Eye Stigma

What is Eye Stigma?

People sometimes refer to astigmatism as eye stigma. Astigmatism is an eye condition in which a person has a sense of blurring of vision because of a structural change in the cornea or lens of the eye.

The eye is a very complex organ which allows us the precious gift of sight is small in appearance but it contains a network of nerves and muscles that actually makes it closer to an intricately constructed machine. Astigmatism or eye stigma is the condition in which the cornea, which should normally be spherical in shape, is more oval or oblong. This is not a mere cosmetic variation as this change affects the way the light rays are focused by the eye: for the proper functioning of the eye, the light rays should focus in one place whereas in astigmatic eyes the rays focus in two points. The steep curve of the irregularly shaped cornea affects the way the lens processes the light rays. This is called corneal astigmatism. There are also some cases where the astigmatism is caused by an irregularity of the shape of the lens and this is behind the cornea. The same principle, that the light rays are improperly focused, affects the vision in that case also.

Eye stigma or astigmatism is the result of heredity or injury. Some people are born with irregularly shaped cornea and this can worsen with time. Eye injury that damages the cornea or some diseases such as keratoconus can affect the shape of the cornea and lead to astigmatism. This possibility of eye injury is the reason why people in jobs that expose the eyes to high risk are advised to wear protective gear for the eyes.

The thing to remember about astigmatism is that it is not something that is immediately apparent to the person who is affected by it. The blurring of vision can be too slight to notice. As astigmatism worsens, the patient may feel eye strain and resultant headache. Since it is difficult to sometimes know that one is suffering from astigmatism or eye stigma and still be affected by sub-optimal vision, it is important to schedule regular eye exams. Ophthalmologists are particular in mentioning that these regular eye check-ups are very important for kids because they are the ones who are even less likely to notice inconsistency or progressive deterioration of vision.

Children affected by this problem may sometimes struggle with school or even sports. Astigmatism is said to affect 25 to 30 percent of the population, and given the fairly high probability of being affected by it, the best way to deal with it is to get diagnosed and treated at the earliest possible. Eye stigma can be concurrent with short sight or long sight.

Once astigmatism is detected, it is fairly easy to correct it with eye glasses or contact lenses. A person with astigmatism will likely get a prescription that will address the need to compensate for the concave shape of the cornea. Developments in contact lens technology in the last several years have made them a great way of dealing with astigmatism.  An eye doctor, who is examining the specific nature of your problem, will be able to make the best recommendation for correcting the eye stigma.  

Some people have irregular astigmatism in which case each of the eyes has a different level of problem and this may require some additional customization in the corrective process also. Sometimes refractive surgery is recommended as the best course of dealing with eye stigma. Corrective surgery for vision problems have become increasingly popular because they have proven to be fairly consistently successful and patients believe that the minor risk associated with it is worth taking. This is ultimately a personal choice an so if you or your child is alerted to astigmatism you will want to factor in age and life style and such details before choosing the treatment you want.