What is Astigmatism?
Astigmatism is a common eye condition that causes blurred vision. Almost every person has some degree of astigmatism. This occurs due to the slight change in the shape of cornea or the lens which results in image not being focused centrally on the retina. The disorder can be easily corrected through usage of glasses.
Causes of Astigmatism:
In a normal eye, the cornea which is the front part of the eye and lens in the eye will have a smooth round shape. Light entering the eye will be bent normally and a proper reflection of the image will be focused on the retina. This is the case with the normal perfect eye sight. When the curves are not smooth either in the cornea or in the lens, the light will not be bent evenly, and a slightly distorted image will be focused on the retina. This causes a blurred vision and this refractive disorder condition is termed as astigmatism. Astigmatism typically occurs along with other distractive disorder like myopia.
There are two main types of astigmatism. When the cause is related to the irregular curves in the area, condition is termed as corneal astigmatism. Lenticular astigmatism is when the cause is due to irregular curves in the lens.
The real causes of astigmatism are not known yet. It is seen from birth in many cases and can also be caused as a result of eye surgery, eye disease or an injury to the eye. Risk of developing astigmatism is more in the following cases
1. People with family history of astigmatism or other refractive eye disorders tend to have astigmatism
2. Scars on the cornea, thinning and degeneration of cornea known as keratoconus
3. Excessive nearsightedness or farsightedness
4. Eye surgeries like cataract surgery
The most common symptoms are
• Blurred or distorted vision
• Night vision problems
• Eye strain and irritation
• Constant headaches
Doctor would conduct a series of eye tests in order to make the correct diagnosis. This would include aiming bright light towards the eye, asking to read using several lenses etc.
Most common treatment method involves the usage of glasses with corrective lenses. These lenses correct the irregular vision by balancing the effect of the curved cornea or lenses. Surgical treatment methods like LASIK (Laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis), LASEK (Laser-assisted subepithelial keratectomy), PRK (Photorefractive keratectomy) are also used in many cases as a treatment option.
Ayurvedic treatment for Astigmatism:
Indian traditional medical system of Ayurveda has a specialized branch called shalakya tantra which deals with eye diseases. There are about 72 specific eye diseases mentioned in shalakya tantra along with treatment procedures for them.
Vata dosha which governs air movement and circulation, Pitta dosha which is responsible for digestion and metabolism and Kapha dosha which is responsible for lubrication and formation of structure are the 3 fundamental dosha types which are present in all living beings and things. Ayurveda views astigmatism as being caused by vitiation of vata dosha and treatment is based on correcting this dosha. Treatment is aimed at removing the blockages in the channels (specifically in the eye) and also nourishing the tissues in the eyes for proper functioning. The duration of Ayurvedic Treatment for astigmatism is typically 18-21 days and cost of ayurvedic treatment for astigmatism would be around 800-1,000 USD.