Eye exams are the key to lasting eye health. This is particularly true if you have diabetes because of the risk of diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and cataracts. Diabetic eye exams are recommended for early detection of these eye diseases. Read on to learn more about the importance of diabetic eye exams in preserving vision and…
Optometry: What Is Astigmatism?
You want to know if you should visit a Doctor of Optometry to treat your astigmatism. First, you need to know what astigmatism is and how an optometrist can help. Learn more about this refractive error and find out why a trip to the optometrist is so important. Then, schedule your appointment to get help with your astigmatism.
An overview of astigmatism
Astigmatism is diagnosed when the cornea is shaped irregularly, causing blurred vision. This condition can also be caused when the lens has an abnormal curvature. Cornea and lens abnormalities prevent light rays from refracting properly. People with astigmatism might see normally up close, but objects look blurry when at a distance. Find out how a doctor of optometry diagnoses and treats astigmatism.
Patients undergo a comprehensive eye exam when visiting the optometrist. The exam begins with a visual acuity test. Patients read letters at a distance to see how the eyes focus. Then, the optometrist uses a keratometer to examine the cornea’s curvature. Finally, the optometrist places lenses in the eyes and uses a retinoscope to see how the eye focuses. The results of these tests determine if patients have astigmatism.
Patients who have astigmatism can receive treatment from the optometrist. Several treatment options are available. Eyeglasses are the most common treatment. The glasses are fitted with cylindrical lenses that treat astigmatism. People who wear these glasses can see clearly both close up and far away. However, those who have presbyopia require bifocal lenses as well.
People can also get contact lenses to treat astigmatism. Standard contact lenses do not help with astigmatism, but people can get rigid gas permeable lenses. The rigid lenses do not change shape so they allow the light to enter the eyes normally. Toric and hybrid lenses are also an option.
Patients can also undergo orthokeratology. The optometrist will fit a series of rigid contact lenses in the eyes. The lenses are normally worn overnight and removed in the morning. The lenses reshape the cornea. This is not a cure for astigmatism. Once patients discontinue therapy, the effects of the astigmatism return.
Laser eye surgery is also an option. The optometrists can use lasers to reshape or remove tissue from the cornea. Unlike other methods, this is meant to be a permanent treatment. Once the laser surgery is over, astigmatism should be corrected. The vision should not be blurry. Those who have other refractive errors will still need glasses or contact lenses.
Visit a doctor of optometry for your astigmatism
If you have astigmatism, an optometrist will help. The optometrist will begin with a comprehensive eye exam to diagnose astigmatism. Then the doctor will determine your treatment plan. Your treatment might include glasses, eyeglasses or orthokeratology. If you want to eliminate astigmatism, you can consider laser eye surgery. Your optometrist will go over the pros and cons of each treatment and help you make a decision.
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