Astigmatism is one of the most common eye disorders, in which the curvature of the eye is distorted, causing the patient’s vision to be blurred. Patients with astigmatism are unable to see clearly from all distances. A normal eye is curved just enough to refract the incoming light, and focus on both distant and near objects. In astigmatism, the eye is not completely round, but instead, adopts an oblique shape, like a football or the back of a spoon. This causes an abnormality in the process of refraction, leading to light being refracted more in one direction, due to which only part of the object is focused.
Every person suffers from some degree of astigmatism. It is a naturally-occurring disorder, and has no specific cause. Some people are born with astigmatism, while some develop it later, along with near-sightedness or far-sightedness. It is also believed to arise as a result of certain eye surgeries.
- Blurred vision
- Eye strain
Astigmatism is easily diagnosed by a regular eye examination. Eye doctor conducts a refraction test to diagnose the disease. No special examinations are required. Children or patients with special needs who are unable to respond to a refraction test can undergo a special examination that examines the refraction with the help of reflected light. This procedure is referred to as retinoscopy. The disorder usually remains undiagnosed in school-going children. This can be avoided by conducting regular eye examinations and encouraging children to report any abnormality in their vision.
Before beginning treatment for astigmatism, all underlying disorders like cataracts, retinitis, corneal scars etc. must be treated. The disorder can then easily be treated by using contact lenses or eye glasses. Special lenses known as ‘toric lenses’ are used in the treatment of astigmatism. These lenses have the ability of bending light more in one direction, which helps to cure the disorder.
While an optometrist is trained to diagnose the disease and provide contact lenses or eye glasses to correct vision, an ophthalmologist can carry out a surgical procedure to cure the disease completely. This is done by refractive surgery, commonly referred to as ‘laser treatment’. The surgery is performed after taking into consideration the needs of the individual, and after ensuring that the vision has reached a stable point and is no longer deteriorating. If left untreated, astigmatism in one eye may result in ‘amblyopia’ or ‘lazy eye’.
To know more about Astigmatism, visit us at Killeen Eyecare Center 416, North Gray Street, Killeen, TX 76541, and Downtown Killeen. You can also call us at 254- 634- 7805.
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