Monday, June 1, 2009


Yet another -ism, -ic, acronym I get to add to my growing list. I kept putting off going to the eye doctor until it got so bad that I was afraid to drive at night if I didn't know where I was going. I couldn't read the street signs clearly and Heaven forbid it should rain. I finally announced to Hubby that I really needed to go to the eye doctor. So one day, after a play date at the mall, I took my clipped coupon to the vision center 30 seconds from the play place (not a good spot since my kids didn’t wanted to stop playing). My coupon was for an eye exam, a pair of glasses, and contacts for $99. Great deal, huh?

Doc started asking me questions as if I was going to be a normal case. He quickly figured out that there's not much normal about me. After some poking around and making my vision worse, then better, then worse… he numbed and dilated my eyeballs. I think I should have picked out my glasses before he blinded me. More poking, literally, then the result. I have a stigmatism, er, astigmatism (turns out I'm not the only one who didn't know it started with the "a"). And not a normal one either. It's not enough to discover that my cornea is shaped like a football instead of a baseball, but I had to have a problem seeing far away AND up close (nearsightedness and farsightedness for you technical people).

Since I don't have to wear my glasses except for driving, reading, or computer use, (which is how I spend 85% of my day) Doc said I didn't need to wear contacts. Out went the coupon! After spending thirty minutes trying on practically every inexpensive pair of glasses in the store, including the kid's section (I have a small head) I finally decided on two pair. One is black with a little bling on the side for sunglasses and the other is lavender with gold beads on the side for indoor use. No Tommy Hilfiger or Channel for me . Total cost? $203. "WHAT?" was Hubby's reaction after I'd charged his credit card. The important part is that I can see! I can see!

So what is astigmatism? It's when your cornea is shaped like a football instead of a baseball. That's also pretty much the technical terminology.

What are the signs and symptoms? Having to ask your kids what signs say. Also slightly blurred vision which can cause "headaches or eye strain and distort or blur your vision at all distances." Oh, and don't forget to have your kids tested because many times they have astigmatism but won't say anything. This was not the case with Reyna who complained for 3 months before we finally took her to get glasses which she never wears.

What causes astigmatism? Here's the technical stuff which I did not write, obviously:

"Astigmatism occurs when the cornea is shaped more like an oblong football than a spherical baseball, which is the normal shape. In most astigmatic eyes, the oblong or oval shape causes light rays to focus on two points in the back of your eye, rather than on just one. This is because, like a football, an astigmatic cornea has a steeper curve and a flatter one.

In regular astigmatism, the meridians in which the two different curves lie are located 180 degrees apart. In irregular astigmatism, the two meridians may be located at something other than 180 degrees apart; or there are more than two meridians.

Regular astigmatism is usually easy to correct (see treatments below), but irregular astigmatism can be complicated and more difficult to correct, depending on the extent of the irregularity and its cause.

Usually astigmatism is hereditary: many people are born with an oblong cornea, and the resulting vision problem may get worse over time.

But astigmatism may also result from an eye injury that has caused scarring on the cornea, from certain types of eye surgery or from keratoconus, a disease that causes a gradual thinning of the cornea."

What are the treatments? Wearing glasses or contact lenses are the most common ways to correct the astigmatism. Mine is not bad enough for me to have surgery done which is good, because I really don't want someone slicing into my eye even if it is with a laser. Some may decide to have Lasik surgery done if the problem is severe enough.

Here are some other links if you would like to read more about astigmatism:

The first picture is obviously my new glasses. The other two are astigmatism tests. If they're blurry, you may have an astigmatism...
or you just need to clean your monitor.

1 comment:

  1. crap they are pretty blurring looking and I have the issue reading signs. Oh well, just another thing to add to the list :P