Astigmatism is a condition which occurs when the cornea is irregularly shaped or occasionally, due to the curvature of the lens in the eye. The cornea is the transparent layer of a tissue which is at the front of the eye. The normal cornea is regularly curved like the surface of football, but in astigmatism it is irregularly curved. So, light rays entering the eye won't focus properly on the retina, and thereby creating a blurred image. This may lead to discomfort in the eyes, and headaches. Slight astigmatism generally doesn't affect the vision and may not require any treatment.
Astigmatism may also occur because of a relatively rare condition known as keratoconus in which the cornea bulges forwards more than normal. It may gradually become thinner and cone shaped. This may results in a large amount of astigmatism, which will cause poor vision which may not be clearly corrected with the help of eyeglasses. People with keratoconus generally require contact lenses for the clear vision. Some of these patients may need a corneal transplant.
What symptoms will you have?
People with undetected astigmatism often have blurred vision which can be associated with fatigue and eyestrain and headaches. While these symptoms may not necessarily be the result of astigmatism, you should schedule an eye exam if you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms
Most of the people who are suffering from astigmatism are born with this condition, so it's essential that your children should have regular eye tests. If vision isn’t regularly tested, conditions like astigmatism may remain undiagnosed for many years, which may cause a lazy eye.
What tests will the doctor perform?
A simple eye testcan evaluate your or your child's ability to focus on the objects which are at different distances. It generally includes reading letters on the chart known as Snellen chart. The letters will become gradually smaller on each line of the chart. The doctor may then use eye drops to dilate your eyes to get more accurate results of vision testing. In this case a final test is done a few days later to get accurate eye power. A device which is called as keratometer will be used to measure the degree of corneal astigmatism.
Almost all degrees of the astigmatism will be corrected with accurately prescribed spectacles or contact lenses.
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