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What is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a common vision condition, or refractive error, that often accompanies myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness). A refractive error means that the shape of your eye doesn’t refract the light properly, so that the image you see is blurred. Astigmatism occurs when the curvature of the cornea is irregularly shaped, scattering light rays entering the eye so that they are focused both in front of and behind the retina, rather than directly on the retina. Vision is blurred at all distances. For our eyes to be able to see, light rays must be bent or “refracted” so they can focus directly on the retina, the nerve layer that lines the back of the eye. Together the cornea and the lens refract light rays. The retina receives the picture formed by these light rays and sends the image to the brain through the optic nerve.

What causes Astigmatism?

Astigmatism results when the eye is shaped more like a football than a baseball, which is the normal shape of the eye. Many people are born with this oblong shape and the resulting vision problem may get worse over time.

What are the symptoms?

Common symptoms of astigmatism include difficulty maintaining a clear focus on both near and far objects, eye strain, fatigue, and headaches.

How is Astigmatism diagnosed?

Astigmatism is detected during a comprehensive eye exam through a test called refraction. Using a phoropter, an instrument that determines the type and measures the amount of refractive error present, your eye doctor will determine your exact prescription.

What are the treatment options?

Prescription glasses, contact lenses, and LASIK surgery (laser vision correction) are treatment options to optically correct astigmatism.