Donate to Astigmatism Research, Patient Care and Education

 Astigmatism is a common vision condition that causes blurred vision. It occurs when the cornea (the clear front cover of the eye) has an abnormal curvature and causes two focal points to fall in two different locations. Astigmatism can affect both children and adults. Some patients with slight astigmatism will not notice much change in their vision and physicians from Northwestern Medicine recommend eye examinations at regular intervals in order to detect any astigmatism early on in children. By donating to Northwestern Memorial Foundation, you provide help to physicians on the medical staff from The Department of Ophthalmology at Northwestern Medicine make important breakthroughs in treatment and vision health.

The causes of this irregular shape vary. Even though astigmatism is congenital, or present at birth, other causes may include injury to the eye, eye surgery, pressure of the eyelids on the cornea, trauma, and scarring of the cornea, or the vision disorder keratoconus.  Astigmatism frequently occurs with other vision conditions like:

  • Myopia (nearsightedness). Occurs when the cornea is curved too much and the eye is longer than normal. This condition makes distant objects seem blurry.
  • Hyperopia (farsightedness). Occurs when the cornea is curved too little or the eye is shorter than normal. This vision condition makes nearby objects seem blurry.

 Together these vision conditions are referred to as refractive errors because they affect how the eyes bend or “refract” light. Refractive errors happen when the shape of the eye prevents light from focusing directly on the retina. These errors affect vision and may need corrective lenses or surgery for correction or improvement. Northwestern Medicine ophthalmologist specialists are proud to offer world-class treatments for astigmatism, including laser vision correction (LASIK), implanted lenses, corneal ring implant, eyeglasses, eye contacts, femtosecond laser surgery, orthokeratology or radial keratotomy.  Your contribution to Northwestern Memorial Foundation ensures that physicians on the medical staff have leading-edge technology for all vision-related issues at their disposal.

 Astigmatism is a common and generally treatable imperfection in the curvature of one’s eye that causes blurred distance and near vision, and even though most people have some degree of astigmatism, slight astigmatism usually does not affect vision or require treatment. Astigmatism is usually found during a comprehensive dilated eye exam. It is important to be aware of any changes in our vision because it can help in detecting any common vision problems.

The Department of Ophthalmology at Northwestern performs all types of routine eye-care specializing in the diagnosis of astigmatism. Physicians on the medical staff can identify astigmatism in a comprehensive eye exam. Anyone of the following tests may be used to examine different aspects of your eyes and vision:

  • Visual acuity test. This is a common eye chart that test measures vision ability at various distances using a series of lenses.
  • Pupil dilation. With this test, the pupil is widened with eye drops to allow a close-up examination of the eye’s lens and retina.
  • Keratometer. This is a device used to measure the curvature of the surface of one’s cornea.
  • Corneal topography (photokeratoscopy). This is an imaging test that maps the curvature of one’s cornea.

Your support of Northwestern Memorial Foundation ensures the continuation and expansion of these types of exams for those who need them.

Astigmatism Research, Patient Care and Education Donation

Until recently, treatments in ophthalmology have focused on slowing the inevitable progression of eye diseases, rather than restoring lost sight. Here at Northwestern Medicine, with donations from our supporters, our research team is intent on pursuing scientific breakthroughs that can change the treatment of today’s most disabling eye diseases.

When you donate to Northwestern Memorial Foundation, our team of scientists and specialists can continue with future plans which include the participation in more and varied clinical trials, with additional focus on refractive surgical interventions. Because our goal is to continue to offer research opportunities that will provide innovative treatments as well as explore broader disease processes, every dollar from your donation to Northwestern Medicine will help ophthalmologists that have a level of expertise and knowledge improve the quality of life and options for adults and children with diseases and disorders of the eye.

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