Astigmatism is a common condition causing poor vision, and is a distortion of the cornea that leaves the eye oval or footballshaped, rather than round. Round eyes are normal and are important for good eyesight. In cases of astigmatism, the eye focuses on two points instead of one; this happens because rays of light do not form a single point of focus as they enter the eye. The word astigmatism is derived from the Greek alpha, meaning ‘without’ and stigma meaning ‘point.’
The most common symptoms of astigmatism are:
- Blurred vision
- Eye pain
Straight lines may seem crooked and even distorted. People with astigmatism may complain about blurry or fuzzy lines, and develop severely distorted depth perception over time.
What Causes Astigmatism?
Since astigmatism is a distortion of the cornea, it is difficult to pinpoint its exact cause. Over time, the cornea of the eye can lose its natural roundness. In addition, poor posture, and frequent tilting of the head can lead to astigmatism and problems with perception.
Treatments for Astigmatism
Many treatment options for astigmatism are available, but some have higher risks than others. Surgical procedures developed in recent years include Lasik surgery and photo reactive keratomy (PRK). Both of these are invasive procedures that carry a risk of damage. Side effects may include:
- Feelings of ‘halos’ around lights
- Tears in the retina, and damage to the optic nerve
- Chronic dry eye, and a diminished capacity to produce tears
- Free radical damage
- Impaired visual acuity
There are natural remedies and cures available as an alternative to surgery. Ayurvedic theory indicates that vision problems are related to digestive imbalances. As a result, some options include regular eye exercises, consumption of Ayurvedic herbs such as amla, triphala, and licorice, and a diet rich in carrots, spinach, and antioxidant vegetables.
Nutritional supplementation can also be helpful; extra supplements high in Vitamin A, Vitamin B complex, Vitamin E, betacarotene, flavonoids, Nacetylcystine (NAC), riboflavin, selenium, taurine, zeaxthanin, and zinc can significantly improve eye health when taken on a regular basis.
The Bates Method involves reeducating the eye to improve healthy eyesight. This works by taking frequent breaks where the mind and body are in a relaxed state. This can involve a peaceful walk or meditation, closing the eyes but improving receptive awareness, and focusing on detailed but pleasant scenery. Over a period of time, this can help train the eyes, mind, and body to work in harmony.
Eating a balanced and healthy diet also can significantly improve eye health. Diets that are good at reducing eye degeneration include food such as:
- Those high in antioxidants, such as Acai berries, Goji berries, red grapes, cherries, mangos, and citrus fruits. Unsweetened cocoa is also an excellent choice that is rich in antioxidants and natural flavonoids.
- Organic egg yolks for the high carotenoid content
- Green leafy vegetables, including leaf lettuce, chard, kale, collard greens, spinach, and parsley
- Those low in unhealthy hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils. This includes avoiding processed and fried foods, refined sugars, alcohol, and simple carbohydrates.
Eye exercises throughout the day can significantly improve your eye health. Resting your eyes for five minutes every 30 minutes can help relax your gaze and improve your overall energy.