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What Even Is Astigmatism?



What Even Is Astigmatism?


Astigmatism is an imperfection in the curvature of your eye's cornea or lens. Normally, the cornea and lens are smooth and curved equally in every direction. This helps to sharply focus light rays onto the retina at the back of your eye. If your cornea or lens is not smooth and evenly curved, light rays can't refract (bend) properly. Doctors call this a refractive error.


When your cornea is an irregular shape, you have corneal astigmatism. If the shape of your lens is distorted, you have lenticular astigmatism. In both cases , your vision for near and far objects is blurry or distorted. It's can almost  be like looking into a fun house mirror in your eyes you can appear too tall, too short, too wide or too thin.

People may have astigmatism along with other refractive errors. Those errors could include things like:

  • nearsightedness (myopia) or
  • farsightedness (hyperopia).

Adults with significant astigmatism may realize their vision isn't as good as it used to be. Children with astigmatism symptoms may not even be aware they have this condition. They are unlikely to complain about blurred or distorted vision.

In a normal eye, the cornea and lens focus light rays on the retina.

In astigmatism, images focus in front of and beyond the retina. Close and distant objects both appear blurry.

Uncorrected astigmatism can impact a child's ability to strive in school and sports. It is crucial that children have regular eye exams. Getting these exams can help detect astigmatism and other vision problems as early as possible.

What  is the Cause of Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is caused by an irregular curvature of the eye's cornea or lens. If your cornea or lens isn't evenly curved, light rays can't refracted properly. With astigmatism you have blurred or distorted vision at near and far distances.

Astigmatism is actually very common. Doctors don't know why corneal shape differs in every person. They do know that likelihood of developing astigmatism is inherited.Astigmatism can develop after an eye disease, eye injury or surgery. It is a myth that astigmatism can develop or worsen from reading in low light or sitting very close to the television.

Symptoms of Astigmatism 

Astigmatism symptoms can include:

  • blurry vision or areas of distorted vision
  • eyestrain
  • headaches
  • squinting to try to see clearly, or
  • eye discomfort

If you have these symptoms you may not necessarily have astigmatism. You should visit to your ophthalmologist. A complete eye exam will determine what is causing your symptoms.