Astigmatism is a medical condition affecting sight. The abnormal curvature of the eye causes light to fall unevenly on the retina resulting in a distorted vision at all distances. Astigmatism diagnosis becomes a priority when a child enters school but has problems reading a board or a book or a digital screen. This is one of the many reasons you should go to the eye specialist doctor regularly.
Why Astigmatism Diagnosis Is So Important
We take information in through our eyes. If what we see is unclear, then we are a great disadvantage when it comes to learning and communicating digitally. If we also cannot identify a person at a distance, people may conclude we are slow-witted.
Imagine how this could set your child’s development back. If you have not yet taken your child to an optometrist for an eye examination including an astigmatism diagnosis, then we urge you to make this a priority. Astigmatism is correctable with three methods: wearing glasses, contact lenses, and surgery.
Possible Causes and Symptoms of Astigmatism
We do not really know how astigmatism develops, although since it tends to run in families genetic factors probably play a role. Other indicators indicating an astigmatism diagnosis may include eyestrain, squinting, headaches, migraines, and difficulty driving at night.
However, not all people with astigmatism have these additional symptoms. Thus, the primary indicator is trouble reading. While astigmatism may be present at birth, it often develops (or becomes evident) at junior school. An astigmatism diagnosis may be the only way of breaking the cycle of simply putting up with it as ‘normal’.
What Happens at an Astigmatism Diagnosis Test?
Children should have screening done once a year, because their vision may become progressively blurry as the condition develops. A school nurse is often able to do basic testing, after which an optometrist should investigate any concerns identified. A professional astigmatism diagnosis includes:
- A Snellen or other eye chart to screen for reduced visual acuity
- Using a keratometer to measure the profile of the corneal surface
- Advanced corneal topography, auto refractory, or retinoscopy testing
Astigmatism is one of the most common vision problems in kids. Approximately three out of ten American children aged 5 to 17 will test positive during astigmatism diagnosis. If your child is a slow learner, there is hence a 30% chance they have myopic astigmatism (nearsightedness), hyperopic astigmatism (farsightedness), or a blend of both.
Treatments Following a Positive Astigmatism Diagnosis
Once a person develops short or long sight, there is very little chance of it curing itself. Hence, the action is necessary unless the defect is very slight. Prescription spectacles adjust the angle light strikes the eye to ‘fool the brain’ into accepting that what it is seeing is real.
Contact lenses artificially reshape the lens to create an even curvature. Wearing contact lenses are more practical for active people, especially with teens, there may be a vanity factor too. However, neither glasses nor spectacles are permanent solutions because the underlying condition keeps evolving.
Laser eye surgery may be a permanent solution for a positive astigmatism diagnosis. The only way to be sure is to schedule an optometrist appointment to do a comprehensive eye examination. After that, you can decide with them what will be best for you or your child.