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What is Astigmatism? – Dr. Marc Robinson

One common visual condition that my patients often deal with is astigmatism. Astigmatism essentially means that there’s more than one visual correction or “prescription” in each eye. This is usually correctable with glasses or contacts.

If someone needs more correction vertically than horizontally, words may appear readable on a page however they may seem skewed or distorted. They may find themselves squinting often to clear these words up. Astigmatism also contributes to trouble driving in the rain or at night. The condition is due to an imperfection the cornea’s shape (front of the eye) or the crystalline lens’s shape (inside the eye).

These patients also tend to see linear glare from headlights at night. I have patients who come to me thinking they need a yellow tint to drive at night, but this does not get to the root of the problem. What these patients often need is proper astigmatism correction and quality anti-glare treatment in their eyeglass lenses. Improved night driving and visual comfort throughout the day can be life changing.

One of the common issues people with astigmatism have is that through the lens material polycarbonate that most glasses are made out of, there will always be more distortion than if we made that same prescription out of glass. Of course, due to the fact that glass can shatter, be unsafe, and is too heavy, we don’t create our lenses out of glass in this day and age.

For my patients, I recommend we make glasses for those with astigmatism out of Trivex. This material is the lightest on the market and offers much less distortion for all prescriptions compared to polycarbonate. The clarity provided is very close to looking through glass. When created in the correct prescription, these patients are often able to spend hours on end reading again and are much more comfortable and confident driving at night.

Contact lenses can correct for astigmatism as well, however it’s important that they fit the eyes properly. Additional calculations are done along with measurement of the cornea to find the right lenses. In order to get the best vision and comfort, we need to be sure it’s not too tight or too loose; an ill-fitting astigmatism (toric) contact lens can cause fluctuations in vision throughout the day. Personally, astigmatism contact lens fittings tend to be my favorite because of the reactions my patients have leaving with clear comfortable vision.

Once astigmatism is corrected properly we’re able to provide a level of clarity many didn’t know existed. At Gainesville Vision we love treating astigmatism and aim to provide all of the resources available in order to give you the best vision possible.

Please call our office to schedule an eye exam for you or your “astigmatic” loved one today.

Marc Robinson, OD
Gainesville Vision