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Not Nearsighted or Farsighted, but Seeing Everything Blurry?

Eye Exams Winchester VAUsually, when people begin to notice changes to their vision, it involves slight blurriness up close or far away. They cannot make out labels like they used to; street signs are harder to read. What if the problem is both? If you have difficulty seeing the print of magazines and reading street signs, it could be because you have astigmatism. Not to worry, your eye doctor in Winchester, VA has ways to resolve this issue.

Not nearsightedness or farsightedness: what is astigmatism?

Astigmatism is like both nearsightedness and farsightedness in that it is a refractive error; it occurs because the light that is entering the eye is distorted on its way to the retina at the back of the eye. This distortion means that a clear image cannot be formed. The reason for distortion in astigmatism is that the cornea has lost its spherical shape.

You may have heard of astigmatism before. Most people who have assumed that this loss of shape means that the cornea is shaped more like a football than, say, a baseball. However, this is just one way that shape can shift. When the cornea is oblong, we refer to it as regular astigmatism. It is also possible for irregular astigmatism to occur, in which there is no symmetry to the distorted shape of the cornea.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Astigmatism

It is important to note that, if your vision becomes suddenly and severely blurry, you need to obtain medical care right away. This is not a normal symptom of astigmatism. When blurriness is mild, and as described in our opening (labels and street signs), a routine eye exam can be conducted to observe the shape and condition of the cornea. One way we assess shape is by observing how like passes through through the eye. This is a simple screening using a retinoscope. Further testing, such as corneal topography, may be performed to better observe corneal shape through imaging.

Once we know what type of astigmatism has developed, we can develop a suitable treatment plan. Regular astigmatism is commonly treated with LASIK or PRK laser surgery to correct the refractive error. Currently, the treatment for irregular astigmatism involves wearing a contact lens that is rigid, or hard. This constant shape of the contact lens forces a natural influx of natural tear film into the area of distortion, thus correcting the refractive error. Astigmatism that occurs along with cataracts may be corrected with lens replacement.

The best way to stay on top of your vision and eye health is to schedule routine exams. Contact Shenandoah LASIK & Cataract Center at 540-722-6200.

Posted in: Eye Health

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