How Astigmatism Influences Light Perception

How Astigmatism Influences Light Perception

  • Astigmatism is when the eye shape is more oval than sphere. This causes blurry vision.
  • About one third of Americans are affected by astigmatism, and it is more common with age.
  • Due to the stark contrast between light and dark, this condition is more apparent at night.
  • For more information, visit Insider’s Health Reference Library.

Astigmatism can cause blurry vision in dim light, particularly when the eye is shaped more like an oval than a sphere. Astigmatism is an eye condition that causes blurry vision. It occurs when the shape of the eye is more oval-shaped than a sphere. This distorts light entering the eye. And when there’s little light to begin with — like at dusk or night — visual cues are scarce which can exacerbate the problem.

“The cornea is not perfectly round. It’s actually slightly oval. It’s a very subtle difference, but it’s important from a visual perspective,”Manhattan-based Robert Friedman, an ophthalmologist

Astigmatism is fairly common — it affects about one in three Americans, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. It happens more often as you get older. You can take, for instance: an estimatedAstigmatism affects 23% of 20-to 39-year olds, 28% among 40- to 59 year-olds, 50% of 60-year-olds and 50% of people over 60.

This condition can also occur in nearsightednessMyopia) or farsightedness (hyperopiaThere are many ways to treat astigmatism. Learn more about astigmatism and how light affects it. Also, learn about ways to alleviate its symptoms.

What is astigmatism and how can it be explained? 

One of four types of refractive errors is astigmatism. This refers to the condition where the shape of the eyes doesn’t bend light properly, leading to blurred vision. Refractive errors can also be caused by: 

  • NearsightednessUnless objects are very close, difficulty seeing.
  • Farsightedness: A person’s ability to clearly see objects far away. Close-up vision, however, is blurry.
  • PresbyopiaIf you have difficulty focusing on objects close up and require reading glasses. 

Patients may be able to have multiple of these conditions simultaneously. 

Corneal vs. lenticular astigmatism

Most people were born with astigmatism. Usually, it’s either because their cornea — the clear window in front of the eye — is more oval than round or their lenticular lens — is overly curved.

One can have lenticular or corneal astigmatism, or both. Sometimes, vision problems can be canceled by experiencing corneal or lens distortions. Sometimes, both the lens and cornea can be combined to worsen problems. 

Friedman says that corneal astigmatism, which can be present in either one or both of your eyes, is the most common type.

How astigmatism can affect light perception 

Ophthalmologists agree that blurry vision due to astigmatism can occur at any time of the day. Blurry vision is often more noticeable at night due to the contrast between dark and light. 

“People will say, ‘I have trouble driving at night, but not in the day.’ And it’s not that in the daytime, they don’t have the refractive error, it’s just that they’re able to overcome it a lot easier than at night when there’s less light,”” Anna Park, an ophthalmologist at the Martin P. Kolsky Group Chartered, Washington, DC and an attending physician for the Washington Hospital Center. 

Because there is less light available for your eyes to focus, vision can be blurred during the day. To compensate, the pupil dilates so that more light can enter. A larger pupil indicates that more cornea and lens are being used for focusing the light. These surfaces are used more often to correct refractive problems such as astigmatism.

“Night vision is the same as day vision, it’s just that the light rays aren’t focused on your retina as they should be, so the picture you get is blurred and distorted. In general, in lower light, refractive errors come out more often,”Park. 

Chan claims that most forms of astigmatism are mild. “So people may not notice the problem during the day. But at night, lights — headlights, stop signs — will seem to come at you.” 

Park also said that it was important to keep in mind that screens can be damaged. devices don’t cause astigmatismIt doesn’t have any affect on them.

Astigmatism symptoms

Experts agree that astigmatism’s main symptom isn’t seeing clearly. Other symptoms may also be caused by astigmatism, such as:

  • Blurred vision at all distancesPark says astigmatists may have blurred vision, especially for objects close up and further away. 
  • Eyestrain and headaches “Eyes muscles are trying to focus, and if things are not clear, you can get eyestrain,”Park says. This can lead to headaches.
  • Streaky vision: According to some, astigmatism can make lights appear streaky. Vicki ChanKaiser Permanente’s Los Angeles ophthalmologist, Dr. The eye chart was being viewed in a doctor’s office. “E”It is possible for the chart letters to appear off-centered or on top of each other. This may be in contrast with the overall blurriness in other conditions.
  • Ovals are created by circular lights: “If you look at a circular light from far away and it [has] an ovoid distortion to it, that would be astigmatism,”Friedman tells Insider. Friedman says that oval distortions, also known as ovoids, are sometimes difficult to see.  
  • Abilities at certain distancesIt doesn’t necessarily mean that every task will be affected by astigmatism. Friedman states that while some people can read in certain directions, others may have difficulty seeing far away due to their astigmatism. 

How to treat astigmatism

A professional may be able to help you if you have vision problems in the past.

“When we prescribe glasses or contacts, what we’re doing is providing a prescription that’ll help focus the light coming into the eye and to the retina so that the picture is clear,”Park. 

Chan is in agreement. “Any time you have blurred vision, you should see a doctor because a lot of things have similar symptoms,”She says. Here are some ways that astigmatism can be treated.

  • GlassesChan says that prescription glasses can correct astigmatism by refocusing images and lights. Tinted glasses may reduce some glare, but will not correct astigmatism.
  • Contact lenses:If the need for contacts is strong enough, Toric lensesYou have two light-bending abilities that cross perpendicularly in order to treat astigmatism. 
  • Laser surgery: LasikAstigmatism can be corrected with laser surgery. Photorefractive keratectomy can be used for patients with too thin corneas to undergo Lasik.PRKOptional: 

Insider’s takeaway

Astigmatism can be characterized by blurred vision, streaky vision, headaches and eye strain. Astigmatism is a common condition in most people. However, it can also be caused by eye strain. trauma.

Astigmatic people may have difficulty driving or seeing in low light. This is because refractive error are more common in lower lighting. It can also be present in the daytime. However, the darkness only makes it worse.

Chan states that there are no home remedies for vision problems. Instead, you will need contacts or glasses to focus the light on your eyes. For more severe cases, surgery is an option. 

Moreover, astigmatism may change — for the better or worse — with age, so it’s important that if you have blurred vision, it’s best to see a healthcare professional for a diagnosis

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