Surrounding your pupil and iris is your cornea, which is, under usual conditions, round. As light enters your eye, part of the role of your cornea is to help focus that light, aiming it toward your retina, right in the anterior portion of your eye. What is the result if the cornea is not exactly spherical? The eye is not able to project the light properly on one focus on your retina, and will cause your vision to be blurred. This is referred to as astigmatism.
Astigmatism is actually not a rare vision problem, and frequently accompanies other vision errors like nearsightedness or farsightedness. Astigmatism oftentimes occurs during childhood and can cause eye strain, headaches and squinting when left untreated. In children, it can lead to challenges in the classroom, especially when it comes to reading or other visual tasks like drawing and writing. Sufferers who work with particularly small or detailed objects or at a computer monitor for extended periods might experience more difficulty with astigmatism.
Astigmatism can be preliminarily diagnosed by a routine eye test with an eye care professional and afterwards fully diagnosed with either an automated refraction or a retinoscopy test, which checks the degree of astigmatism. Astigmatism is easily corrected with contact lenses or eyeglasses, or refractive surgery, which changes the flow of light onto the retina to readjust the focal point.
For contacts, the patient might be prescribed toric lenses, which control the way the light bends when it enters the eye. Regular contacts have a tendency to move each time you blink. With astigmatism, the most subtle eye movement can cause blurred sight. Toric lenses are able to return to the exact same position immediately after you blink. You can find toric contact lenses as soft or rigid varieties, to be chosen depending on what is more comfortable for you.
Astigmatism may also be corrected with laser surgery, or by orthokeratology (Ortho-K), a non-surgical alternative that involves the use of special hard contacts to gradually change the shape of the cornea during the night. It's advisable to explore your options with your optometrist in order to determine what your best choice is for your needs.
When demonstrating the effects of astigmatism to children, it can be useful for them look at the backside of two teaspoons – one round and one oval. In the round spoon, an mirror image appears regular. In the oval spoon, their face will be skewed. And this is what astigmatism means for your eye; you end up seeing the world stretched out a bit.
A person's astigmatism evolves gradually, so be sure that you're frequently seeing your optometrist for a proper exam. Also, be sure that your 'back-to-school' checklist includes a trip to an optometrist. The majority of your child's education (and playing) is mostly a function of their vision. You'll allow your child make the best of his or her year with a comprehensive eye exam, which will diagnose any visual irregularities before they impact schooling, sports, or other extra-curricular activities. It's important to know that astigmatism is highly treatable, and that the sooner to you seek to treat it, the better off your child will be.