Astigmatism is known as a refractive error and is one of the most common vision problems. The majority of patients have some degree of astigmatism. This condition can occur when the cornea has an irregularshape or there is an imperfection of the curvature of the lens inside the eyes. Due to one of these irregularities, light cannot focus properly on the retina. Astigmatism causes blurred vision at any distance and can lead to eye discomfort or headaches if not taken care of.
Going to your Optometrist annually becomes even more important to catch eye conditions such as astigmatism. You will find that astigmatism frequently occurs with other refractive errors such as nearsightedness and farsightedness. Your Optometrist will perform a comprehensive eye examination that will consist of astigmatism testing. The testing will measure how the eyes focus light and define the power of any prescription lenses that are needed to improve your vision. Optometrists can implement one of the following tests to diagnose your vision:
- Visual acuity – using a chart at a distance to read letters, typically this chart is calibrated for a distance of 20 feet for best results.
- Keratometry – a keratometer is an instrument that is used to measure the curvature of the cornea by focusing on a circle of light. This measurement is critical when discovering the right fit for your prescriptive contact lenses.
- Refraction – a phoropter can be used as the primary device to place a variety of lenses in front of your eyes to measure how your eyes focus light. Based on your feedback, the Optometrist can determine the best lenses for your vision needs.
If you are experiencing one of the following symptoms you could have astigmatism in one or both of your eyes:
- distorted vision for objects that are near or far
- squinting to see clearly
- eyestrain or headaches
- difficulty driving at night
- eye discomfort
Always be aware of any changes in your vision and see your Optometrist yearly to detect vision conditions.
Astigmatism can be treated with prescription eyeglasses or contacts to improve your vision by modifying the way light enters your eyes. If you have only a slight amount of astigmatism and wear contact lenses, sometimes no treatment is required.