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What Is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a big word for a common condition. It’s diagnosed when your cornea, the transparent front part of your eye that refracts light, has an irregular shape, leading to problems with your vision.

A normal cornea is spherical. If you have astigmatism, it’s shaped more like a football. As a result, when light enters your eye, it scatters and causes blurred vision.

If you have astigmatism, the team at Valley Eye Professionals is available to help. We offer diagnosis and appropriate corrective eyewear, and even surgery, to get you clear, uncompromised vision. Read on to learn more about astigmatism and how it affects your eye-care needs.

How do you detect astigmatism?

We perform a comprehensive eye exam that includes testing for astigmatism and determining how your eye focuses light. These tests are relatively standard but contribute to a diagnosis of astigmatism.

Testing includes reading letters on a distance chart to measure visual acuity. You also undergo keratometry, which measures the curvature of your cornea. This test involves focusing a circle of light on your cornea to measure its reflection, giving your doctor the ability to determine the exact curvature of your cornea’s surface. Topography is another test that also provides a map of the corneas curvature and shape.

Refraction is measured using an instrument called a phoropter. The doctors place a series of lenses in front of your eyes, which helps them measure how you focus light. You provide input as to how you see with each lens to determine optimal corrective lenses.

What is the treatment?

We can easily correct astigmatism with eyeglasses or contact lenses. The team at Valley Eye Professionals works with you to create the right prescription and get you clear vision. When you clear up blurriness due to astigmatism, you notice a reduction in squinting, headaches, and eyestrain.

We have a wide variety of eyeglass styles to offer function and style. If you prefer contacts, we also offer a variety of wear options to give you a wide field of vision and clear sight.

Surgery can sometimes correct astigmatism. LASIK or photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) are ways to correct a misshapen cornea. They remove a small amount of lens tissue using a laser to make the front surface of your eye rounder so light refracts evenly and you see more clearly.

Refractive lens surgery may be an even better option for your case. This procedure involves replacing your existing lens with an artificial intraocular lens. Light transmits better to your retina and you achieve clearer, sharper vision.

Should I be worried if I have astigmatism?

Astigmatism is common — in fact, a perfectly formed cornea is a rare find. It has a genetic component and is present at birth, and you can’t do anything to cause astigmatism or prevent it.

The condition persists for your entire life and may gradually worsen over time. In most people, however, it remains stable. Don’t worry if you have astigmatism; it’s readily corrected and doesn’t lead to blindness.

If you’re suffering from blurred vision and strained eyesight, make an appointment at Valley Eye Professionals. Our expert team can help diagnose astigmatism or other vision issues and provide the treatments that help you achieve clear, unobstructed vision. Call our Studio City office in Los Angeles, or book online anytime.

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