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I have astigmatism. Would you recommend wearing contact lenses or just glasses?

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I have astigmatism. Would you recommend wearing contact lenses or just glasses? — R.M., California
asked Feb 10, 2017 in Health by smyadmin

5 Answers

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It's your choice. Both contact lenses and eyeglasses can correct astigmatism. Refractive surgery, such as LASIK or PRK, also is an option.
answered Feb 10, 2017 by Dr. Dubow
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My eye doctor told me in my eye exam that my astigmatism got worse. Is this normal? I heard that astigmatism's not supposed to change.
answered Feb 10, 2017 by T.J., Minnesota
When it comes to your eyes, it's always best to trust your eye doctor rather than what you hear elsewhere — unless that "elsewhere" is another eye doctor at AllAboutVision.com!

Astigmatism is a very common vision problem. In fact, most people have some. When you have astigmatism, light does not focus to a single point in your eye. Instead, it causes blurred vision because the front of the eye is shaped more like a football than a baseball.

Unfortunately, astigmatism can (and often does) change throughout your life, usually for the worse with age. But astigmatism is not a disease and can be compensated for with glasses, contact lenses or refractive surgery.
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Our son is almost 10 years old, and he had his first eye exam recently because he failed a school vision screening. The eye doctor said he has a lot of astigmatism in one eye, and a lesser amount in the other, and that he needs to wear glasses all the time because he has "lazy eye" in the eye with more astigmatism.

The doctor went on to say that the lazy eye might be permanent because the astigmatism wasn't detected sooner. Is this true?
answered Feb 10, 2017 by S.W., Oregon
It's true that uncorrected astigmatism can cause amblyopia (or "lazy eye"). In the past, it was believed that there is a "critical period" in childhood during which amblyopia treatment must begin or decreased vision will be permanent. Many people believed this critical period ended around age 8 or 9.

But recent studies of brain function and a phenomenon called neuroplasticity are dispelling the belief that amblyopia treatment is ineffective beyond a certain age in childhood.

Be sure your son wears his eyeglasses full-time and sees an eye doctor for routine exams to monitor his vision development. Initially, he should be seen more frequently than once a year.

You also might want to take him to an eye doctor who specializes in children's vision and amblyopia treatment. A program of prescribed visual activities (called vision therapy), along with full-time wear of glasses, often is more effective at reducing or eliminating amblyopia than simply wearing prescription eyeglasses.
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Will my astigmatism worsen if I don't wear my glasses all the time? If I do wear my glasses all the time, will this somehow reduce my astigmatism, or will it make my astigmatism worse? Are there any medications that can reduce astigmatism?
answered Feb 10, 2017 by R.C., California
Wearing or not wearing your eyeglasses will not make your astigmatism better or worse. If your astigmatism worsens, this will occur whether or not you wear your glasses. At present, there is no known medicine that can reduce astigmatism.

But I recommend that you do wear prescription glasses or contact lenses (or consider LASIK or other vision surgery to correct your astigmatism) if your vision is bothersome without corrective lenses. Also, even mild uncorrected astigmatism often causes headaches and eye strain.

And, depending on the severity of your astigmatism, it may be dangerous (and illegal) for you to drive without corrective lenses.
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I've worn glasses before, but I was just prescribed glasses for astigmatism for the first time. My new glasses make me dizzy when I wear them. I've had them for three days. Will this feeling go away, or should I go back to my eye doctor?
answered Feb 10, 2017 by Tom
It's true that sometimes it takes a period of adjustment to get used to glasses that correct astigmatism — especially if you have moderate or severe astigmatism or a significant change in your astigmatism prescription.

Since it's been three days and you are still uncomfortable (I'm assuming you are wearing the glasses full-time), I recommend you return to your eye doctor to make sure your new eyeglasses prescription is correct and your lenses were made properly.

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