When you look at your eyes, they appear round at first glance. But many eyes aren’t round. Instead, in the case of astigmatism, your cornea is an irregular shape.
With an irregularly shaped cornea, seeing becomes more difficult. If you have astigmatism, it means that your cornea is shaped like a football, instead of like a basketball.
What is astigmatism?
Astigmatism is a common eye condition that affects millions of people. With astigmatism, one of the most frequent symptoms seen is having blurry vision.
If you have astigmatism, your cornea isn’t shaped optimally. When the cornea is round, light can refract properly on the retina. Once light refracts through the retina, it is sent on to the brain, where it’s translated into the images that we see.
With astigmatism, this process doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to. Instead of the light refracting at one point on the retina, the light refracts to many points.
Since light is not refracting to one point, vision becomes obscured or blurry. With astigmatism, this can happen at any distance, near or far.
Being diagnosed with astigmatism
Blurry vision is pretty easy to notice. But you still need a diagnosis if you do have astigmatism. Your eye doctor at The Medical Eye Center will conduct a comprehensive eye exam.
During this eye exam, you will undergo several tests, including:
This is one of the most recognized tests during an eye exam. You will be asked to look at letters on a distance chart.
You will then read off the line of letters and numbers that is the smallest that you can see. This test gives your ophthalmologist a better idea of your visual acuity.
With keratometry, an instrument called a keratometer will measure your cornea’s curvature. This is an important aspect of determining your prescription if you have astigmatism.
The keratometer focuses a small circle of light on the cornea and is then reflected back. Determining keratometry is a key part of making sure contact lenses fit well.
Many patients with astigmatism also have other refractive errors. If you’re unable to see with astigmatism, you can wear glasses or contacts.
These are the two most common solutions for dealing with refractive errors. Keep in mind that glasses and contacts are temporary solutions when correcting vision.
If you want permanent results, you’ll have to undergo a procedure like LASIK.
With LASIK, the irregularly shaped cornea gets reshaped. Instead of having a football-shaped cornea, you have a basketball shaped cornea.
What does this do? It corrects your vision, leaving you with the ability to see clearly without needing glasses or contacts!
Am I still a LASIK candidate if I have Astigmatism?
If you have astigmatism, you may wonder if vision correction procedures are available. Until the onset of bladeless LASIK, patients with astigmatism couldn’t get LASIK.
But now that LASIK is performed with an excimer laser and a microkeratome laser, it’s possible!
Like any procedure, LASIK is not right for everyone. This also includes some patients with astigmatism.
If you have astigmatism and want LASIK, you need to have a less severe prescription. The only way to know for sure if you’re a candidate for LASIK is to undergo a LASIK consultation.
Want more information about astigmatism and refractive errors? Schedule an appointment at The Medical Eye Center in Manchester, New Hampshire today!