What is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is an eye condition that makes it difficult to see both distant objects and objects that are up-close, causing the objects to appear distorted or blurred. Astigmatism usually causes vision to be blurred or distorted to some degree at all distances.


Individuals with astigmatism either have an unevenly curved cornea (the clear covering of the front of the eye) shaped more like a football than a basketball or an unevenly curved lens inside their eye. An irregularly shaped cornea or lens prevents light from focusing properly on the retina1. Instead of one focal point, an eye with astigmatism has multiple focal points, either in front of the retina or behind it (or both)2. Astigmatism can affect both children and adults – it often occurs early in life, but children who have astigmatism are often unaware of their vision being other than normal3.


Astigmatism Example
If you find that your vision is blurred or distorted when viewing both distant objects and objects that are up-close, you may have astigmatism. Symptoms of astigmatism include eye strain and headaches after reading or other extended visual tasks and/or squinting. It is especially important to schedule regular eye exams for children to detect astigmatism and other vision problems early – uncorrected astigmatism in children can have a great impact at school and during outdoor activities4.


Just like nearsightedness or farsightedness, astigmatism can be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or refractive surgery. Astigmatism can be corrected by eyeglasses with a cylinder shape built into the lenses at a certain angle. If you have astigmatism, your prescription will include a ‘cyl’ and axis.


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