Astigmatism: The Basics

Here’s help understanding one of the most confusing terms in the optical world — astigmatism. 

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While many know that they have astigmatism, many don’t fully understand what it means. Most adults do have some degree of astigmatism. Depending on the severity, it may or may not affect their overall eyesight.


Astigmatism occurs when the cornea is not completely spherical in shape. This incorrect curvature of the cornea causes light to be refracted in the eye improperly. When light is not handled by the eye correctly, it can make seeing difficult. For people with astigmatism, seeing at any distance may be hard to do.

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Those with astigmatism often suffer from headaches, eye strain, blurred vision and eye fatigue. While most people are born with a curvature of the cornea, some will develop it later due to an eye injury or other eye disease. If you notice any change in your vision, it is important to see the optometrist right away.


This condition is easily treatable in most people. Toric lenses can be prescribed to correct astigmatism. These lenses bend the light in different ways to account for how the cornea is reacting to light entering the eyes. Laser surgery is another option to correct astigmatism though most people prefer the less invasive method of contact lenses or eyeglasses.

For those with astigmatism who do not have farsightedness or nearsightedness, vision correction may not be needed. For others, if the astigmatism is severe or is accompanied by farsightedness or nearsightedness, vision correction will be needed. A simple eye exam with a professional Doctor of Optometry can diagnose astigmatism.