Be aware of astigmatism symptoms and get an eye examination to determine the problem and treatment options
Astigmatism prevalence is relatively high. It is estimated that one in three people have some degree of astigmatism and, it happens along with near-sightedness or far-sightedness.
Based on his experience as an optometrist for 35 years and running Mega Optometry, Leong Chai Hoong said: “I would say about 70 to 80 per cent of our customers have astigmatism. It is much more common than expected.
“At Mega Optometry, we don’t just prescribe spectacles or contact lenses. We also provide eye care services, managing eye diseases and vision problems such as cataracts, glaucoma, retinal problems, macular degeneration, myopia, amblyopia and astigmatism.”
Almost everyone could have astigmatism, some in a very mild form. The symptoms of astigmatism differ in each person. Some may not even experience any symptoms.
Therefore, it is crucial to be aware of the eye condition and have regular eye examinations to detect eye and vision problems early.
Signs and symptoms
Astigmatism starts at a young age, especially for those who inherited it. And it worsens as the person ages. If astigmatism is unnoticed and undetected early, it will manifest as a headache or eyestrain.
Other signs and symptoms of astigmatism include blurred or distorted vision for all distances, visual discomfort, difficulty with night vision, and squinting.
“Get your eyes checked when you experience any of these symptoms because they may also be due to other health or vision problems.
“Patients who visit a general practitioner complaining of a headache at the back of their head will be advised to get their eyes checked.”
An eye care practitioner can determine whether you have astigmatism and, if so, to what degree. They can then advise you of your options to correct your vision and, if required, refer you to an ophthalmologist for further examination or treatment.
Risks and impact if not addressed early
If left untreated, astigmatism can cause complications. For example, a lazy eye (amblyopia) can occur when a person has astigmatism in only one eye, or astigmatism in one eye is worse than the other, and the condition isn’t corrected.
Another risk of untreated astigmatism is the acceleration in the change of shape of the eye. “When you don’t know that you have astigmatism and did not correct it early, it will begin to strain the eye, which will cause the shape of the eye to change even faster.
“The obvious solution is getting an eye examination and correcting it early. Don’t wait until it’s too late. The resulting poor vision, headaches and eye strain will impact your daily life activities and performance,” said Leong.
Productivity is hindered at home and work. It also causes reduced reading speeds and often result in people leaning into screens to guess better letters and numbers, which leads to postural headaches and migraines. Untreated astigmatism also affects driving performance, especially at night and in rainy weather.
It can also impact one’s mental health because he explained, as patients would often feel frustrated when they could not recognise important things clearly, or when experiencing frequent headaches and visual discomfort, which can be quite debilitating.
Treatment not only helps vision but can also reduce the risk of complications like a lazy eye, eye strain, and headaches. Contact lenses or glasses can improve vision, or your eye doctor might suggest surgery.
“When it comes to fitting contact lenses for a person with astigmatism, we need to take into account the astigmatism component in addition to the vision power. In that aspect, ACUVUE is one of the foremost contact lens providers with a range of products for astigmatism and other vision problems.
“ACUVUE has also provided trial lenses for people to try and gauge the suitability and comfortability, which enables us to provide the best eye care service to our customers.” – The Health