The first surface of the eye is a lens called the cornea, which covers the iris and pupil. If this lens is spherical (like a basketball) there is no astigmatism. In an eye with astigmatism the cornea is a toric lens (like an American football) causing light to focus at different distances from the retina. The neural tissue transmits light through the optic nerve to the brain, resulting in the images we call vision.
Many individuals have astigmatism. The condition usually comes with other vision problems that require vision correction like nearsightedness (myopia) and farsightedness (hyperopia). It frequently starts during childhood and can cause eye fatigue, headaches and the tendency to squint when left uncorrected. In kids, it may cause difficulty at school, particularly with visual skills such as reading or writing. People working with particularly small or detailed objects or at a computer may find that it can be problematic.
Astigmatism is detected by a refraction during your yearly eye examination Astigmatism can be corrected with glasses, contact lenses and even refractive surgery like LASIK. Even patients who have had difficulty wearing contact lenses due to astigmatism in the past can now have good vision with contact lenses. Daily disposable contacts, which are great for convenience and the health of the eyes are now available for the correction of astigmatism.
The doctors at Duvall Advanced Family EyeCare offer Gentle Vision Shaping, a technique using lenses worn overnight to correct nearsightedness and astigmatism allowing our patients to be free of glasses and contact lenses during the day.
Everyone should have a yearly eye exam. Be sure your 'back-to-school' checklist includes a trip to your eye doctor. The majority of your child's learning and playing is a function of their vision. You'll help your child make the best of his or her schooling with a full eye exam, which will help diagnose any need for glasses or eye coordination problems before they begin to impact education, play, or other extra-curricular activities.