye and myopia development.
Another environmental factor associated with myopia is a lack of time spent outdoors. Studies have shown that children who spend more time outdoors have a lower risk of developing myopia.
What Is Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is a common eye condition caused by an irregular shape of the cornea or lens of the eye. The cornea or lens is typically round, but in cases of astigmatism, it can be more of an oval shape. Symptoms include:
- Blurred or distorted vision at any distance
- Straight lines appear wavy or curved
- Eye strain
- Tired eyes after reading or working on the computer for long periods
This irregular shape causes light to be bent differently in different areas of the eye, resulting in distorted or blurry vision at any distance. Astigmatism can occur alone or in combination with other vision problems, such as myopia or hyperopia.
Causes of Astigmatism
Astigmatism can be inherited, and it’s common for people to be born with it. It can also develop later in life as a result of certain diseases or injuries to the eye.
Astigmatism can also be caused by certain conditions such as keratoconus, a condition in which the cornea thins and bulges into a cone shape, or due to scarring on the cornea, which can cause irregularity in the shape of the cornea.
How are Myopia & Astigmatism Corrected?
Both myopia and astigmatism can be corrected with the following:
- Contact lenses
For myopia, Miyosmart glasses lenses may be prescribed. These are specially designed glasses lenses that work by providing a small amount of movement to the eyes, which helps to reduce the amount of strain on the focusing system. This can help to slow down the progression of myopia.
For astigmatism, glasses with special lenses called cylindrical lenses are prescribed. These lenses have different strengths in different areas to help correct the irregular shape and make your vision clearer.
For myopia, MiSight contact lenses may be prescribed. These are soft contact lenses that are specially designed to slow down the progression of myopia in children.
They work by creating a ring of focus around the central part of the lens, which helps to reduce the amount of elongation of the eye. They’re worn during the day and removed at night, and regular check-ups with an eye doctor are required to ensure the correct fit and prescription.
For astigmatism, toric soft contact lenses may be prescribed. These soft contact lenses have different powers in different lens meridians, similar to cylindrical glasses lenses, to correct the cornea’s irregular shape caused by astigmatism. They are comfortable to wear and can be worn for a full day.
Refractive surgery is a type of surgery that changes the shape of the cornea to correct refractive errors such as myopia and astigmatism. The goal of refractive surgery is to reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses.
Get Help with Myopia & Astigmatism
Myopia and astigmatism are common eye conditions that can affect your vision and daily life. However, with the help of an eye doctor and the proper diagnosis and treatment, you can achieve sharper and clearer vision.
Whether it’s through glasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery, there are options available to correct your vision and improve your quality of life. Don’t ignore the symptoms; book an appointment with the team at Total Focus Optometry to experience your vision at its best.