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What is Astigmatism, and How is it Treated?

Posted by Eye Specialists of Louisiana on Mon, Jul 16, 2018 @ 05:08 PM

astigmatism testDo you feel as though your vision is blurry from all distances? Do you find your self suffering from eye strains and headaches when reading or watching television for a prolonged period? If so, you may be one of the millions of Americans who have astigmatism.

Astigmatism is not an eye disease, but an error in the way that the eyes refract light. These refractive errors are caused by imperfections in the round shape of the cornea, or the lens inside of the eye. Ideally, these parts are perfectly round and symmetrical.  However, for people with astigmatism, their curvature is misshapen.  Instead of a perfectly round cornea and/or lens, these structures are more oval or “football-shaped.”  This results in an eye with essentially two different refractive errors (i.e. glasses prescriptions).  One along the long axis of the football, and one along the short axis.   

Three Types of Astigmatism.

Astigmatism affects different patients in different ways and may appear in any of the following forms:

  • Myopic- Both of the two refractive errors are near sighted. This results in blurry distance vision and better vision up close.  But unlike a nearsighted person without astigmatism, even near objects are not perfectly clear because of the irregular eye shape.
  • Hyperopic- The two errors of the eye are farsighted. This will make objects closer to the eyes appear blurry. Far away objects will look better than close objects, but still not crisp and clear.
  • Mixed- One axis of astigmatism is nearsighted and one is farsighted. This results in vision that is not particularly better at any certain distance, and is not very clear overall.

Diagnosis of Astigmatism

Diagnosing astigmatism is very simple and may be accomplished using a number of different tests.  These include:

  • Vision Test – You will be asked to read letters off of a chart from 20 feet away.
  • Refraction – You will look at the chart through a series of different lenses, telling your doctor which ones appear clear or blurry.
  • Keratometry – Your doctor will use a machine to measure the degree of bend in the center of your cornea.
  • Corneal Topography – You will focus on a specific point as a computer collects measurements of your cornea, producing a detailed map.

Treatment for Astigmatism

Astigmatism is very common, and there are a variety of ways to treat it. For many, it is as simple as choosing glasses or contact lenses to improve blurred vision, while LASIK surgery is also gaining popularity as another corrective option. Through this procedure, a laser is used to reshape the eye’s cornea to an appropriate curvature, thereby correcting associated refractive errors and astigmatism.

No matter what route you choose to correct your vision, Eye Specialists of Louisiana has a highly-trained staff who are dedicated to helping improve your vision. If you are suffering from blurred eyesight due to astigmatism, scheduling an eye exam is the first step to correct the problem. Contact us today, and schedule a consultation with an ophthalmologist to determine what treatment options are best suited to address your vision problems.

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