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Visual acuity test
Visual acuity test


Definition:

Astigmatism is an eye disorder in which the cornea (the clear tissue covering the front of the eye) is abnormally curved, causing out-of-focus vision.



Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

The cause of astigmatism is unknown. It is usually present from birth, and often occurs together with nearsightedness or farsightedness . A minor degree of astigmatism is considered normal and does not require correction. Astigmatism is very common.



Symptoms:

An astigmatism makes it difficult to see fine details, either close-up or from a distance.



Signs and tests:

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:

Glasses or hard contact lenses will correct astigmatism. Soft contact lenses do not work as well.

Severe astigmatism can be treated with surgery.



Support Groups:



Expectations (prognosis):

Vision is usually normal with the correct glasses or contact lenses.



Complications:

Astigmatism in only one eye may cause amblyopia .



Calling your health care provider:

Call for an appointment with the health care provider or ophthalmologist if vision problems worsen, or do not improve with glasses or contact lenses.



Prevention:




Review Date: 7/28/2008
Reviewed By: Manju Subramanian, MD, Assistant Professor in Ophthalmology, Vitreoretinal Disease and Surgery, Boston University Eye Associates, Boston, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
789 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 742-5252
Toll free: 1 (877) 201-7100