Astigmatism is a vision disorder characterized by blurred vision. This article throws light on the diagnostic tests useful to detect astigmatism.
Astigmatism is a refractive error, usually present at birth, and is characterized by an imperfection that occurs in the curvature of the eyes. It becomes worse when joined by nearsightedness or farsightedness. For a perfectly clear vision, the cornea and the lens must have an even and smooth curvature. However, if the curvature is distorted, then the light rays do not get refracted in the right manner to focus a clear image on the back of the eyes (retina). In astigmatism, the curvature of the cornea or lens is more steep in one direction.
The common signs and symptoms include
- Blurred vision (the classic symptom of astigmatism)
- Headaches (which again, may be a result of eye strain)
- Distorted vision
However, the condition is mild and easily treatable using corrective lenses and surgery.
Diagnosis and Test for Astigmatism
Although there are various online tests to diagnose astigmatism, nothing can replace the test performed by a professional. There are two standard ways of testing for astigmatism, The first one involves the use of a device known as keratometer or ophthalmometer. The doctor uses this instrument to determine the curvature of the anterior surface of the cornea. This way, the reflected light from the surface of the cornea can be measured, thus determining the amount and orientation of corneal astigmatism in children and adults.
The second method includes the use of two devices: keratoscope and videokeratoscope. The former device throws or projects rings on the cornea. Now, the light that gets reflected from the cornea, is brought under observation with the help of this device. Also, the shape and spacing of the rings are observed. The data obtained is used to determine the degree or severity of astigmatism. The videokeratoscope, is nothing but a keratoscope that is fitted with a video camera, and produces a color-coded three-dimensional picture of the cornea.
Apart from these, the condition can also be diagnosed with the help of an astigmatism test chart. The results may be given to you on the spot, or the day after, depending on the individual clinic.
The treatment for astigmatism includes the use of eyeglasses, or corrective lenses (known as astigmatism contacts), which are considered to be more comfortable. Most people also opt for corrective surgery to reshape the curvature of the eye. The surgical options available include laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK surgery), photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), and laser-assisted subepithelial keratomileusis (LASEK). Whatever treatment method you chose, it is recommended to discuss it with the appropriate professional. This would give you a better idea about the expectations from the treatment, the risks involved, as well as the expenses.
It is important to understand that rather than undergoing an online test for astigmatism, professional consultation must be sought. This would not only provide accurate diagnosis, but also help to detect additional problems, if any.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.