Our eyes are wonderful, interesting, and intricate! While our eyes are growing as children, they may develop irregularities, like myopia or astigmatism.
Attending regularly scheduled eye exams is the best way to determine if you or your child has myopia or astigmatism.
While both refractive errors are similar and can cause blurry vision, there are some key differences. The first step to understanding the difference between myopia and astigmatism is to understand how the eye works, and what those refractive errors look like.
Your eyes are made up of several layers and pieces that all work together to create your vision:
Typically, the cornea is smooth and has an even thickness across the eye.
The images that we see are comprised of light, which passes through the transparent cornea, into the pupil, and into the back of the eye (called the retina).
The cornea isn’t the only part of the eye that determines whether or not we see clearly! However, both astigmatism and myopia can be caused by an irregular cornea. But, myopia can be caused by other factors as well.
Astigmatism causes blurry and distorted vision at several distances, and it is caused by irregularities in the cornea or lens.
Most people actually have some degree of astigmatism, but not everyone experiences blurry vision from it that needs vision correction.
Often, astigmatism develops alongside other refractive errors like myopia or hyperopia.
Myopia, also called nearsightedness, causes objects in the distance to appear blurry. A slight myopia may cause objects far away to appear blurry, and a high myopia causes objects closer to appear blurry.
Myopia typically develops in childhood and continues to progress into adulthood. There are 2 reasons myopia might develop:
Myopia and astigmatism together can cause blurred vision at all distances.
Many people live with myopia, astigmatism, or both. Corrective lenses can often help you see clearly, but there is no cure for these refractive errors.
However, there are options available to help improve your vision.
If myopia is diagnosed while your child’s eyes are developing, there are ways to control and slow its progression:
Later in life, blurry vision due to myopia can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. Many people are also candidates for laser eye surgery, which reshapes the cornea to bend (refract) light properly onto the retina.
Although there may not be ways to prevent astigmatism from becoming worse, there are ways to correct blurry vision caused by it:
Orthokeratology, also known as ortho-k lenses, can help provide clear vision throughout the day without the need for corrective prescription glasses or contact lenses. These lenses gently reshape your eyes while you sleep, and are removed in the morning.
The only way to determine if you or your child has myopia or astigmatism is by visiting your eye doctor regularly.
The team at Vivid Eye Care uses state of the art diagnostic technology to measure and assess your eyes. From there, our team can develop an individualized plan to help you or your child achieve the best vision possible.