Astigmatism 101: Do Glasses make it Worse?


Normal Eyes, Nearsighted, Farsighted and Astigmatism Compared
** Check the arrow for astigmatism

Astigmatism is one of the most common eye focusing problem where light is focused on a different direction because of an irregular shape of the cornea or lens. A normal eye is shaped like a baseball but because of the irregular shape, people with astigmatism usually have more like a football shape in their eyes.

Glasses don’t cause astigmatism. Usually astigmatism is already present at a young age and it is closely related to genetics. Other causes of astigmatism can vary from surgery, eye trauma or even aging. A correct lens prescription is necessary in order to control astigmatism especially the eye strain involved.

While glasses have no clear correlation with astigmatism, it is wise to learn how to take care of your eye health in order to prevent it from getting worse. Having good eye diagnosis and practices with the a health practitioner is key in order to prevent astigmatism.

Can astigmatism worsen over time?

Astigmatism usually worsens over time due to aging. Especially in the childhood to early 20s. This is due to the growing eyeballs. Some people are already born with astigmatism that can be part of genetics. People who don’t have astigmatism can also actually develop astigmatism but it is less likely than people born with it.

Astigmatism can also worsen in trauma events such as surgery, other eye conditions or an eye injury. These events may change the curvature of your cornea making the issue worse.

Even small incisions in cataract surgery can cause astigmatism. In this research paper published by John R. Shepherd M.D. Titled: “Induced astigmatism in small incision cataract surgery” where they concluded an increase of 0.13D in just a week after mild surgery.

Source: Shepherd, John R. “Induced Astigmatism in Small Incision Cataract Surgery.” Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, vol. 15, no. 1, 1989, pp. 85–88. Crossref, doi:10.1016/s0886-3350(89)80145-2.

What causes astigmatism to worsen?

Astigmatism worsens due to a lot of reasons. Majority is because you are growing. As the eye balls grow, you are more likely to develop astigmatism. This can also be blamed on genetics since people who are born with astigmatism usually develops astigmatism till their mid 20s. Another reason for worsening astigmatism is eye trauma such as a surgery, health complications or injuries.

Causes of Astigmatism

  • Injuries
  • Surgery
  • Complication to other disease
  • Genetics
  • Aging Process

Symptoms of Astigmatism

  • Eye discomfort such as headache or dizziness
  • Eye squinting especially when looking at texts
  • Blurry Vision or having blur on some areas only
  • Poor Night Vision
  • Eye Strain

Can you have astigmatism and not need glasses?

Very Low Astigmatism don’t actually need glasses. In fact, people with a less than 0.6 diopter astigmatism is considered normal. People with astigmatism can also get a 20/40 or even 20/20 vision. But this is not always the case. In fact, if you are experiencing symptoms of astigmatism such as eye discomfort, dizziness, and headache, it is better to seek professional help.

To know if you have a normal, mild or severe astigmatism, here is a table summary of each of then so you can quickly find out.

Astigmatism DioptersLevel of Astigmatism
<0.6 DioptersNormal
0.6 – 2.0 DioptersMild Astigmatism
2.0 – 4.0 DioptersModerate Astigmatism
>4.0Severe Astigmatism
Levels of Astigmatism Corresponding to their Diopters

Source: Dr. Ali Moshirfar, MD Orthopedic Surgeon at Inova Neurosciences

Will my eyes get worse if I don’t wear my glasses?

There is no scientific evidence suggesting that not wearing glasses can cause astigmatism to be worse. The only thing that needs attention is that if you are experiencing some discomfort or a decrease in your quality of life, it is better to get a checkup to get a proper prescription. Some symptoms to take note of are the following: eye discomfort such as headache or dizziness, eye squinting especially when looking at texts, blurry vision or having blur on some areas only, poor night vision and eye strain.

A research paper presented in the World Ophthalmology Congress titled: “Effect of uncorrected astigmatism on vision” concluded that uncorrected astigmatism as low as -1.00D causes a significantly blurry vision and if untreated would cause patients to have a decreased quality of life.

Source: Wolffsohn, James S., et al. “Effect of Uncorrected Astigmatism on Vision.” Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, vol. 37, no. 3, 2011, pp. 454–60. Crossref, doi:10.1016/j.jcrs.2010.09.022.

In conclusion, if you are in a state where your quality of life will be impaired by poor vision, a glass is necessary. If you have a work that needs a careful attention to detail such as artists, then glasses will be important.

If you do not have any reason to wear glasses for your astigmatism or your life will be the same both with and without, glasses are not really necessary

Can Astigmatism cause Blindness?

Astigmatism causes poor night vision, eye discomfort, dizziness and blurry vision but it does not cause blindness. It is a problem in your eyes focusing light. While it can affect the quality of life of an individual, it is less likely to cause blindness.

However, there will be instances where you need to check out with your doctor. Astigmatism can be cause by physical trauma to the eye which may lead to various complications. It is wise to have a proper eye check if these instances occur. A proper diagnosis and treatment is what your eye needs.

Other than that, astigmatism can be cured easily with eye surgery. To know more about eye surgery, you may check my article on the available treatments for vision.

Plus, I actually went from -3.25 myopia to -1.25 as of this writing. If you are interested in what I did, you may check out my video.

The easiest way to know if you have astigmatism

The easiest way to know if you have astigmatism is to actually check the lights at night. There are two reasons. One is that people with astigmatism actually have a bad night vision which is very noticeable. Another is that lights tend to look expanded in a straight line when at night. This is most common with astigmatism and can easily be spotted even without comprehensive eye examination.

Here is an image on what people with astigmatism can see.

As you can see in the photo, with this kind of vision, it will be a lot harder to see at night. That’s one of the key reasons why people with astigmatism can have a bad vision especially at night.

Jason

Jason Ong is a YouTuber and the one who owns this site. He shares what he learned to people and make videos if necessary. He was a former lecturer. The things he taught are topics related to Clinical Laboratory Science or what others call Medical Technology. Right now, he is also working part-time in an app company as a production supervisor. You can visit his YouTube Channel on https://ongjason.com/youtube

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