Astigmatism: Description:A lens or optical system having different refractivity in different meridians.Terminology related with astigmatismAstigmatism against the rule, astigmatism of oblique pencils, astigmatism with the rule, compound hyperopic astigmatism, compound myopic, corneal, hyperopic, irregular, lenticular, mixed, myopic, regular, simple hyperopic and simple myopic astigmatism.ICD-9-CM: 367.20.Astigmatism is a vision condition that causes blurred vision due either to the irregular shape of the cornea, the clear front cover of the eye, or sometimes the curvature of the lens inside the eye. An irregular shaped cornea or lens prevents light from focusing properly on the retina, the light sensitive surface at the back of the eye. As a result, vision becomes blurred at any distance.Most people have some degree of this disease. Slight amounts of astigmatism usually don't affect vision and do not require treatment. However, larger amounts cause distorted or blurred vision, eye discomfort and headaches.Symptoms and signs:This disease frequently occurs with other vision conditions like nearsightedness (myopia) and farsightedness (hyperopia). Together these vision conditions are referred to as refractive errors because they affect how the eyes bend or "refract" light.Causes and Risk Factors:The specific cause of this disease is unknown. It can be hereditary and is usually present from birth. It can change as a child grows and may decrease or worsen over time.Astigmatism occurs due to the irregular shape of the cornea or the lens inside the eye. The cornea and lens are primarily responsible for properly focusing light entering your eyes allowing you to see things clearly.The curvature of the cornea and lens causes light entering the eye to be bent in order to focus it precisely on the retina at the back of the eye. In astigmatism, the surface of the cornea or lens has a somewhat different curvature in one direction than another. In the case of the cornea, instead of having a round shape like a basketball, the surface of the cornea is more like a football. As a result, the eye is unable to focus light rays to a single point causing vision to be out of focus at any distance.Sometimes this disease may develop following an eye injury or eye surgery. There is also a relatively rare condition called keratoconus where the cornea becomes progressively thinner and cone shaped. This results in a large amount of this disease resulting in poor vision that cannot be clearly corrected with spectacles. Keratoconus usually requires contact lenses for clear vision, and it may eventually progress to a point where a corneal transplant is necessary.Diagnosis:Astigmatism is easily diagnosed by a standard ophthalmic exam with refraction test. Special tests are not usually required. Children or others who cannot respond to questions can have the degree of their vision problem measured by a test that uses reflected light (retinoscopy).Treatment Options:Persons with this disease have several options available to regain clear vision. They include:Eyeglasses.
Another option for treating this disease uses a corneal modification procedure called orthokeratology. It is a painless, non-invasive procedure that involves wearing a series of specially designed rigid contact lenses to gradually reshape the curvature of the cornea.Laser surgery is also a possible treatment option for some types of this disease. It changes the shape of the cornea by removing a small amount of eye tissue. This is done using a highly focused laser beam on the surface of the eye.DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.
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