What is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a condition where light entering the eye is not focused correctly by the cornea. As a so-called refractive error, like shortsightedness, it is not an eye disease as such. Rather, it is an optics problem.

Think of your eye like a telescope. There might be nothing ‘broken’, but if one of the parts wasn’t made right then it affects the whole thing.

Astigmatism is the name for the class of conditions where the cornea – the big lens at the front of your ‘eye telescope’ where the magnifying happens – is not the correct shape. Instead of being a perfect circle, it might be slightly oval or irregularly warped.

When this happens, it causes multiple focal positions within the eyeball. This is a problem because your eyes work best with a single focal point whose position lines up precisely with the retina on the back of your eyeball.

Astigmatism diagram

How common is Astigmatism?

Virtually everyone is born with a minor degree of astigmatism and its prevalence and severity increase with age.

It is one of the general factors that puts an upper limit on what’s considered normal human vision quality. It’s part of why you can’t read small print from 50m away.

Therefore, astigmatism is only a problem when it causes vision that is meaningfully worse than ‘normal’. This problem astigmatism is also commonplace and thought to occur in up to 30 percent of people. However, many of these people are undiagnosed or have the condition as part of other

What are the symptoms?

Some symptoms of astigmatism include:

  • blurry vision regardless of how close or far away something is
  • double vision
  • squinting and eye strain
  • headaches (including migraines).

Treatment options for astigmatism

Treatment for astigmatism depends on how severe the condition is.

For minor cases:

  • glasses
  • contact lenses.


For more severe cases:


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