What is astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a common, mild health condition occurring when the front surface of your eye (cornea) or the lens, inside your eye, has a slightly different surface curvature in one direction from the other. However, astigmatism can cause blurred vision.

How common is astigmatism?

Astigmatism occurs commonly. Astigmatism is often present at birth and may occur in combination with nearsightedness or farsightedness. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.


What are the symptoms of astigmatism?

The common symptoms of astigmatism are:

  • Blurred or distorted vision;
  • Eyestrain;
  • Headaches.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

You should contact your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • Blurred or distorted vision;
  • Eyestrain;
  • Headaches.

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.


What causes astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a refractive error caused when the cornea or lens isn’t evenly and smoothly curved, present from birth or it may develop after an eye injury, disease or surgery. Astigmatism isn’t caused or made worse by reading in poor light, sitting too close to the television or squinting.

Astigmatism may occur in combination with other refractive errors, which include:

  • Nearsightedness (myopia): a condition by which your cornea is curved too much or your eye is longer than normal, resulting in a blurry appearance for distant objects.
  • Farsightedness (hyperopia): a condition by which your cornea is curved too little or your eye is shorter than normal, resulting in a blurry appearance for near objects.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for astigmatism?

Age is one of the risk factors of astigmatism. In fact, the risk of having astigmatism in older is higher than in the younger.

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is astigmatism diagnosed?

  • Vision tests:  your doctor will ask you to read letters on a chart to test the vision in a visual acuity test.
  • Test to measure the curvature of your cornea (keratometry). Doctor uses a keratometer to measure the amount of curvature to your cornea’s surface.
  • Test to measure light focus.

How is astigmatism treated?

Treatments contain corrective lenses and refractive surgery.

Using corrective lenses treats astigmatism by counteracting the uneven curvature of your cornea. Corrective lenses can be:

  • Eyeglasses;
  • Contact lenses.

Refractive surgery treats astigmatism by reshaping the surface of your eye. Refractive-surgery methods include:

  • Laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) is a procedure in which an instrument called a keratome is used to make a thin, circular hinged cut into your cornea.
  • Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) is a procedure in which the outer protective layer of the cornea is removed before using an excimer laser to change the curvature of the cornea.
  • Laser-assisted subepithelial keratomileusis (LASEK) is a procedure in which a much thinner layer of the cornea is folded back to limit the injury to your eyes caused by daily actions or exercises. LASEK may be a better option if you have a thin cornea or if you’re at high risk of an eye injury at work or from playing sports.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage astigmatism?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with astigmatism:

  • When working at a computer, reading, or doing other detailed work, you should take the time to give your eyes a break by looking at a tree, flower, or anything outside the window or blinking.
  • You should have excellent lighting in the area where you are working.
  • Eat right to ensure that your eyes have all the vitamins and nutrients that they need.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: October 27, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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