What is astigmatism?

Astigmatism is an imperfection of the curvature of your eye’s cornea or lens. When light enters the eye, it normally focuses at a single point on the retina in back of your eyeball. However, if the curvature of your cornea or lens isn’t symmetrical and perfectly smooth, the light that enters your eye comes into focus in multiple locations in front of your retina, behind your retina, or both. This results in blurred or distorted vision at all distances.

These are standard charts that test for astigmatism. Close one eye at a time; if some of the lines appear grayer than others, you might have astigmatism.


Astigmatism Causes & Symptoms

Astigmatism is very common, with most people having some form of it. As previously mentioned, it’s caused by irregularities in the curvature of your cornea or lens. Astigmatism is often present at birth or occurs early in life, which is one reason why it’s crucial for children to get their eyes checked. Children with astigmatism (or other eye problems) don’t know what it means to have good eyesight and therefore don’t realize that anything is wrong with theirs.

When astigmatism is slight, it doesn’t affect vision or require treatment. Symptoms of more severe cases include blurred or distorted vision which results in squinting, eye strain, and headaches. Astigmatism can occur along with nearsightedness or farsightedness, and can be caused by an injury to the eye, surgery, or disease.

Astigmatism Diagnosis

If you find that your vision is affecting your ability to partake in everyday activities, you may want to visit an eye doctor. Envision doctors will conduct a comprehensive eye exam to diagnose your eye problem. In addition to a visual acuity test, the doctor will use a keratometer to detect the curvature of your eye and see if you have astigmatism. He’ll also use a retinoscope to test how your eye focuses light, and then fine-tune that estimation with a phoropter. With the results to these tests, your doctor will be able to tell you if you have astigmatism and to what degree you have it.

Astigmatism Treatment

Envision offers many treatment options for astigmatism. To counteract the uneven curvature of your cornea or lens, you may choose to get eyeglasses, contact lenses, orthokeratology, or refractive surgery such as LASIK.