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All About Astigmatism

Astigmatism is caused by an irregularly shaped cornea, which causes light to refract or bend incorrectly within your eye. This bend prevents the light from correctly focusing on the retina, which often results in blurred or double vision. When a cornea is perfectly round, light passes through the eye and focuses on one spot on the retina. Nearly half of the U.S. population has some level of refractive error, and 1 in 3 have astigmatism.

Eye with Astigmatism Healthy Eye

Astigmatism Symptoms

  • Blurry and distorted vision
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty seeing in low light conditions
  • Squinting
  • Eyestrain

Astigmatism Causes

Astigmatism is hereditary and in most cases, is present at birth. Young children may not know that their vision is less than perfect until the symptoms are noticed by a parent/guardian, teacher or pediatrician. That’s why kids’ eye exams are important and getting them done at an early age is key.

Who Gets Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a unique refractive error because it can be present in people with nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) and presbyopia, and it affects people of all ages.

How to Correct Astigmatism

Blurriness from astigmatism can range from a slight fuzz around text to high levels of distortion. In severe cases, astigmatism can make simple visual tasks like watching TV or reading a text message nearly impossible. The good news is you’ll have a few options to restore your vision.

Prescription glasses are the most effective option due to the ability to correct astigmatism with extreme precision. Astigmatism contact lenses—or toric contacts—have become much more accurate and are preferred over hard contacts. In some cases, eye surgery may be recommended. A comprehensive eye exam will quickly determine if you have astigmatism, and if so, the best corrective method to accommodate your lifestyle.

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Why an Annual Eye Exam is Important

Maintaining good eye health goes far beyond making sure your vision isn’t blurry. Eye doctors conduct a wide variety of tests to examine and assess the quality and health of your vision, as well as identify any health problems that could result in vision loss.