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No need to panic: astigmatism "is something very normal"
Astigmatism is common. However, many people do not even know that they have one. Affected people see their surroundings with a certain blurring. Treatment is usually only necessary if there is severe curvature.
Many are unaware of their astigmatism
Many people do not even know that they have one - but they are scared when they find out: the word astigmatism alone sounds threatening. It sounds like something is broken in the eye. "I think that is a term among the population that unsettles many," said Stefan Bandlitz of the Cologne University of Applied Sciences for the optician dpa. The curvature is not a cause for concern. "It's something very normal," said Bandlitz. "A standard variant." The curvature, also called astigmatism, is automatically corrected by the optician with the glasses without the glasses wearer being aware of them. If the correction is not made, the person concerned will not see clearly.
While short-sighted people see blurry, the picture is distorted if the cornea is curvilinear. Professor Thomas Kohnen of the German Ophthalmological Society compares this to a distorted mirror. To the dpa he said: "It's like when you stand at the fair in front of this mirror and the body is very elongated." This has to do with the fact that the curvature of the cornea, which varies depending on the direction, does not bundle the rays of light that come into the eye on the retina to one point, but bundle them stronger in some places and weaker in others - they are broken differently and ultimately as a line - as a rod - shown. Therefore, astigmatism was formerly called presbyopia. "But that's a rather outdated term," said Bandlitz.
Warping is only perceived from a certain value
Professor Michael Knorz from the professional association of ophthalmologists in Germany described the shape of the cornea as American football. "The cornea does not look like a ball, but is crooked." As a rule, astigmatism is innate and inheritable. The weaker the curvature, the less affected people feel it when they see it. Knorz assumes that they only notice the curvature from a value of 0.75 diopters. Astigmatism does not necessarily have to be compensated with glasses or contact lenses. "If you do it, you will see better," explained Professor Knorz. Those who choose glasses get so-called toric glasses. These can make themselves felt in the price. "It's like a suit or a dress made to measure," says Knorz. "The moment the demands become higher, it also becomes a little more expensive."
Compensate corneal curvature with contact lenses
Astigmatism can also be corrected with contact lenses. The rumor that this is not possible is still widespread. "This is also due to the fact that in the past you could not manufacture contact lenses so specifically," explained Bandlitz. It is different now. The greater the curvature, the better the contact lens, according to the expert. In contrast to the spectacle lens, which is at a certain distance from the eye, the lens sits directly at the point where the visual defect occurs. However, the problem with contact lenses is that they can increase the susceptibility to eye infections. Another option to treat astigmatism is laser. This is possible for up to five diopters. Doctors advise against this from six diopters. Various methods, such as LASIK, Femto or Smile procedures are available to treat ametropia. However, it is possible that the curvature of the cornea comes back at least partially after the laser.
Value stays the same
Regardless of whether the curvature is corrected with glasses or contact lenses, the value will not improve or deteriorate in the long run: "It remains relatively constant over the course of life," explained Kohnen. However, minor fluctuations are quite possible. However, if the value deteriorates sharply, those affected should become suspicious. You should contact a doctor. It can then be the rare keratoconus disease. The cornea continues to thin out. (ad)