Around your pupil and iris is your cornea, which is, under usual circumstances, spherical. As light hits the eye from all angles, the cornea's role is to project that light, aiming it toward your retina, which is in the anterior portion of your eye. But what is the result when the cornea is not perfectly spherical? The eye is not able to focus the light properly on one focal point on your retina's surface, and sight becomes blurred. This is referred to as astigmatism.
Many individuals have astigmatism and the condition usually accompanies other refractive issues that require vision correction. Astigmatism frequently appears early in life and can cause eye strain, headaches and the tendency to squint when uncorrected. With kids, it can cause challenges in the classroom, often with reading or other visual tasks. Anyone who works with particularly small or detailed objects or at a computer for extended periods of time might experience more difficulty with astigmatism.
Diagnosis of astigmatism starts with a routine eye test with an optometrist. Once detected, an automated refraction or a retinoscopy exam is performed to measure the severity of astigmatism. The condition is commonly tended to with contact lenses or eyeglasses, or refractive surgery, which changes the flow of light onto the retina to readjust the focal point.
Toric lenses are commonly prescribed for astigmatism because they allow the light to curve more in one direction than another. Standard contacts have a tendency to shift each time you close your eyes, even just to blink. With astigmatism, the most subtle eye movement can cause blurred sight. Toric lenses are able to return to the exact same position right after you blink. You can find toric contact lenses in soft or rigid lenses.
Astigmatism may also be fixed using laser surgery, or by orthokeratology (Ortho-K), a non-surgical procedure involving the use of hard contacts to gradually reshape the cornea. It's advisable to explore your options and alternatives with your eye doctor in order to decide what the best option might be.
Astigmatism can get better or worse over time, so make sure that you are regularly making appointments to see your eye doctor for a proper test. Also, make sure that your 'back-to-school' list includes a trip to an eye care professional. A considerable amount of your child's learning (and playing) is mostly a function of their vision. You can help your child make the best of his or her year with a thorough eye exam, which will help detect any visual irregularities before they affect schooling, play, or other extra-curricular activities. It's important to know that astigmatism is highly treatable, and that the sooner to you begin to treat it, the better off your child will be.