What To Expect in an Astigmatism Test: Tests You Can’t Study For

June 28, 2023


Astigmatism is a common refractive error in the eyes. There are tests that your optometrist can perform to determine if you have astigmatism and where it’s located within your eye.

Do you want to know what to expect during an eye appointment that may test for astigmatism? The providers at OOMC locations have put together this page.

Learn more about astigmatism tests and preparing for your next eye appointment below.

Preparing for an Eye Appointment

While you can’t study for an astigmatism test, you can prepare for an eye appointment that may diagnose any refractive errors in your eyes, including astigmatism.

When preparing for your appointment, take a moment and consider what symptoms you’re experiencing.

It can help to write these down and bring the list to your appointment. Symptoms can include blurred vision, headaches, and eye strain.

It can also help to put together a list of your current medications, vitamins, and supplements. This allows your provider to rule out potential side effects from your medication.

Do you have questions about astigmatism treatment or diagnosis? Bring these questions with you and ask them!

Types of Astigmatism Tests

Several eye tests can help an optometrist confirm if you have astigmatism.

A visual acuity test is a routine part of eye exams and checks how well you can see. The visual acuity test goes like this:

  • You’ll be asked to read numbers or letters on a chart about 20 feet away.
  • The numbers and letters will grow smaller as you work down the chart.
  • Read as far down as you’re able.
  • Your doctor may prompt you to try smaller lines.

Astigmatisms and other refractive errors in your eyes can cause difficulty in both near and far eyesight, changing your ability to read these charts.

A refraction test is another common exam during a routine eye appointment that can help check for astigmatism.

Your eye doctor will put several lenses in front of your eyes to measure how you focus light. They’ll then cycle through several lens options to find the clearest vision possible.

If your optometrist suspects you have astigmatism, they’ll likely conduct a keratometry test. Using a keratometer, your eye doctor will check the curvature of your cornea. The keratometer:

  • Sends light to the cornea.
  • Measures the reflection.

This test tells your doctor the amount and axis of your astigmatism.

Some eye providers may also create a corneal topography. This exam uses an imaging device to:

  • Create a detailed cornea map.
  • Access additional information on the cornea’s shape.

This map and additional information can be helpful when planning refractive surgery.

Can You Test for Astigmatism at Home?

There are online, at-home astigmatism tests that patients can take. These tests may help you better understand vision issues; however, they don’t replace an optometrist’s eye exam.

There are specific eye charts available for astigmatism tests. You can find these online. Stand or sit about two to three feet from your screen. Cover your left eye and concentrate on the thickness of the lines and darkness of the image.

Then, cover your right eye and do the same. If some lines appear bolder than others, you may have astigmatism.

Your eye doctor can confirm any refractive errors, including astigmatism, in your eyes and suggest treatment options, like surgery.

Learn More About Refractive Surgery Options

If you believe you may have astigmatism, make an appointment with your eye doctor. Treatment for astigmatism can include refractive surgery—one of the specialties at OOMC practices.

Learn more about your astigmatism treatment options at your local OOMC practice today.

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