Around your iris and pupil is your cornea, which is, under perfect circumstances, round. As light enters the eye from all angles, the cornea's job is to project that light, aiming it toward the retina, which is in the rear part of your eye. But what is the result if the cornea isn't perfectly spherical? The eye is not able to project the light correctly on a single focal point on your retina's surface, and your sight becomes blurred. Such a situation is referred to as astigmatism.
Many individuals have astigmatism and the condition usually comes with other vision problems like nearsightedness or farsightedness. It oftentimes appears during childhood and often causes eye fatigue, headaches and squinting when uncorrected. In kids, it may cause difficulty in the classroom, especially with reading or other visual tasks. People working with particularly small or detailed objects or at a computer for excessive lengths might experience more difficulty with astigmatism.
Astigmatism is detected by a routine eye test with an eye care professional and afterwards properly diagnosed with an automated refraction or a retinoscopy exam, which checks the degree of astigmatism. The condition is easily corrected by contact lenses or eyeglasses, for those who prefer a non-invasive procedure, or refractive surgery, which alters the way that light enters the eye, allowing your retina to receive the light properly.
For contact lenses, the patient might be given toric lenses, which allow the light to bend more in one direction than another. Regular contact lenses shift each time you close your eyes, even just to blink. With astigmatism, the smallest movement can completely blur your sight. After you blink, toric lenses return to the same position on your eye to avoid this problem. You can find toric lenses in soft or rigid varieties, to be chosen depending on what is more comfortable for you.
Astigmatism may also be rectified using laser surgery, or by orthokeratology (Ortho-K), a non-surgical procedure that involves the use of rigid lenses to slowly reshape the cornea over night. It's advisable to explore options with your optometrist to determine what your best option might be.
For help demonstrating the effects of astigmatism to young, small children, show them a circular teaspoon and an oval teaspoon. In the round spoon, their reflection will appear regular. In the oval spoon, they will be stretched. This is what astigmatism means for your eye; those affected end up seeing everything stretched out a bit.
A person's astigmatism can get better or worse gradually, so make sure that you are regularly visiting your optometrist for a comprehensive exam. Additionally, be sure you have your children's eyes checked before they begin school. A considerable amount of your child's schooling (and playing) is predominantly a function of their vision. You can help your child make the best of his or her schooling with a comprehensive eye exam, which will help detect any visual abnormalities before they begin to impact schooling, athletics, or other activities. It's important to know that astigmatism is very treatable, and that the earlier to you begin to treat it, the better off your child will be.