Breaking Down Cylinder Eye Prescription: A Closer Look at Astigmatism

In this blog post, we take a closer look at astigmatism, a common eye condition that affects millions of people worldwide. We break down the cylinder eye prescription, which is used to correct astigmatism, and explain what each component means. From understanding the difference between spherical and cylindrical powers to explaining the axis and the importance of correct diagnosis, we provide a comprehensive guide to demystify astigmatism. Whether you’re someone with astigmatism or simply curious to learn more about this condition, this blog post will help you gain a clearer understanding of what astigmatism is and how it can be properly corrected.

Understanding Astigmatism

Astigmatism is a common condition that affects the shape of the eye. Instead of having a perfectly spherical shape, individuals with astigmatism have a cornea or lens that is shaped more like a football than a basketball. This irregular shape causes light to be focused unevenly on the retina, resulting in blurred or distorted vision.

There are various factors that can contribute to the development of astigmatism. Some individuals are born with astigmatism, while others may develop it later in life due to eye injuries, eye surgeries, or certain eye diseases. Additionally, astigmatism can also be hereditary, meaning that it can be passed down from parents to their children.

There are three main types of astigmatism: myopic astigmatism, hyperopic astigmatism, and mixed astigmatism. Myopic astigmatism occurs when one or both principal meridians of the eye are nearsighted, while hyperopic astigmatism occurs when one or both principal meridians are farsighted. Mixed astigmatism, as the name suggests, is a combination of both nearsightedness and farsightedness in different meridians of the eye.

Related: Cracking the Code: Unraveling the Secrets of Your Eye Prescription

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Common symptoms of astigmatism include blurred vision, eyestrain, headaches, and difficulty seeing at night. These symptoms can vary in severity depending on the individual and the degree of astigmatism. It is important to note that astigmatism can occur alongside other refractive errors such as nearsightedness or farsightedness.

To diagnose astigmatism, an eye doctor will perform a comprehensive eye examination, which may include a visual acuity test, a refraction test, and a keratometry test. The refraction test helps determine the specific prescription needed to correct the astigmatism, while the keratometry test measures the curvature of the cornea to determine the degree and axis of astigmatism

Related: How to Read An Eye Prescription

Example of blurriness caused by astigmatism showing woman holding a dog.

Correcting Astigmatism

There are several options available to correct astigmatism and provide clear vision:

  • Eyeglasses for Astigmatism: Eyeglasses are a popular and effective way to correct astigmatism. The prescription for astigmatism is written in a specific format that includes both the spherical and cylindrical powers, as well as the axis. The spherical power corrects nearsightedness or farsightedness, while the cylindrical power corrects astigmatism. The axis indicates the orientation of the cylindrical power.
  • Contact Lenses for Astigmatism: Contact lenses are another option for individuals with astigmatism. Toric contact lenses are designed to correct astigmatism and are available in both soft and rigid gas permeable varieties. These lenses have different powers in different meridians to correct the uneven focusing caused by astigmatism.
  • Astigmatism and LASIK Surgery: LASIK surgery is a popular refractive surgery option for correcting astigmatism. During the procedure, a laser is used to reshape the cornea, correcting its irregular curvature. LASIK can effectively reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses in individuals with astigmatism.

Frequently Asked Questions about Astigmatism

  • Can Astigmatism be cured?: Astigmatism cannot be cured, but it can be effectively managed and corrected with the appropriate eyewear or refractive surgery.
  • Is Astigmatism hereditary?: Yes, astigmatism can be hereditary. If one or both parents have astigmatism, there is an increased likelihood that their children will also have astigmatism.
  • Can Astigmatism cause headaches?: Yes, astigmatism can cause eyestrain and headaches, especially if left uncorrected. Properly correcting astigmatism with glasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery can alleviate these symptoms.

Astigmatism is a common eye condition that affects the way light is focused on the retina, resulting in blurred or distorted vision. Understanding the cylinder eye prescription is essential to correcting astigmatism and achieving clear vision. Whether you choose eyeglasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery, it is important to consult with an eye care professional to determine the best option for your specific needs. By seeking proper diagnosis and treatment, individuals with astigmatism can enjoy improved vision and a better quality of life.

About the Author: Dr. Steven Lee

Dr. Steven Lee is a visionary leader in the eye care and telemedicine sectors and has built a remarkable career by combining his formal training in eye care, engineering expertise, and a passion for innovation. Dr. Lee serves as Zenni’s the Head of Optical Product.