IN THIS ARTICLE
In an eye with astigmatism, vision is blurred due to the inability of the optical elements of the eye to focus a point object into a sharply focused image on the retina. Astigmatism makes it difficult to see fine details, both close-up or at a distance. Small amounts of astigmatism may not be noticed at all. Other astigmatism symptoms and signs are eyestrain, eye fatigue, squinting, or headaches in addition to blurring and distortion of vision at all distances.
Exams and Tests
The diagnosis of astigmatism is easily made during the course of a complete eye examination.
Astigmatism is detected by your eye doctor (ophthalmologist) by either checking your need for glasses (refraction) or actually measuring the curvature of the front of the cornea by using a keratometer or corneal topographer.
Many patients with mild astigmatism have no symptoms from this and require no treatment. If there is regular astigmatism and it causes blurred vision, the astigmatism can be compensated for satisfactorily with eyeglasses or contact lenses. If myopia or hyperopia are also present, the glasses or contact lenses can also correct that condition. If the astigmatism is irregular or of a high degree, glasses or a soft contact lens may not fully correct the astigmatism and a hard contact lens may be necessary to allow the eye to see normally. Neither glasses nor contact lenses permanently correct the curvature abnormality. Modern refractive surgery, which reshapes the surface of the eye with a laser, can also be used to reduce or eliminate the astigmatism. Various considerations involving ocular health, refractive status, and lifestyle frequently determine whether one option may be better than another.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/29/2014
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