What Is Astigmatism?
Astigmatism occurs when the cornea, or the front part of the eyeball, is slightly irregularly shaped. When your corneas are not perfectly rounded and/or, light does not correctly reflect onto the retina at the back of the eye. Instead, light focuses slightly in front of or behind the retina, causing minor vision problems. This may also occur if the lens of the eye is not curved properly, leading to light distortions.
The primary symptom of astigmatism is blurred vision. Unlike near- or farsightedness, this blurring of vision occurs at any distance because of the eye’s focusing error. Although many people have astigmatism, it can vary in degree of severity. Slight astigmatism may not cause significant vision problems, while moderate or severe astigmatism typically requires treatment.
Astigmatism Eye Diagnosis & Treatment in Levittown
Astigmatism can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye examination offered through our clinic. Many of the tests for astigmatism will be familiar to those who have had a regular vision exam from an optometrist. First, our optometrist will test visual acuity by asking you to read letters from a standard distance. The doctor will also use an instrument called a keratometer, which focuses light on the cornea of the eye. By measuring the reflection of light off of the cornea, our optometrist can accurately measure the curvature of the corneal surface, which indicates possible astigmatism. Finally, the doctor may use an instrument called a phoropter, in which a series of lenses are placed in front of your eye to measure how they focus light. The optometrist will refine the power of the lens to find the perfect match for your vision needs.
Perhaps the most popular treatment options for astigmatism are glasses and contact lenses. Like a prescription for nearsightedness or farsightedness, the degree of your astigmatism can be corrected using these lenses. Glasses and contact lenses are appropriate for people of all ages and can correct mild to moderate levels of astigmatism.
Another option for astigmatism treatment is orthokeratology, also called Ortho-K. In this procedure, your doctor will fit a series of rigid contact lenses worn for a prescribed amount of time each day (often overnight). Similarly to using braces to correct crooked teeth, these rigid lenses reshape the cornea of the eye. Astigmatism may also be corrected through laser surgery, which physically reshapes the surface of the cornea using a high-powered laser. Many people undergoing laser surgery choose to correct nearsightedness or farsightedness in addition to astigmatism.
If you suspect that you may have astigmatism, contact our NY clinic today to schedule a comprehensive eye examination and receive treatment recommendations.
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