If you see halo around lights, complain of double vision (even with one eye closed), or find yourself constantly squinting against the glare of street lamps at night, you’re one of the 52 percent of Singaporeans who have astigmatism.
The study, done by Johnson & Johnson Vision Care (JJVC), also found that 64 percent of contact lens wearers have astigmatism but have yet to correct it, half of the respondents do not know toric lenses are better for astigmatism, and 44 percent of them say their eye care professional has never recommended toric lenses to them.
And, interestingly, the findings showed that poor vision affects women’s emotional well-being more than it does men. “It probably has to do with the fact that women are the more emotional gender,” says trained optometrist Shirley Loh, Public Professional Affairs Manager for JJVC Singapore.
In a bid to raise the awareness of astigmatism among Singaporeans, JJVC has launched the “Beat the Blur with Healthy Eyes” campaign with 1-Day Acuvue Moist for Astigmatism contact lenses. These toric lenses feature the unique Auto-Focus Design, which helps keep them in place on your cornea. They also provide the highest UV protection for daily disposable toric lenses, blocking up to 82 percent UVA and 97 percent UVB rays.
We speak to Loh to find out more astigmatism.
What are some of the symptoms of astigmatism?
“The most obvious ones would be seeing halos and glares at night, as well as blurred vision at all distances. Left uncorrected, you may also experience side effects, such as eye strain and headaches.”
Astigmatism is typically hereditary. Does it get worse over time?
“No. Like myopia, it should stabilise after a while. Of course, when we are well in our golden years, our vision health changes again – but that’s for another story.”
What are some of the common misconceptions about astigmatism?
“A lot of people mistake astigmatism for myopia – the latter is short-sightedness, while astigmatism results in blurred vision at all distances. Because of this misconception, they unknowingly increase their myopia power in the hope of getting a clearer, sharper vision. Unfortunately, doing so may actually worse their symptoms, rather than correcting their astigmatism.
It’s also not possible to improve astigmatism by implementing lifestyle changes, such as doing certain eye exercises. Astigmatism can be easily corrected, but it cannot be improved or prevented.”
So how can astigmatism be corrected?
“Astigmatism can be corrected by glasses, lenses, or refractive surgery. Since refractive surgery is an invasive treatment, glasses and lenses are still the more popular options.”
Would an astigmat’s condition worsen if he/she wears regular lenses instead or toric ones?
“There wouldn’t be any permanent damage, but he or she will suffer from compromised vision, as well as side effects like headaches and eye strain.”
According to the study, 44 percent of respondents say their eye care professional has never recommended toric lenses to them. Why is that so?
“Some eye care professionals might assume consumers aren’t willing to pay a little extra for the toric lenses. Also, before, there wasn’t a wide range of toric lenses available yet. It’s only in the past two years that the awareness for toric lenses is raised.”
One box of 1-Day Acuvue Moist for Astigmatism (30 pieces) retails at $69. For more information on JJVC’s “Beat the Blur with Healthy Eyes” campaign and sign up for a five-day consecutive trial of 1-Day Acuvue Moist for Astigmatism, click here.
About The Author: A founder of Material World, Tan Lili has previously worked in magazines The Singapore Women’s Weekly and Cosmopolitan Singapore, as well as herworld.com (now herworldplus.com, the online counterpart of Her World). She is now a freelance writer who works on this website full-time. Lili hopes to travel the world, work with wild animals, and discover more awesome Twilight fan-fiction. Follow her on Twitter @TanLiliTweets.
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