Astigmatism is a common vision problem affecting millions of people worldwide. It can cause blurred vision, headaches and discomfort when reading. Astigmatism can also impact your quality of life when left untreated. It can make everyday activities, such as driving or working at a computer, more difficult. How does astigmatism affect your vision? How does it affect your quality of life? We take a closer look at the subject so that you can make the best possible decisions.

How does astigmatism affect vision?

Astigmatism is a refractive problem caused by an irregular curvature of the eye's cornea or crystalline lens. In other words, a perfectly round cornea or crystalline lens enables sharp vision. But in an astigmatic person, the shape is slightly irregular, distorting vision.

How do people with astigmatism see?

Depending on the nature and severity of the astigmatism, the vision of an astigmatic person is not identical from one person to the next. For example, the contours of objects may be blurred, and straight lines may appear curved. In some cases, people with astigmatism may also experience a certain sensitivity to light.

Common symptoms of astigmatism

Not everyone with astigmatism sees the same thing. However, some symptoms are more frequent than others. These include:

  • Blurred vision: Vision may be more or less blurred, worsening with fatigue.
  • Distortion of straight lines: Straight lines may appear curved or distorted.
  • Contour distortion: The contours of objects are sometimes distorted, making it difficult to perceive fine details.
  • Focusing problems: People with astigmatism may find it difficult to switch quickly from focusing on a close object to focusing on a distant one and vice versa.
  • Eye fatigue: Because of the difficulty in obtaining sharp vision, people with astigmatism may experience eye fatigue at the end of the day or after intensive visual activity (reading, smartphone, etc.).

If you experience one or more of these symptoms, make an appointment to have your eyesight assessed. Astigmatism is common in all age groups.

How does astigmatism affect quality of life?

The effects of vision problems on quality of life vary according to the level of visual acuity. However, astigmatism is frequently associated with other vision problems. The most common of these are nearsightedness and farsightedness, also known as myopia and hyperopia, which aggravate the visual defect and, consequently, quality of life.

The impact of astigmatism on quality of life

Severe astigmatism often has an impact on performance at work and school. In addition, poor vision limits social and leisure activities. A person with severe astigmatism will have trouble driving, reading, etc.

Astigmatism in children and learning at school

A child with astigmatism may tend to squint. They may also confuse certain letters and numbers. This is due to the distortion of lines, which can make an H look like an M or a C look like an O. Some children with astigmatism may also have difficulty staying on one line when writing.

For all these reasons, astigmatism in children negatively affects school learning. And, as in adults, children often present symptoms of visual fatigue.

Can astigmatism be treated?

Yes, astigmatism can be treated, and there are several options for correcting almost any level of astigmatism. Most often, people with astigmatism turn to prescription glasses or contact lenses. In some cases, laser surgery may be an option.

When should you wear glasses if you have astigmatism?

Just because you have astigmatism doesn't mean you must always wear glasses. Depending on your level of astigmatism, you may need to wear glasses occasionally for specific activities, such as reading or precision work.

When the vision problem is more serious, permanent vision correction is required, using glasses, contact lenses or laser surgery.

Does astigmatism evolve?

Astigmatism changes little throughout a person's life. However, astigmatism needs to be corrected as your eyesight develops. Any vision problems that may arise need to be taken into account. That's why we recommend that you and your children have regular eye exams by optometrists.