What is Astigmatism?
November 4, 2013
Your eyes have many anatomical components, and it takes very little for a small problem involving one of those components to cause vision issues. Astigmatism is a word you may have heard your doctor of optometry mention, but you may not know much about it.
The cornea of your eye is the clear front surface. It acts as the window that passes and directs light into your eye so you can receive information about images and objects. The cornea is curved in a specific way so that light can be successfully pointed into your pupil and retina, and it does not have the ability to adjust its position. Astigmatism is diagnosed when the lens of the eye or the cornea’s curve is not “normal.” It may be flatter than it should be, more conical or round, or irregular. Astigmatism may be inherited or occur from an injury, but for many people it is present from infancy.
What Does it Do?
Astigmatism alters the way light and image information is directed into your eye. The effects of astigmatism are called a refractive error, which means the light entering your eye is not properly focused. The result is a blurry image received and transmitted into your brain for interpretation. People with astigmatism often report headaches and eyestrain to their doctor of optometry, but it is otherwise painless. Frequently, others will observe an astigmatism patient squinting excessively.
Diagnosing and Correcting Astigmatism
Your eye doctor has a few ways of identifying astigmatism. A traditional eye chart is a very basic method, but today’s optometry techniques are very advanced and generally involve high-tech machinery. Keratometers and keratoscopes are two commonly used tools in this process. Astigmatism can be improved through use of certain contact lenses or laser eye surgery, though your degree of astigmatism would dictate how aggressive treatment would need to be.
Astigmatism is a very common eye abnormality that is usually easily corrected by your optometry specialist. Talk to your eye doctor today about this common condition.