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What You Want to Know About Astigmatism

Around your pupil and iris is your cornea, which is, under usual conditions, spherical. As light enters your eye, the cornea's job is to focus that light, directing it to your retina, right in the back of your eye. But what does it mean if the cornea, or the crystalline lens, is not perfectly spherical? The eye can't focus the light properly on a single focus on your retina, and will blur your vision. This is known as astigmatism.

Astigmatism is a fairly common diagnosis, and mostly comes with other vision issues that require vision correction. Astigmatism can occur at any age and can cause eye fatigue, headaches and the tendency to squint when uncorrected. In kids, it can cause difficulty in the classroom, especially when it comes to reading, or other visual tasks. Anyone who works with fine details or at a computer for extended lengths of time might experience more difficulty with astigmatism.

Diagnosis of astigmatism starts with an eye test with an optometrist. Once detected, refraction, retinoscopy and keratometry tests are performed to measure the amount of astigmatism. Astigmatism is commonly fixed by contact lenses or glasses, or refractive surgery, which changes the flow of light onto the retina to readjust the focal point.

With contacts, the patient is usually prescribed toric lenses, which allow the light to curve more in one direction than another. Regular softcontacts mold to the same shape as the cornea so they will create split focal points rather than one sharp focal point. Toric lenses have different lens powers to compensate for the "football-shaped" corneal curvature to avoid this problem. Rigid contact lenses are a perfect spherical surface, so they also compensate for any corneal distortion.

In some cases, astigmatism can also be corrected using laser surgery, or by orthokeratology (Ortho-K), a non-surgical alternative involving wearing rigid lenses to slowly change the shape of the cornea over night. It's advisable to discuss options and alternatives with your optometristto determine what the best choice might be.

A person's astigmatism can get better or worse over time, so make sure that you are frequently visiting your eye doctor for a proper test. Also, make sure that your 'back-to-school' list includes a trip to an eye care professional. Most of your child's learning (and playing) is largely a function of their vision. You'll allow your child make the best of his or her year with a comprehensive eye exam, which will diagnose any visual irregularities before they impact schooling, sports, or other extra-curricular activities. It's important to know that astigmatism is highly treatable, and that the earlier to you seek to treat it, the better off your child will be.

Thank you for trusting your eyecare with us over the years.  The Foresight Eyecare team follows the government mandate to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.  After December 2020 announcements made by the Alberta Government, our clinic is following the revised Infection Prevention and Control policy by the Alberta College of Optometrists.

Patients interested in obtaining eye exam services or eye care products can be seen by appointment only.  Please call ahead, and staff will arrange an appointment time and ask COVID-19 screening questions.  If you have any symptoms of cough, fever, runny nose or shortness of breath, we ask that you call or e-mail us and do not attend the clinic for your scheduled visit.   Within the clinic, please wear a mask and use the hand sanitizer at reception.  Our clinic complies with the City of Calgary bylaw requiring mask covering over the age of two years old.  For patients who are unable to wear a face covering due to medical reasons, the patient can be scheduled for an appointment at a time when minimal number of other patients are in the clinic such as at the beginning or end of the day to ensure appropriate physical distancing requirements.

We are using disposable disinfectant wipes on all surfaces and devices such as front desk counters, chairs, handles in exam rooms and waiting room.  All eyewear that have been touched by patients are continually being sanitized.   Any toys and magazines are stored at this time.  Examination areas are being sanitized with hospital grade disinfectant.  Debit and credit cards but NO CASH payments will be accepted.

COVID-19 symptoms are not always obvious.  We want to fend off this pandemic and minimize risk to our patients and the Foresight staff as front line health workers.   Contact that is closer than 2 m (6 feet) is to be avoided, with barriers in place when this cannot be avoided. We choose to continue to do our work and cautiously take care of our patients with compassion, humility, gentleness, and patience.   It is a challenging and new experience for many of us, so let‘s support each other and prevent virus spread!  Beyond 2020, our focus is on take care of you and keeping Clean Hands, Clear Heads and Open Hearts.   For more information, please refer to the following web pages or phone Health Link 811.

www.albertahealthservices.ca

www.collegeofoptometrists.ab.ca

Drs. Dianna Leong, Anh Bui, Andrew Chan

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Please note our upcoming holiday schedule:

Starting tomorrow December 22nd will be closed through December 26th. Additionally, we will be closing early on New Year’s eve at 3:00 pm and we will reopen Saturday, January 2nd.

We wish you Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year.